Important Updates From The Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP)

Local Community and MKEWP Members Voice Concerns at the 2017 Camel Caravan

Some of the participants of the 2017 Camel Caravan before embarking on the walk

The MKEWP was proud to have participated in the 2017 edition of the Ewaso Ng’iro Camel Caravan. Marvin Githuku, part of the MKEWP team, joined participants in the challenging five-day walk along the Ewaso Ng’iro River where together they engaged numerous communities around Kipsing, Oldonyiro, Koija Ranch, Westgate, Kalama and Archers Post. The overall objective of the camel caravan was to promote and facilitate shared understanding of human induced threats facing the river and, the cooperation and collaboration between the upstream and downstream users to mitigate these threats.

During the walk, local community and MKEWP members voiced their concerns about challenges facing the Ewaso landscape, some of which were as follows:

  1. The proposed mega dam construction, they insisted, would block the river and lead to a dry Ewaso Nyiro River. Steps must be taken to ensure that this does not happen.
  2. Sand harvesting along the banks of the Ewaso Ng’iro River must be curbed.
  3. Peace and cohesion among community members living in the landscape has not been given the priority it deserves. This is what hinders development and governments must play a more prominent role in supporting peace and security.
  4. The local government should involve communities in the decision making process, especially in projects such as the proposed mega dam.
  5. Human wildlife conflict continues to plague communities in the area and this needs to be addressed.

The Ewaso Ng’iro camel caravan was initiated in 2013 with the first edition funded by various stakeholders including: Partners for Resilience, IMPACT (Indigenous Movement for Peace Advancement & Conflict Transformation) and Merti Integrated Development Program (MIDP).

MKEWP will continue to engage in dialogue with these stakeholders in support of conservation efforts for the Ewaso Ng’iro River of which so many lives depend on.

MKEWP to Support Development of Water Allocation Plan for Teleswani Sub-Catchment through Watershed Program

MKEWP’s Coordinator, James Mwangi (forefront holding red folder) and Peter Hetz (Back line with green jacket) join Teleswani WRUA members after signing their WAP contract

Teleswani Water Resource Users Association (WRUA) will be the first WRUA in Laikipia to develop a Water Allocation Plan (WAP) for its sub-catchment. This will be implemented through a short term contractual agreement with the Water Resources Authority (WRA) – Nanyuki Sub Region and the Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership of which the Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF) serves as secretariat.

This is a great win for Teleswani WRUA as it will allow members to participate in the process of sharing the available water resources reflecting an important component in the management, control and regulation of the water resources. The development of this WAP will also have a significant bearing on the availability of water resources in meeting basic human needs, the needs of the environment, economic development, water security and alleviating water use conflicts.

The agreement is financed by Wetlands International through the Watershed Program at a cost of Kshs. 850,000 and will run for a period of 2 months ending November 30th 2017. During the signing of the Contract ceremony held at Teleswani WRUA on 5th October, the WRUA’s chairman Mr. Joel Mwariama highlighted that this was a priority activity within the WRUA as they look towards a guiding strategy for water resources allocation in an efficient and transparent manner. In his remarks, he added “ this is a crucial task coming at a time when the WRUA and WRA are managing a resource that is under immerse pressure from increasing demand, climate change and catchment degradation”.

MKEWP Joins OPC and FFI in Implementing Important Socio-Ecological Project

Representatives from Fauna & Flora International, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Mount Kenya – Ewaso Water Partnership and the Laikipia Wildlife Forum join community members in discussions about the project

Fauna & Flora International (FFI), Ol Pejeta Conservancy (OPC), Mount Kenya – Ewaso Water Partnership – MKEWP and the Laikipia Wildlife Forum (Secretariat to MKEWP) on 26th September officially met with representatives from local communities set to benefit from the Cattle, Water & Wildlife: Enhancing Socio-Ecological Resilience in Laikipia Project. NDMA, Water Resources Authority (WRA), County Government of Laikipia, Space for Giants and other key stakeholders were also present. This important initiative will see approximately 8,000ha of dispersal area secured for rhino, elephant and predators; grazing and water resources managed for local communities and pastoral well-being, and resource conflict reduced across the wider OPC landscape.

