FORUM FOCUS 1603 - page 6

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CONSERVATION INACTION
March 2016 IssueNo. 6
Continued on page 6
LWFstrategicplanningupdate
L
aikipia Wildlife Forum
(LWF)
and
Northern
Rangeland Trust (NRT)
implement various projects in the
Ewaso Ecosystem, a region that is
vulnerable to the impacts of climate
change. Extreme shifts in weather
patterns in Laikipia have led to
adverse impacts on social, physical,
ecological and economic systems.
People suffer from water shortages
and failed crops. They hungrily
search for food and pastures.
Together, NRT and LWF are
workingwithPlanningforResilience
in East Africa to address climate
change. Through key programs
such as PolicyAdaptation, Research
and
Economic
Development
(PREPARED), or the Regional
Center for Mapping Resource for
Development (RCMRD/SEVIR),
they hope to come up with a
Vulnerability Impact Assessment
(VIA) model. “This model will
eventually help NRT, LWF and the
Ewaso Ecosystem communities
make decisions about ways to adapt
to climate change. Climate change
is a real threat, and we will need
all the innovation and community
participationwe canmuster in order
to adapt successfully”, says Peter
Hetz, LWF’sExecutiveDirector.
Laikipia has been experiencing
declining crop yields and food
insecurity, particularly in areas
where pastoralism is practiced.
The long rains are often slow to
begin. Grazing areas go for long
periods without rainfall, rendering
the landscape barren and unusable.
Mount Kenya is part of the larger
Ewaso Ecosystem and most rivers
in Laikipia originate from it. Only
10 of the 18 glaciers that covered
Mount Kenya’s summit a century
ago remain, leaving less than one
third of the previous ice cover.
The ice on Mount Kenya has also
become thinner. Emerging evidence
suggests that this decline has
accelerated since the 1970s. By
2010, Lewis Glacier (the largest on
Mount Kenya) decreased by 90%
in volume since 1934. The highest
rates of ice-volume loss occurred
around the turn of the century
AddressingClimateChangeRequiresStrongPartnerships
(Prinz, et al.,2011).Mount Kenya is
valuable for timber, farmland, and
tourism and its forested slopes are
critical for water catchment, acting
as “water towers” for much of the
country (UNEP 2009). Climate
change impacts glaciers, which in
turn affects the seasonal flow of
springs and rivers running through
LaikipiaCounty.
At the end of 2015, not onlywas
the threat of drought an issue in
Laikipia, but sowasflooding.Major
towns like Nanyuki experienced
water rationing. Similarly, there
have been increased conflicts
reported by the Kenya Police as
well as conservationists among
pastoralist communities.
All this evidencepoints to the fact
that now,more than ever, Laikipians
need to make sure that water
withdrawal from the region’s rivers
and streams is carefully planned.
Laws regarding water conservation
andmanagementmustbeadhered to.
Too many people are appropriating
water without stopping to consider
the ramifications. Being more
mindful about water use will help
reduce conflict duringLaikipia’s dry
season.
Many community stressors are
linked to our current unpredictable
weather changes. It is our hope that
theVulnerability Impact assessment
(VIA)modelmayhelporganisations
and county government to adapt
properly toclimatechange, enabling
them to better address the issues in
adequate time. Partnershipsbetween
entities suchasNRT,LWF, and local
legislative offices will be critical
factors inmitigating climate change
inLaikipia
Eastern
In Eastern unit, the participants
felt that the priority programs for
LWF are:
ConservationEnterprise:
Marketing of farm products and
connecting the enterpriseswith
markets.
WaterResources:
Water
harvesting, capacity building on
maintenance of commonwater
intakes, water purification and
water storage.
Wildlife:
Assisting them in
setting up wildlife fences, with
LWF toplay an advocacy role e.g.
toassist them inensuring that they
are compensated. LWF will also
assist them in enabling KWS to
bemore responsive to community
needs
The points of concern that emerged
in the discussions in relation to
EasternUnitwere:
Stalled or incomplete LWF
projects.
The communities felt left out
or were not consulted during
decision making and planning of
projects byLWF.
There was no follow-up by LWF
on the existing projects and or
activities andmeetings for review
and to ensure continuity.
There were few exit strategies-if
any- and in the project’s lifetime,
LWF had failed to explain the
specific roles of the various
communities in sustaining the
project.
