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Nanyuki@100

This year, Nanyuki celebrates its 100th anniversary.

The County Government is keen to link this celebration to a string of events over the next four months. Here are some of them!

  1. World Tourism Day will be celebrated in Nanyuki, the weekend of September 26 and 27th, with a marketing and advertising campaign led by the County and the Standard Media Group.

They will feature the marketing line, “Twende Nanyuki – Mwisho Wa Reli”, and #Destination Laikipia.

This is a good chance to advertise and market LTA services and activities for the public.

Destination Laikipia is again being (re)launched, and this time led by the Laikipia County Development Authority. Stay tuned for the release of the revised website produced in concert with the Laikipia Tourism Authority, and featuring all things great within the County  and its surrounds.

  1. 100for100 – Greening Nanyuki. A Task Force of County, LCDA, the Forum, and MKEWP have been working hard these last two months to identify at least 100 acres of green public areas to preserve in the face of Nanyuki’s growth. We are hoping to have at least 1 acre of green preserved for each year of the town’s age.

 

The Task Force identified more than the 100 acres of greens space that include riparian walkways and picnic/public grounds.  The proposals now sit with the County Government for support and action. We expect the next steps to be public engagement in the location and confirmation of the sites/walkways

  1. Nanyuki@100

The town will celebrate the build-up to the Anniversary birthday party expected on or close to Jamhuri Day (December 12). Stay tuned for the program of events expected out from County Government soon.

And expect more news and contributions from our citizens, banks and businesses in support of the event!

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Man on A Mission: EMU-SACCO Membership Recruitment

Antony Muriungi, the EMU-SACCO Marketing Officer, heading out on another recruitment mission

Two years ago, water users  in our Basin came together. We were able to set up a financial the Ewaso Maji Users  (EMU) Sacco to meet our financial and agricultural needs.

Farmer’s attitudes have since changed from looking at subsistence agriculture as the only source of livelihood to become better water managers and more dynamic entrepreneurs on an individual level.

One man who has been on the wheels of this change is Mr. Antony Muriungi, the Ewaso Maji Users Marketing Officer.

Since joining EMU-SACCO, Anthony has been able to fast track membership growth from 134 members to 202 members in just two months. Antony attributes this steady growth to close collaborations and support in the recruitment process from Water Resources Users Associations, Community Water Projects and the SACCO management team.

“Our members needed loan facilities without providing collateral or security as is a requirement by the main Banks. They believed that such loans could only be provided efficiently and urgently by an in-house Sacco.”

“We must understand that the members are the backbone of Ewaso Maji Users Sacco, and the reason we exist. As part of our mission to transform our member’s livelihoods through provision of financial solutions to improve water security and sustainable economic empowerment in Ewaso Basin, we focus on working with each member personally to better understand their financial goals and offer attainable solutions that really make a difference, ”says Anthony.

He adds that the SACCO is fully aware that as a cooperative, profits are returned to members, in the form of improved services, lower interest rates, and higher deposit rates.

“We know we are delivering on these promises as our members have been extremely active in all areas of our offerings, including telling us where we are doing great and where we can improve. We are willing to go all the way and introduce more products which shall be much affordable to our Members.”

Emu Sacco provides a number of financial products,  the main one being the water loan dubbed, Maji Chap Chap, with an interest rate of 0.8% on a reducing balance. Through this loan members are linked to service providers and acquire water infrastructure/technology at discounted prices.

Here are some important testimonials from EMU Sacco members

I have been a member of the Sacco for one year and during my time as a member, I have nothing but love for everyone who works and support this society. I believe that the Sacco will grow to be a big Sacco and have great impact on the lives of farmers. I am so proud to be a member!- bona fide member                  Isaac Magiri

Since I Joined Emu Sacco, I have benefitted from linkages to service providers like, Sun Culture. I was able to get a solar pump at very low price and this pump has helped boost my farming.  Even during hard times like this of the Covid pandemic, Emu Sacco has always communicated to us as members in time to help us understand situations which makes it even better for us as members. Asante Emu Sacco!                 Mr. Japhet Kariithi

What I can testify is that there has been a steadfast growth in the Sacco over the last months and we are aiming to greater heights for growth. I am working to ensure EMU SACCO becomes a leading financial institution offering superior financial access along the Ewaso and Mount Kenya region.    Anthony Muriungi

 

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Making Sense of the New Mukogodo

Kenya Forest Service Board Chairman, Mr. Peter Kinyua, addresses members of the Ilmamusi Mukogodo Community Forest Association and surrounding community stakeholders in August

A series of three meetings have worked to re-establish the representation and compliance of ILMAMUSI CFA with the laws governing national forests and resources in the Country.