The project involves an inclusive approach to strengthening rangeland and water resource management and will contribute in reducing natural resource conflict, safeguarding pastoralist cattle based livelihoods, supporting innovative livelihood diversification by smallholders, and extending dispersal areas for endangered wildlife in Laikipia. The project will also have the following objectives;

  1. Establish a healthy rangeland to support grazing needs of community livestock and wildlife;
  2. Improve water availability for domestic use, livestock and wildlife;
  3. Enable community cattle to market system, support pastoralists’’ lifestyles and reduce stocking densities;
  4. Support community based fodder production system and diversification of small scale famer livelihoods;
  5. Ensure vulnerable and endangered species are under effective protection.

For these and other updates, ensure that you follow us on Facebook, Twitter: @MKEWP, or contact MKEWP’s Coordinator – Stanley Kirmi: to find out how you can join or support MKEWP’s powerful platform.

Maji Yetu, Jukumu Letu! Our Water, Our Responsibility


Why You Should Stop Sitting On The Fence About The LRVC 2017

Children from local communities proudly display their vaccination cards during the 2016 LRVC

If we succeed in vaccinating 70% of Laikipia’s total dog population for three consecutive years, the disease will be eliminated in the canine population and, subsequently, in humans. But this will not be possible without your help. The 2017 LRVC is more important than ever and we are working to vaccinate 10,000 dogs before the end of this year.

An all-volunteer labour force of vets and university students will be combing Laikipia from November 3rd to December 9th (weekends only). 8 teams have been assembled and we’re looking for funds to help them reach many parts of Laikipia to reach our goal. To date, we’ve raised more than 50% of the Kshs 2.4M (USD$ 24, 000) needed to make this Rabies Vaccination Campaign a success.

Please join us by supporting this effort through:


Pay Bill No: 991503

Account No: Rabies & your full name


With just a click of a button you can join our local crowd sourcing platform: Wipe Out Rabies In Laikipia.

For those residing outside Kenya, donating is as easy as following this link: Laikipia Rabies Vaccination Campaign

Bank transfers:

Bank: Stanbic Bank

Account Number: 0100004071926

Swift Code: SBICKENX

Account Name: Laikipia Wildlife Forum

Domestic dogs cause 98% of human rabies cases, passing the disease from wildlife to people. Your support will stop the disease before it can be transmitted to families, communities, and wildlife and will help accomplish Kenya’s 2030 vision of being an entirely rabies free nation.

Join the conversation on: Facebook

This initiative is supported by:

Mpala Research Centre, Laikipia Wildlife Forum,  Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Borana Conservancy, The County Government Of Laikipia, Laikipia Pastoralist Development Organisation, Rift Valley Adventures, Department of Veterinary Services (KWS), University Of Karatina, University Of Nairobi, Ol Maisor Ranch, Veterinarians International, Lolomarik Farm

The GGR Is Back And It Promises To Be Bigger Than Ever!

The 2016 GGR Organising Committee with some of Kenya’s most remarkable bloggers at Mpala Research Centre

We are excited to announce that the Great Grevy’s Rally (GGR) is back! The event’s organising committee that includes: Grevy’s Zebra Trust, Kenya Wildlife Service, Laikipia Wildlife Forum, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Marwell Wildlife, Northern Rangelands Trust, Samburu Trust, Saint Louis Zoo (USA), and Princeton University (USA); has already put wheels in motion to organise the second census of the endangered Grevy’s zebra. The zebra census, also includes the participation of conservancy managers, county government officials, community members and tourism operators.

The event, set to take place on the 27th and 28th of January 2018 will be even more exciting for participants as it aims to not only record the number of individual Grevy’s zebra, but also reticulated giraffe and their distribution across the landscape shared with pastoral communities in Laikipia, Isiolo, Samburu, Marsabit and Meru Counties. The last GGR of January 2016 estimated 2,350 Grevy’s zebra in Kenya, and showed that their population was stable and sustaining. However, there has since been devastating drought and conflict across much of the Grevy’s zebra’s range, and we need your help to see what impact this has had on one of Kenya’s most iconic species. In addition, you will be helping us set the first baseline for reticulated giraffe! These results are critical for county governments, who are committed to conserving their wildlife, and are taking actions to mitigate the threats to these endangered species.

The Great Grevy’s Rally is an opportunity to engage citizen scientists in order to demystify scientific research that contributes to the conservation of wildlife. A citizen scientist is a member of the public who participates in scientific research. The essence of citizen science is that volunteers collect and share data that can be analyzed by scientists and shared with participants and relevant stakeholders. We invite residents and visitors to share in the science of discovery and to ask questions that will contribute to research and management of key wildlife species and their unique habitat.

