FORUM FOCUS 1603 - page 2

T
he Unit Forums for LWF
strategic planning process
kicked off on 11
th
January
2016 with teams going out to the
field to carryout a recce to ascertain
logistics and meeting venues.
The unit meetings were aimed at
collecting views from communities,
community and opinion leaders
and community groups that are
organised around natural resource
management. These forums were
carried out in the form of focus
group discussions, and included a
StrengthsWeaknessesOpportunities
andThreats analysis of LWF carried
out by the participants. Each of
the forums lasted half a day and
consisted of selected community
and
community
organization
representatives.
A total of 23 stakeholder forums
were held in different centres
across the five units. These
forums ran concurrently and were
carried out by five teams; they
were scheduled to run from 19
th
January to 17
th
February 2016.
Over 500 participants representing
communities
and
community
groups across Laikipia participated
in the stakeholder forums.However,
across all the meetings, there was
CONSERVATION INACTION
2 |
LWFStrategicPlanningUpdate
March2016 IssueNo. 6
FocusGroup
Discussions are
helping to identify the
strengths, weaknesses,
opportunities and
threats of LWF
both externally and
internally.
low representation of the youth and
in EwasoNyiro andNorthernUnits
therewasboth low femaleandyouth
representation in the Forums. In all
forums, there was generally good
knowledge of how LWF functions,
based on previous interaction with
LWF, and its involvement in specific
areas, but the majority of the
participants did not fully understand
the scope and mandate of LWF.
What emerged from the focus
groups discussionswas as follows:
Central
In the Central Unit, it emerged that
the priority programs for LWF are:
Conservation
Education:
Establishment of a tertiary
technical college to train on
purely conservation matters and
establishment of scholarship
programs
for
students
in
membership groups.
Conservation
Enterprise:
Focusing on potential marketing
products for thegroups e.g. honey
and handicrafts.
The most pressing concerns that
emerged from the discussions
with theCentralUnitwere:
The members are not fully
included in the overall and
financial planning of LWF
activities; hence want to be
consultedon the identificationand
prioritization of their needs.
Some projects that were initiated
by LWF have stalled along the
way, due to lack of follow up.
The frequent change in office
bearers of the community
organizations was negatively
impacting LWF activities as
there was no effective handover
procedure between the old and
new office bearers.
It also emerged that there was a
need for LWF to re-engage the
communities so as to clarify what
LWF really does and how the
community can be involved. It was
deemed necessary to carry out an
impact assessment and evaluation
of previous projects and activities
to assist in effectiveplanning for the
future.
L
WF and The Nature
Conservancy
(TNC)
are working together to
promote the unity and conservation
of Laikipia’s landscapes for both
people andwildlife.
Born out of the LWF mission to
conserve wildlife and ecosystem
integrity and to improve the lives
of its people, LWF and TNC share
a set of values for conservation of
the land and water upon which life
depends.
The partnership will help LWF
with its new strategic and business
plans, and with development of a
conservation land trust.  LWF and
TNC agreed last year to equally
share the costs in this effort, with
USAID
underwriting
LWF’s
investment. 
Founded in the United States
in the 1950s, The Nature
Conservancy is one of the world’s
largest conservation non-profits.
TNC works collaboratively with
local communities, landowners,
governments, and others to promote
the conservation and sustainable
use of lands, waters and oceans.
They take a non-partisan, non-
confrontational approach to finding
LittleLWFgetsSupport frombigTNC
solutions that work for everyone.
With support from its one million
members,TNChashelped toprotect
some 120million acresworldwide.
LWF is 24 years old, and
supported by some 6000 members.
It has helped to conserve over 6200
acres across Laikipia, including
many of the private conservancies
and community conservancies
such as Naibunga, Il Ngwesi, and
Lekkuruki.
Kent Wommack, TNC’s Senior
Strategist
for
International
Programs, is working with LWF
in Nanyuki over the next several
months. Kent is one of TNC’smost
experienced field leaders, having
helped initiate or manage TNC’s
programs in Maine, Australia,
Canada and New Zealand. We sat
down with Kent to talk about this
partnershipwithLWF.
LWF: You have worked in
conservation for over 30 years.
What lessons have you learned?
Kent:
Years ago, many people
thought the key to protecting
wildlife was simply to establish
parks and other protected areas – to
provide safe sanctuaries for wildlife
apart from human communities.
While protected areas can be useful,
the real need today is to find ways
for people and wildlife to co-exist
on the landscape, because generally
what is good for one is good for the
other.
Thekey tosuccessfulconservation
is to recognize that people are very
much a part of the landscape, and
that people and wildlife in fact
need the same things – clean water,
healthy productive land that grows
food, open space to move around,
peace and security.
LWF: Tell us about TNC’s work
inAfrica.
Kent:
We work in a half dozen
countries inAfrica, includingKenya,
Tanzania, Zambia andGabon. Here
in northern Kenya, we have been
very involved with protection of
the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy
and the Loisaba ranch. TNC does
not own either of these properties,
but instead has helped set them up
as conservancies, owned by local
Trusts and managed by their own
independent boards.
We have also helped support the
Northern Rangelands Trust, which
has grown considerably over the
last few years. The NRT model is
based on a belief that pastoralists
must be full partners in managing
rangelands, and that the benefits
from goodmanagement shouldflow
to local communities, so everyone is
rewarded for theirefforts toconserve
open space andwildlife habitat.
LWF: Why is TNC investing so
strongly in this partnership with
LWF?
Kent
: Laikipia is one of Kenya’s
most intact landscapes, and is home
to an extraordinary array of wildlife
and endangered species. It is also a
growing destination for eco-tourism
and environmental education,which
generates local jobs and revenue.
Keeping this landscape open and
unfragmented will benefit people,
livestock and wildlife for years to
come, but it requires hard work
and collaboration between many
interests – county government,
pastoralists, landowners and more.
LWF is widely respected in its
ability tobring theseparties together
to identify common interests,
provide good science, craft new
solutions and secure funding to
protect Laikipia’s landscape.
LWF: What are the major
challenges facingLaikipia?
Kent:
Scientific studies show,
and pastoralists confirm, that
northern Kenya’s grasslands have
been seriously degraded over time.
Less grass means less food for both
nativewildlife, livestock andpeople
too. Illegal invasions bypastoralists
heightens conflict across the
region. Helping local residents and
landowners protect and sustainably
manage their resources will make
Laikipia stronger andmore secure.
LWF:Whatcanbedonetoprotect
Laikipia’s intact landscape?
Kent:
Landowners – whether
private ranchers, conservancies
or group ranches – are critically
important partners. Most are deeply
committed tobeinggoodneighbours
by generating employment, revenue
and food, as well as protecting
wildlife. We must find ways
to encourage and support these
activities for the good of the whole
region.
Among other ideas, we are
exploring the creation of a land
trust for Laikipia that could hold
“conservation easements” on key
parcels, thereby ensuring their
long term protection by restricting
uses that might damage the land’s
productivityforgrazingandwildlife.
LWF: Any last thoughts?
Kent:
I am looking forward to
workingwithLWFover thenext few
months. This is a very important
organizationwith great potential for
shapingabright future forLaikipia’s
people andwildlife.
Continued on page 6
Membersof a focusgroupdiscussionheldat IlpoleiCulturalWomen’sCentre
1 3,4,5,6,7,8
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