There are three major and important results coming out of these meetings.

  1. KFS has been importantly engaged in the re-establishment of the CFA and is committed to its success. The engagement of the Chairman of the Board is an indication of their more serious support for the Forest. This KFS engagement has been missing for the last 13 years.
  2. The Forest now has an official register of members allowed entry and use of the Forest’s resources. They are drawn from the communities living within 5 km of the Forest edge. This is the first time ever ILMAMUSI CFA has its own membership register; previously the CFA had relied on Group Ranch registers from Ilngwesi, Makurian, Kurikuri and Lekurruki Group Ranches. A total of 2,296 have now populated the CFA register. Membership registration will be an annual activity; it is the foundation upon which community involvement in co-management of forest resources in Kenya is established.
  3. Six forest user groups have been formed in each Conservancy to manage specific elements of the Forest’s future. These groups are responsible for the access, use, and sustainable management of these 6 resources. They include honey harvesting, herbal medicine collection, pasture and water, ecotourism, tree nurseries establishment, and fuel wood collection. 6 representatives have been selected from these 24 community members selected to represent each of these Forest uses.

This is a significant departure from the past CFA Management formation in which Community Based Organizations (CBOs) Chairpersons were appointed to the Board to represent the interests of forest user groups.

These 6 forest user group representatives are added to the full management committee of ILMAMUSI.

This process is being supported by FAO through the GEF-6 Restoration of Arid and Semi-arid Lands of Kenya through Bio-enterprise Development and Other Incentives

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Wildlife – How Much Longer?

Coexistence is the key to survival of the Serengeti, Okavango Delta and Kalahari regions, some of the world’s most prolific wildlife ecosystems that are surrounded by fast-growing human communities. It’s no different in Laikipia.

Rural livelihoods depend on these forests, fisheries and rangelands, so effective and lasting conservation strategies must find ways not only to protect wildlife and the environment but also to deliver economic opportunities at local and national scales. In Kenya, for example, up to 65% of all wildlife is found on community and private lands, outside government parks and reserves, and wildlife tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry . . .

But both the economic drivers of wildlife conservation – TOURISM, (confounded by the Covid Pandemic), and the belief that WILDLIFE MUST PAY ITS WAY are compromised by a confused and emotional public.

This is the role of the Laikipia Forum – to harness collective action and economic innovation in service to the conservation and management of our natural resources.

Zimbabwe’s CAMPFIRE program in the 1980s, helped pioneer the idea of generating community-level incentives for wildlife conservation through sustainable and locally managed use. But CONSERVATION is littered with projects that promised to make conservation profitable and beneficial to local communities but struggled to deliver. This includes Kenya, and Laikipia where LWF had its origins in consumptive wildlife use between 1994 and 2004.

But since, our East Africa region has been a source of fertile innovation for conservation efforts.

Two important trends are emerging in Kenya – KWCA as the voice of the new generation of conservancy movements and the Task Force Report on Consumptive Wildlife Use that calls for a new approach to our definition of wildlife, consumption and biodiversity conservation.

Today, it’s clear that it can be done: A “conservation economy” can create jobs and attract investment while protecting and sustaining the ecological wealth that peoples’ livelihoods depend on. A rising generation of African conservation entrepreneurs . . . is reframing conservation as a growth sector.”

This rising generation is celebrated in this story  in the Stanford Social Innovation review.

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Locust Invasion In Kenya On the Decrease?

The desert locust infestation could be coming under control now. According to the Food and Agriculture Organisation , Kenya has beaten the locust upsurge, at least for now.