“Laikipia, and the greater Ewaso landscape have embarked on a mission to be Kenya’s very own Citizen Science destination. The information collated becomes rich material for public feedback, wider public information sharing, lobbying, advocacy, funding and the development of new projects. In essence, we’re increasingly talking about the “democratisation” of science, scientific funding, and the use of scientific results.

This scientifically supervised engagement of the public will yield the second attempted complete census of the endangered Grevy’s zebra in Kenya. It will contribute to their conservation and rehabilitation as a keystone Ewaso Landscape animal. It will also bring economic, tourism and Public Relations benefits to the participating counties that can be judged in the millions of shillings” said Peter Hetz, LWF’s Executive Director.

To keep up with all the GGR 2018 activities, log on to the website here as well as follow on social media: Facebook The Great Grevy’s Rally Twitter: @GrevysRally or e-mail us on

The GGR2018 – People Powering Conservation!


Ol Lentille Conservancy Participates In Important Governance Model Exercise

​Many of the group ranch and conservancy meetings were conducted under the only shade available in this dry landscape

With the help of LWF, the Ol Lentille Conservancy (OLC) agreed with the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) to conduct a “Governance Assessment” to learn more from its 10 years of community engagement and participation in the development of the OLC area. The original area of the Conservancy (5000 acres) now spans some 37,000 acres.

Three group ranches and 4 community conservancies are now participating in this conservation and land use model of the Ol Lentille Conservancy.

Local facilitators supported the IIED assessment team and field staff over a 10-day period in September of this year, and the effort was organised and administered by LWF with funding support from IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature).

The effort focused on better understanding the governance of the Ol Lentille model, and focused on the collection of feedback from key informant interviews and focus groups that included community conservancy members. This effort is guided by eleven commonly accepted principles of good governance, and is being conducted by IIED internationally, with four other sites in Kenya participating.

Themes for the assessment were selected through discussion and consensus. Results of the assessment illustrate some significant accomplishments through the Ol Lentille conservation model, but they also point to some key areas that need further support and focus.

Key feedback and recommendations now focus on efforts to improve participation in community decision-making, additional improvements to benefit sharing, more focused efforts on transparency and access to information, fair and effective law enforcement, and dispute resolution.

IIED, the Ol Lentille Conservancy Management, IUCN and LWF will continue to work together to provide valuable feedback of results to more community members since communication inside group ranches/community conservancies was sorely lacking, and communication between conservancies and group ranches was entirely insufficient.

LWF and OLC will also work with IUCN and IIED to implement priority recommendations, and to seek additional resources to improve the governance of this important land use model in Laikipia.

Kudos to all who participated including the excellent facilitation team and, to Ol Lentille Conservancy for their commitment to this exercise.

Rethink What You Know About Women’s Conservation Groups

Women groups in Laikipia have played a significant role in community development and conservation of our natural resources. Blessed Women’s Group from Matanya is one such group that continues to empower surrounding communities, and commendably churning out smart water farmers. These women have seen how water can be a cause of conflict and strife and are on a mission to ensure that their farming practices do not hinder water conservation efforts. They are part of the Laikipia Irrigation Acceleration Platform (IAP) of which the Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership is the secretariat.

The IAP in Laikipia County is making great strides in water management for the small-holder agriculture sector. The Platform was established in May this year by the Smart Water for Agriculture Program of SNV (Netherlands Development Organisation). This Project aims to increase income and food security for households around the county. The Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership (MKEWP) is supported by an LWF secretariat.

Halima Mohammed, Secretary of Blessed Women’s Group, together with 20 other members were recently supported by MKEWP to attend a Kisima field day. We caught up with them to find out more about their activities, and how similar platforms have played a key role in actualising their water conservation efforts.