Themembershipwould
appreciate feedback from forums
to handle different issues arising
from conservation and use of the
various natural resources.
The communities have high
expectationsofLWF, someofwhich
are based on poor knowledge of the
scope and mandate of LWF, and
therefore need to re-engage and
clarify this.
Western
In the Western Unit, the priority
programmatic areas were identified
as:
ConservationEnterprise:
emphasis on the tourism sector-
workwith existing conservancies
to promote tourism and highlight
the cultural diversity inLaikipia
other than the traditional
wildlife and bush excursions.
This included themarketing of
productsmade in the groups e.g.
beadwork, honey andwax.
Wildlife Programme:
human
wildlife conflict: LWF to act
as a link/mediator between the
community and KWS, and to
intervene in wildlife destruction
cases.
The points of concern that needed
action in the forthcoming strategic
planwere:
LWF to manage the expectations
of the communities through clear
and effective communication
especially on its mandate and
scope.Members are also not very
clear of their mandates/roles in
LWF.
LWF needs to improve on follow
up of projects until the end,
and even afterwards to ensure
sustainability. 
 LWFneeds to increase thenumber
of field staffmembers because the
existing ones are insufficient yet
they must cover a large area and
thus are unable to reach and serve
communities effectively.
LWF is required to step up
information
dissemination
through various channels to the
members. Forums should be
organized to update them on
activities and progress.
The Strategic Planning process
has resulted in high expectations
of LWF, andmanymembers have
the general impression that they
are being left out.
Theparticipantsfelt thatpartnerships
between LWF and County and
NationalGovernment areacceptable
but they would prefer that LWF
takes a lead role in implementation
to ensure a higher chance of success
given thatLWFwasmoreaccessible
to them.
The participants felt that the
aspect of LWF getting into
‹financially sustainable› activities
was achievable, though it would
take time tosucceed. Itwouldensure
flexibility of LWF in response to
their needs.
NorthenUnit
The priority programs for LWF’s
consideration during the forums
were identified as:
Conservation Enterprise:
with
a bias towards establishment
of community cultural centers
as income sources for both
community andLWF.
Water:
mainly in capacity
building and support in water
conservation
initiatives
for
community and institutions.
Wildlife:
in regards tomitigation
of
human-wildlife
conflict
and advocacy on behalf of
the community in addressing
human wildlife conflicts and
compensation.
The points of concern that needed
addressing in the forthcoming
strategic planwere:
Lack of proper follow-ups on
initiated projects.
Lack of intimate connection
betweenLWF and the community
as it was before, the community
therefore feels left out with no
defined position inLWF.
LWF should consider employing
more staff from the community,
thosewho understand the specific
needs of the community.
They don’t seem to get any
benefits from wildlife; therefore
they felt that the large ranches
should offer direct support to the
communities throughLWF.
Members do not understand
their roles and how they can
directly benefit from LWF after
enrolling. The community has
very high expectations for LWF;
they feel it would be even better
if LWF involved them directly in
identifying needs and designing
projects for the region.
EwasoNyiro
The priority program areas for LWF
that were consistent throughout the
unitwere:
Water: InvolvementofmoreWater
Resource Users Associations
(WRUAs) in the unit for the
community tobe satisfiedwith the
level of their representation.
Rangelands: Increased capacity
building to communities on
management of pastures and
rangelands.
Conservation
Enterprise:
connecting
the
community
conservation enterprise initiatives
to variousmarkets.
Education program: working
towards increasing the literacy
levels of the communities.
The points of concern that needed
action in the forthcoming strategic
planwere:
High Illiteracy levels in the unit.
Members’ dissatisfaction at the
services rendered byLWF.
Lack of market for the
conservation enterprises..
The level of engagementwas very
good and they clearly stated their
needs and expectations of LWF.
Overall the participants of the
stakeholder forums were pleased
to be involved in the process of
mapping out the future of LWF
and this raised their expectations. It
increased their desire to be included
in the LWF Strategic Plan process
from beginning to end.
The process of engaging in
stakeholder Forums continues,
though community engagement
forums have been concluded. On
February24
th
,LWFwill beengaging
conservation
organizations
in
Nairobi, hosted by East African
Wildlife Society, and will look to
include other stakeholders in the
process.
1,2,3,4,5 7,8
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