FAO, however, warns that more people in Kenya and the region will be food insecure due to the damage caused by the locusts on food, as well as pastures for livestock. The re -emergence of swarms in Samburu County give additional cause for concern.

FAO noted that significant progress has been made in fighting the desert locusts in the region, with Kenya standing out among the countries that have posted major milestones.

The number of counties infested by locusts has gone down to two from 29 – more than half of the country, at the beginning of this year.

“In Kenya, only two of the 29 counties that were infested in February have desert locusts today,” FAO said.

The Organization noted that having locusts under control was due to efforts by FAO, its partners, and East African governments in building capacity to fight the locusts. The desert locusts’ invasion has resulted in major threat to food security across East Africa as well as parts of Asia and Middle East.

New technologies have been deployed in the fight to control the spread and location of locust swarms, including transmitters attached to locusts (picture above)  and the use of drones.

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Championing PRACTICAL Environmental Conservation

“We cannot purport to know the extent of pollution and environmental degradation while we continue to sit in boardrooms.”

Francis Githui and the Storm Water and Environment Management Forum (SWEMF) are miracle workers. With minimal resources, they have been able to make a mammoth change to the conservation scene in the County.

Francis currently has three conservation initiatives running concurrently. These are the Nanyuki Dumpsite Reclamation and Rehabilitation,  the Edible Rivers Initiative, and more recently, the Fruit Tree School Project.

Nanyuki Dumpsite Reclamation and Rehabilitation

Francis has a mantra, “waste to wealth” , which he swears by. He believes that there is no particular waste that cannot be reused or recycled into something of use or value. The idea to reclaim the dumpsite emanated from the increased amount of waste being dumped there, consequently posing environmental as well as health challenges. He, therefore, made a reconnaissance visit at the dumpsite to check the various types of the waste present, sorted the waste and requested for County permits to commence his recycling work.

He’s made a name for himself by morphing waste into valuable materials.  For instance, glass bottles are crushed into small pieces and are used to make tiles. He also makes high-quality Cabros by mixing plastic bags and plastic bottles at high temperatures.

Francis has also established a tree nursery at the Nanyuki Dumpsite, boasting almost 45,000 avocado seedlings, 5000 loquat seedlings, and 2000 guava seedlings, in addition to others.

Francis is not growing these trees for commercial sale; rather, he believes Laikipians and Kenyans at large can learn a lot from his efforts.

Edible Rivers

Francis and (SWEMF) aim to rehabilitate and conserve various river riparian lands, including those of Likii and Ontulili rivers, among others. Francis does this by planting bamboos to stabilize river banks, as well planting numerous fruit trees along these rivers.

Francis believes these fruit trees will be beneficial to riparian members in countless ways including their nutritional value, soil stabilization, and opportunity to improve livelihoods. Most importantly Francis and SWEMF believe that they can inculcate a conservation culture among the people living adjacent to these rivers.

Once people begin to reap the benefits from this initiative they will become more environmentally conscious and take better care of the environment and possibly increase fruit-tree cover as well.

Fruit Tree School Project

This is an idea that Francis conceived during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has had far-reaching effects in the country and the education sector was not spared.

The pandemic led to the closure of schools throughout the country. Francis realized that many schools had water tanks that were capturing a lot of water during this rainy season, but the water wasn’t being used. He started his project in Ngobit Ward, Laikipia County. At the moment, he has planted trees in Mwituria Secondary, Thingithu, Inooro Secondary, Loise Girls, and Nanyuki Garrison among many others.

He has currently planted trees in up to 16 schools. Francis also aims to establish miniature gardens in schools once normal school programs resume as part of a school gardens project.  This will not only teach students about crops and soils;  he also hopes that they will learn the important message of natural resources conservation as well.

Francis says the major impediments he has faced in his conservation efforts are lack of sufficient funding and misplaced priorities by local authorities.

Should you be interested in lending Francis and the Storm Water and Environment Management Forum a hand in any of their ongoing projects,  contact us at the Forum, or give him a call at 0724769750 or swemfcbo@gmail.com.

Francis  and SWEMF are members of the Laikipia Forum and MKEWP.