LWF: Tell us about Blessed Women’s Group:
Halima Mohammed (HM) on behalf of Blessed women’s Group: (laughing)…..There is a lot to say about us! We are currently 30 members all living in Matanya. I joined the group over 5 years ago so these women are like my sisters. We all make a living off the farming that we engage in so that we can support our families and take our children to school. We realised that we needed to become more organised so that we can participate in discussions around water conservation. We knew we can make a difference in the way we use water, after all, we are 30 members in the group but truthfully we are almost 150 if you count all our family members……those are many water ambassadors!
LWF: Are all 30 members of the group women?
HM: Yes, initially that was how we were structured. But one of our members passed away… that was a very sad day for all of us. She left behind a family. Her husband insisted on continuing his wife’s work. He felt strongly about being a part of us and wanted his children to continue learning about water conservation, so now he is officially part of our group!
LWF: And what do you farm?
HM: We all plant vegetables like sukuma, spinach, maize, potatoes and tomatoes depending on the season. Some of us have a dairy cow or two that provide milk for the family. The excess is sold. But it is not always easy trying to get our produce to market and that is why we were so excited to join Laikipia’s IAP because they give us a lot of information on market linkages for our produce.
LWF: If we were attending a Kisima field day 10 years from now, what would your participation look like?
HM: We will have a stand of our own and a demonstration field…if they would allow us. We would use our participation to talk about Smart Water Irrigation and the importance of water storage. Take today for example, it is raining very heavily! Most members of the women’s group have installed various structures to harvest rain water but many members of our community do not invest in these structures, and in the end face many problems during dry spells. And of course we would have one of these tractors….(laughs)…that would be wonderful!
But today has been a great day and we have learnt so much and talked to other farmers that are facing similar challenges. Exchange of ideas is always fruitful.
LWF: What advice would give young women who want to succeed in farming and community engagement?
HM: Get organised! You can do so much when you work as an organised group; we have seen this first hand. Also, young women should not fear asking questions and getting involved in issues such as conservation. For many years our men are the ones that spearheaded such activities, we see that in even the way our WRUAS are structured, but this is changing! We have learnt that without our input, discussions and decisions made are not inclusive. Many of us women are out in the shambas farming and running our households, if we are not contributing to important discussions about conservation and how we live then others will make for us and that is not good for the community.

Important MKEWP Update:

We are honoured to announce that the Mount Kenya Ewaso Water Partnership’s Flora and Fauna International proposal to the Darwin initiative has been approved. The UK£ 400,000 project will run for the next four years and is as a result of an integrated community development effort that will focus on the communities surrounding Ol Pejeta Conservancy. The Water Conservation component will be implemented in partnership with the MKEWP.

Launch of the Project’s work plan, and collaborative actions will commence this September.

The Great Northern Kenya Wildlife Count 2017

Kenya will get another boost in its efforts to conserve wildlife when KWS leads a total count of elephants, buffaloes, Grevy’s Zebras and Reticulated Giraffe in the greater northern landscape of Kenya. This year’s count will focus on these four charismatic and endangered species in an effort to establish their total numbers.

From November 19th to 30th, approximately 15 aircraft, with pilots and observers will systematically survey Laikipia, Samburu, Isiolo, Marsabit and Meru counties from the air. The collated information will then be compared to past aerial survey counts of wildlife. Comparing the information helps us to evaluate the success of our landscape and species conservation efforts and will provide us with information on where we might concentrate future conservation resources. Trends in land use, livestock, and human settlements are also noted.

This year’s total count is supported broadly by various conservation organisations of this great landscape. They will be presenting to the public and members of the press in an opening ceremony at Sarova Shaba Game Lodge on November 20, 2017. They will be joined by international, national, and County representatives to learn more about the aerial survey, issues and trends in conservation in northern Kenya.

The Great Northern Kenya Wildlife Count includes an area of more than 65,516.96 sq. kilometres and will take 7 full days (at a minimum) to cover by aircraft.

This area is singularly one of Kenya’s great wildlife conservation areas. Wildlife survives here because of the goodwill of its residents, including land use that supports or tolerates wildlife.

USAID is providing funding support through a grant to KWS, and many organisations, companies and individuals are volunteering their time and expertise to make this year’s count a success.

For more information, please contact John Gitonga at or Dr. Shadrack Ngene at

This initiative is proudly supported by:
Mpala Research Centre, LWF, Space for Giants, KWS, USAID, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, NRT, Ewaso Lions, Marwell Trust, Lion Landscapes, San Diego Zoo, Grevy Zebra Trust, Action for Cheetahs in Kenya (ACK), Save the Elephants, Samburu Trust.

CIDP County Engagement Begins This Month

On August 25th, the Steering Committee Members of the 5-County CIDP Improvement effort mapped out the next four to five months of engagement with the County Governments of Marsabit, Isiolo, Laikipia, Samburu and Baringo.

The effort is led by LWF, with the help of the FAO Community Land Project, the Mpala Research Centre, the Northern Rangelands Trust, the National Arid and Semi-arid Lands Stakeholder Forum/NDMA, and the Agile and Harmonized Assistance for Devolved Institutions (AHADI).

Meet the CIDP Team (from left to right): Margaret Wambua, Stanley Ngatia and Peter Hetz from LWF; Gabriel Nyausi from NRT, John Gitonga from Mpala, Hussein Wario, FAO, and Omar Jibril, National ASAL Stakeholder Coordinator. Absent from the photo is AHADI representative, Lucy Kimani.

This Consortium will focus on improvements to CIDPs for rangelands, livestock, water, land use, and wildlife. We are providing key information accumulated from partners, research, and communities to ensure it informs the next generation of CIDP decision-making and financing.

Full CIDP teams will be dispatched to Counties in September, to help with the planning and budgeting process.

Please find an updated CDIP and County Annual Development Plan calendar explained here.

For further information about this, or if you have suggestions on what should be included in the CIDPs, please contact Stanley Ngatia on

Remember: Stay Engaged! Get Informed!

Bring Black Back

Charity Ball for Laikipia’s Black Rhino Renaissance

The Laikipia Wildlife Forum, together with Dance Savoir Faire, and Dancesport Kenya are offering a ball and safari weekend that combines a unique dance opportunity with support for rhino conservation in the Laikipia landscape. The ball is set to take place on the 28th of October at Kongoni CampThe Laikipia Wildlife Forum, together with Dance Savoir Faire, and Dancesport Kenya are offering a ball and safari weekend that combines a unique dance opportunity with support for rhino conservation in the Laikipia landscape.  The ball is set to take place on the 28th of October at Kongoni Camp.

This dance journey began earlier this year when 3 Rhino Conservancies – Borana, Ol Pejeta and Ol Jogi received support from the USAID-Kenya/US Department of the Interior in support of endangered species conservation. The grant, administered by LWF, was used to train rhino conservancy rangers, purchase equipment, and train sniffer dogs. According to the Association of Private Land Rhino Sanctuaries (APLRS), Laikipia hosts more than 50% of Kenya’s black rhino population. Kenya’s vision 2030 aims to have a total population of 2000 black rhinos, a huge goal in 13 years. Tsavo and Laikipia are the best hosts of rhinos to meet this goal.

Given present conservation efforts, private rhino conservancies spend between 30 – 40,000 US dollars per/acre per year for rhino conservation. These include both direct and indirect costs associated with rhino conservation.

Most of this money used for rhino conservation on private land comes from a multiple land use approach (tourism, livestock and some agriculture) and donor funding. At present levels, most private conservancies will be hard-pressed to meet the national goal, as well as meet the escalating costs of rhino conservation without some level of government intervention, economies of scale, or both.

The “Bring Black Back” charity ball represents a unique opportunity to dance ballroom with a Strictly Come Dancing professional, while learning of and supporting the Laikipia vision to develop rhino conservation as a landscape management tool.

Major investment by conservancies has proved successful, and Laikipia has been one of the leaders.  Laikipia even hosts the last known Northern White Rhinos with the greatest hope for preventing extinction of this species.
Laikipia has been facing challenges recently, but looks forward to finding peaceful ways forward towards sustainable landscape conservation for the benefit of all citizens, livestock and wildlife. Select Laikipia conservancies have shown that Black Rhino conservation can be a tool for peace and security, for revenue generation and employment, for revenue sharing and livelihoods, and for biodiversity, habitat and landscape conservation. It’s a model that can be replicated.

We have a dream – for the greater Laikipia area, to be a world leader in rhino conservation, hand- in-hand with sustainable management of its resources. Let us collaborate for this goal of mutual benefit and celebrate it with the joy of dance.

Save The Date and Book Your Ticket Now

The Rhino Ball will be held on Saturday 28th October in Nanyuki at Kongoni Camp. It will include dinner and a performance from Andrew Cuerden, a Strictly Come Dancing professional and his partner Christin Neisler, live music by renowned band “The Itch”, and dancing till late.