 

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Insurance Scheme Proposed for Human Wildlife Conflict Crisis

The recently-released, three-part report on Human Wildlife Conflict and compensation is out. You can read your own personal copy here.

The reports offer the following highlights:

  • Communities want a faster and much more efficient compensation payments that are timely and not delayed.
  • They want a faster response to reported incidences especially human injuries;
  • They want assistance for human injuries to be taken to hospital
  • They want for the immediate families of the dead to be offer consoling.
  • They want more focus on prevention.
  • They want the list of animals causing conflicts/problems to be amended in the WCMA 2013 (something that has been under discussion for 6 years!)
  • They want KWS to learn from the small-scale HWC consolation schemes that are implemented by non-state actors (private conservancies and donors).

The Task Force recommends the establishment of a HWC Insurance Scheme to manage risks and administer liabilities on four categories of HWC (human death and injury, property damage, crop destruction, and livestock predation).

The Task Force also recommends that personal bodily injury and human death from wildlife as per

the schedule is provided based on the Continental Scale of Benefits (insurance policy terminology for human injury or death), including a proposed maximum of KES 3,000,000  ($30,000) for human death.

The proposed management structure of the revised human wildlife compensation scheme recognizes devolution and links case management to county and ward levels. But the funding of such a structure again puts the onus on an over-taxed tourism sector, and conservation levies and payment for ecosystem services – both of which are ill-defined and have not been effective income generating tools in Kenya. Finally the scheme will also depend on donor financing.

There is no talk of premium payments in support of the insurance program (a common practice in all insurance policies), and there are no incentives/benefits accruing to individuals and communities already practicing HWC mitigation and management.

(It’s like so many health insurances – where they pay for treatment but not for prevention/good practices!!)

A new fund, called the Human Wildlife Co-existence Fund, will be managed by a new parastatal board.

The HWC insurance scheme will be piloted for 8 months in the Taita Taveta, Kajiado, Narok, and Meru to test the claims administration process and tools. The results of this pilot will be crucial in adjusting the scheme before country-wide roll out.

Want a printed copy of these reports? Please contact communications@laikipia.org  for yours.

 

 

 

 

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Loiragai Spring – Life Support System

Collecting primary data at Loiragai Spring for the hydrological report

How much does water figure in Human Elephant Conflict in Laikipia?  Based on the evidence, a lot of conflict with elephants and people occurs around water sources. Whether by accident, or in competition for water, it’s not always easy for elephants to mix with people’s livelihoods.

The Forum, in partnership with Il Ngwesi Conservancy and ILMAMUSI CFA, is implementing a project to reduce the occurrence of Human-Elephant Conflict around Mukogodo Forest through spring protection.

Il Ngwesi Conservancy submitted a proposal to the CFA and LWF for the rehabilitation of Loiragai Spring water pipeline that supplies domestic, livestock, and wildlife water inside Il Ngwesi Conservancy.

The Project takes water from a spring located inside Borana Conservancy to multiple down-stream users over a distance of almost 10 km. The original system was constructed in 1984.

None of the partners, or the regional Water Resources Authority have any record of the design, the original needs assessment, and the permit that should accompany water projects.  Therefore to support the rehabilitation works, LWF with the assistance of MKEWP, ILMAMUSI CFA, and Il Ngwesi Conservancy, have agreed on the following milestones to overhaul the water works.

In true partnership fashion Il Ngwesi Conservancy allocated funds to support the hydrological assessment. The assessment gives a snapshot of  the quality and quantity of the water, and the different types and numbers of users.  The hydrological assessment report forms part of the application for water system renovation and  authorization from the WRA.

Emerging Issues

a) The Loiragai Water Project Committee has limited understanding of the water sector policy and  institutional set up provided for in the new Water Act 2016. MKEWP will help them learn about effective water system management and collaboration with other sector players.

b) There is a need to formulate a local water use policy to ensure sustainability, avoid conflicts with outside users and wildlife, and to allow for controlled growth. Formalizing the structure and operations of the water committee will help ensure better management and provide the legitimacy needed to allow the Committee to fundraise for further development.

c) There is a need to install water meters to monitor the various water consumption at various water points along the system This includes installing a water meter at the livestock water point, at the wildlife water point, and the various water points for domestic use. Monitoring these various points is essential to the project management to inform costs for operations and maintenance, and any possible water fees payments in the future.

d ) Disney will help with the installation of camera traps at key water use sites to record the frequency of use of the different water points by livestock, community members and wildlife. This information will form part of the CFA rangers’ responsibilities and monitoring efforts.