Additional tickets can be obtained that include a group dance class on the Saturday morning and a discounted pass into Ol Pejeta Conservancy on the Sunday to see rhino conservation in action.

Both group and private dance, and yoga classes are also possible by arrangement. Sweetwaters Serena Camp on Ol Pejeta will host those who wish to purchase a weekend ticket and will arrange transfers to and from the Ball.

There are only 100 Ball Tickets Available! Basic tickets are Ksh 5,000 per person and include a fabulous dinner with complimentary wine, as well as all set festivities for the night.  If coming with friends, reserve a table to avoid disappointment.

For more information about tickets contact:

  1. Select the MPESA service On Your Phone
  2. Select Lipa Na MPESA
  3. Select Pay Bill
  4. Enter Business Number: 898370
  5. When asked for Account Name: Please Type In: Rhino (Your Full Name)
  6. Pay

To find out more about private or group dance lessons on Saturday, October 28, or for discounted access to Ol Pejeta Conservancy to see rhino conservation in action on Sunday, October 29, please contact: Dr. Kes Smith on:

For more information about LWF’s support to rhino conservation, please contact:  John Gitonga on:

The Laikipia Rabies Vaccination Campaign Needs Your Help

In Kenya, the majority of annual rabies-related deaths occur where vaccination programs are limited or non-existent, and where low income communities reside. The Laikipia Rabies Vaccination Campaign (LRVC) begun in 2015 by the Mpala Research Centre in order to provide real-time health benefits for these vulnerable communities, as well as domestic animals and wildlife. Last year’s campaign saw over 4, 000 dogs vaccinated as a result of support from various partners that included Bruce Ludwig, Laikipia Wildlife Forum, the County Government of Laikipia, and Ol Pejeta Conservancy among others.

In Laikipia, we know that there are significant numbers of undocumented rabies cases in domestic animals, wildlife and humans annually. When faced with such statistics we must ask ourselves – can the strategy of making Laikipia Kenya’s first rabies free county really work? The answer is a resounding YES, but only if Laikipians as well as County Government can work together to eradicate this deadly virus.

If we take informed steps, we can significantly minimise exposure to rabies and accomplish Kenya’s 2030 vision of being an entirely rabies free nation. We will however not be able to reach this goal without your help.
The 2017 LRVC plans to widen its scope and reach out to more people.

The campaign will take place over the weekends in October and into November, if necessary. Our goal is to vaccinate over 5,000 dogs and cats during this period. The campaign will target approximately 20 communities bordering Mpala Research Centre as well as Ol Jogi, Segera, Ol Pejeta, Loisaba, Ol Lentille, Karisia/Tumaren, Naibunga, Lewa and Borana Conservancies.

How You Can Help
Your support is crucial to our efforts. The number of students, vets and community members who are always willing to volunteer is always encouraging but we do need more financial support.
The 2017 LRVC, which now includes Distemper, is predicted to cost approximately Ksh 2M (USD $20, 000). With this money we will be able to cover the costs of:

  • Over 5000 Rabies and Distemper vaccines
  • Transport, accommodation and meals for all LRVC staff and volunteers during the campaign
  • Production of rabies civic education material

LWF and Mpala Research Centre will give a full transparent account of how all monies donated will be utilised, as well as a final report after completion of the campaign.

To donate please use the following:


  1. Select the MPESA service On Your Phone
  2. Select Lipa Na MPESA
  3. Select Pay Bill
  4. Enter Business Number: 991503
  5. When asked for Account Name: Please Type In Your Full Name
  6. Donate

For bank transfers, please use:
Bank: Stanbic Bank
Account Number: 0100004071926
Swift Code:
Account Name: Laikipia Wildlife Forum

For more information, please contact John Gitonga on
Laikipia Wildlife Forum will be working with the LRVC, led by Mpala Research Centre, and will keep you up to date on this very important initiative.

Rabies is an almost invariably fatal disease for both humans and animals. Vaccination of domestic animals is a critical step that we should all participate in for the protection of domestic animals, our already fragile wildlife population and most importantly, public health.

Together, we can eradicate rabies in Laikipia!

Conservation: Cutting Across Generations

Just how different is the opinion about Rhino conservation between an elder and young lady living in Il Ingwesi community? LWF recently met Mzee Lesaila Kirobi (MLK) and Fiona Saman, a recent high school graduate to find out….


LWF: What does Rhino conservation mean to you Mzee Kirobi?