 Stay tuned for updates!

This project is supported by ILMAMUSI and ILNGWESI partners and includes Disney Conservation Fund/WCS, Borana and Lewa Conservancies, and the Laikipia Forum.

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Covid Continues To Take A Bite Out Of Tourism

We are not doing well in the Laikipia landscape when it comes to tourism. The drop-off in revenue supporting lodges, tented camps, hotels, and eateries is close to 90% across the board.

More importantly the drop in revenue has resulted in less monies for conservation, fewer employees, and significant loss of funds for social services and community projects.

Some facilities have closed until the New Year, 2021, when both a vaccine and tourists are expected to appear.

 After President Kenyatta ended he Nairobi lockdown on July 6, our Covid cases went from 2 to 37. People were rushing back to less populated areas, either returning home, or escaping the city. Laikipia is a logical destination for fresh air, open spaces, and some social freedom.

LTA members’ conservancies like El Karama, Mugie, Ol Pejeta, Le Rustique, Lions Court, Sportsmans Arms,  African Ascents, and Rift Valley Adventures, have done a great job preparing themselves and the public for visits.

The process for opening our hospitality services has been challenging. The sector requires Covid tests for employees, health certificates, and a health inspection by County authorities. Only then can a facility be safely and officially open.

Protection of guests is paramount, and so temperature taking, social distancing, masks, and handwashing are mandatory. But protection of staff is equally important, and we sometimes forget that the hospitality industry is as much about client satisfaction as it is about staff health and safety.

In doubt about opening up, operations with Covid rules, or how to access the new stimulus package of County guaranteed loans?

Please contact the LTA at tourismlaikipia@laikipia.org for help and information.  Need a list of approved facilities, see here.

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EMU SACCO Board Learns To Do It Better

Leadership is not about titles, status, and wielding power. A leader is anyone who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and ideas, and has the courage to develop that potential. When we dare to lead, we don’t pretend to have the right answers. We stay curious and ask the right questions. We don’t avoid difficult conversations and situations. Daring leadership in a culture defined by scarcity, fear, and uncertainty requires skill-building around traits that are deeply and uniquely human.

One year since the formation of the EMU Sacco, and there was need to take the Board through an exercise on good governance and growth strategies.

The EMU SACCO Board training aimed to build each participant’s overall understanding of their important area of service to members. The training was conducted to build the Board’s skills and knowledge so that they could, in turn, train others.

The training took place in Nanyuki this July. It was led by Richard Murigu and Joseph Gitonga, as trainers, both leaders in the County Coop movement.

The board was challenged to be more critical and to be more innovative. They were guided on how to come up with key growth strategies.

RECCOMENDATIONS

  1. Reach out to the current membership through information and education to ensure they are active and to show that the leadership is listening to member.
  2. Develop a robust monitoring system to monitor the engagement and progress of our members
  3. Develop standard operating procedures
  4. Establish and operationalize functional sub committees in support of key SACCO themes.
  5. Comply with regulations e.g. filling of indemnity forms for the board members.
  6. Reach out to the WRUAs and community/project groups for recruitment of new members
  7. Maximize use of social media and bulk SMS to communicate with the members.
  8. Develop loan products clearly describing each product and the guidelines to get them.
  9. Link-up with county governments and other financial institutions to establish areas of collaboration.
  10. Share the SACCO’s strategic plan with members for their inputs.

We don’t see power as finite and hoard it. We know that power becomes infinite when we share it with others. In this regard the Board members were tasked to each train 20 members of the Sacco on how to improve the Sacco to attain its vision and mission.

EMU Sacco is a saving and loan cooperative established with support from almost 200 members. It works in partnership with MKEWP, and is supported by CORDAID and World Bank – WRG 2030.

 

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