MLK: I have lived in this community for over 60 years and so I have been able to see the changes that have happened here…. some good and some not so good. When I was a young boy I had no idea what conservation was. We lived with our wild animals because that is how my father and his father before that lived. Then things started to change and it took me some time before I understood why this foreign term – this Rhino conservation – was important and necessary. I have seen what Borana Conservancy has been able to accomplish over many years and I must say we have benefitted greatly from their work. And so conservation means that my grand children, and their children, can see the animals that I grew up with. Today, I try as much as I can to make sure that my community understands this. Conservation is for our benefit and that of our children.

LWF: But are there really benefits associated with Rhino conservation?

MLK: Yes! I have seen it with my own eyes. Children have been able to go to school. We also had some schools that were breaking down and now; they have been fixed so that learning can continue. You see, I also know that when we are talking about Rhino conservation, we are talking about conservation of many other animals, because they too benefit. They benefit from the land and grass that is protected, the security provided and the support given by those that do not live here.

LWF: Are there any other benefits, and where would you like to see improvement?

MLK: The wider community has also benefitted greatly as Borana helps us when we face security challenges. For example, cattle rustlers recently invaded our land…. it was a terrible situation. Borana sent in their team to help us get back our cattle. They also put in place a system that allows our animals to graze in the conservancy during times of drought.

It would be good if Borana continues to extend additional support and assistance to the community by improving the infrastructure of more schools in the area so that more children can attend. We old people would like our children to have more opportunities then we did! We would like our children to take what we have taught them (and what our elders before that taught us), and combine that with contemporary education so that they can earn an income to sustain themselves and their families. This can be done through activities such as strengthening the Livestock to Market Program.

LWF: Do you have easy access to conservation information?

MLK: Yes, the conservancy shares information on Rhino conservation activities regularly. I use this information to talk to community members who do not understand conservation. I also try and make members of the community comfortable enough to forward names of those with bad intentions that affect our well being and that of our wildlife and environment.



Fiona Saman (FS) is a 17-year-old young lady from Il Ngwesi community and a beneficiary from the Borana Education Program. She recently completed her high school education and will be the first in her family to join the University of Nairobi this September. Her passion lies in conservation and has vowed to return after completing her studies so that she can empower other community members to work together so that they can manage their natural resources.

LWF: How long did you receive support from Borana Conservancy?

FS: I received support since the very first day I joined high school – so four years in total. My family and I were very happy because we did not know how I would complete my studies. We just didn’t have the funds. I never thought I would complete high school let alone join the University to pursue a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology! I am so grateful! This is my brother….I hope he too can go to University.

LWF: Do you think conservation works?

FS: Absolutely! I am not the only one that sees that and I want more young people to understand the importance of conservation. Members of my community have been employed by nearby conservancies and also sell their produce and other items in order to get the money they need to support their families, and also other members of the community. That is how we live. But what motivates me the most is the thought that children born in 10 to 20 years might not see the beautiful animals that we have grown up with. I always tell young people that they can be a part of conservation in their own way, even if it’s just protecting their immediate environment. These are our animals; this is our environment, so we must protect it.

LWF: Do you find resistance when talking to your family and community about conservation?

FS: We always have to talk about conservation in a way that makes sense to the people who do not quite understand that big word – con-ser-va-tion! Growing up, we were told of stories of how our grandparents lived with animals and made sure that they were safe. Today, it is a little more difficult as there are people who value money much more than they do our animals and environment. In my view, the best way forward for conservation is for us to practice what was practiced all those years ago, working closely with conservationists and that is what I tell my friends and they seem to agree.

End Note

Through a concept proposal submitted by Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF), the US Government through the Department of Interior (DOI) generously gave a grant in 2016 to “Enhance Security in Laikipia’s Rhino Sanctuaries”. The grant was set to focus on: a) Capacity building b) Anti poaching efforts c) Deterrence to Wildlife Trafficking to three conservancies in Laikipia namely: Ol Pejeta, Ol Jogi and Borana. LWF has gone a step further and wants to understand the perception of Rhino conservation among communities surrounding conservancies in Laikipia, in order to support the development of a communication awareness plan for these communities. Join the conversation by following Laikipia Wildlife Forum on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (@laikipiaforum).

#VifaruWetuMaliYetu (Our Rhinos, Our Wealth)!