FORUM FOCUS 1603 - page 1

March 2016 IssueNo. 6
Astronger future for
Mukogodo forest
elephants repeatedly
break the fence in
search of food from
heMukogodo forest reserve
kilometres. It is one of the
few remaining dry forests in Kenya
and happens to occupy a region that
isalsohome to fourgroup ranches. It
possesses amultitude of indigenous
tree varieties, medicinal plants, and
its important water sources and
pastures are vital sustenance for
The local Mukogodo community
hasa traditionalmanagement system
that has, until now, ensured the
conservation of the forest for many
years. Communities effectively
managed use of forest resources
through organized access to the
forest. Through rotating grazing
systems and restrictedwood cutting,
inhabitants have been able to keep
careful tabs on the forest’s precious
resources. With the intention of
using the forest as a sustainable
resource, the community has been
able to benefit from dry grazing
pasture, some firewood, building
materials, andbasicherbal remedies.
surrounding livestock keepers have
traditionallymigrated into the forest
in search of water and pasture.
Sadly, due to increased human and
livestock populations, the forest’s
pasture and water resources are no
longer sufficient to sustain herd
sizes, causing herdsmen to hack
branches from trees to feed their
What’s Special?
The Mukogodo forest and its
surrounding areas arehome tomany
species of wildlife. African wild
dog, African leopard, Greater Kudu
and Grevy’s Zebra are re among
the species found here. Elephants
visit each season. The remarkable
biodiversity makes the region
important from a conservation
perspective. Mukogodo Forest has
also registeredwith theGovernment
as an important bird area, using
our friends the birds to increase
the conservation importance of the
In recent years the forest has faced
threats due to increased human
settlement and uncontrolled access
to its resources. There is a pressing
need for intervention, in order to
continue conserving the forest for
presentandfuturegenerations.It is in
What futuredoes the largest highland forest inLaikipiahave?
recognition of these challenges that
the four group ranches that manage
theMukogodo forest agreed to form
an umbrella Community Forest
Association, or CFA. This group
formation allows them to manage
the government’s forest reserve at
community level.With support from
partner organizations such as the
LaikipiaWildlife Forum (LWF), the
ranches have formed a group,which
they have named ILMAMUSI – an
acronym for Ilngwesi, Makurian,
Mukogodo andSieku.
In its early days, LWF was able
to establish a cordial relationship
between the community and
the private ranchers adjacent to
the forest. LWF helped the CFA
construct an office at Loragai and
also supported community scouts
with training, uniforms and radio
communication equipment as well
as motorbikes for patrols. Sadly,
because of the withdrawal of
donor programs, this support was
Since its inception, ILMAMUSI
has been bogged down by weak
organisation and management. We
regularly call this “governance”,
and weak governance has in turn
affected how information is shared
with the local communities. The
inability to hold annual meetings
(as required by law), the weakness
of conflict resolution efforts, aswell
as poor general management of the
Foresthasall affected ILMAMUSI’s
Fresh interventions
In 2015, LWF partnered up with
LewaWildlifeConservancy, Borana
Conservancy, and the Northern
Rangelands Trust in order to revive
the ILMAMUSI board and to draw
up a game plan to get it back on
track. This is a strong testimony
to the commitment of neighbours
working together.
NRT was tasked with training
the board members to strengthen
their governance. Borana pledged
to help the ILMAMUSI coordinator
to set up financial systems and
figure out how to adhere to
statutory government requirements.
Lewa accepted the leading role
in assisting the coordinator and
office management, as well as
fund raising. LWF was tasked with
revisiting the governance structure
of the CFA and to help the Board
to disseminate ideas presented in
the the first CFAmanagement plan,
whose development was supported
by USAID. Too many community
members know nothing about
the CFA, the management plan,
and their respective roles in the
management of theForest.
Recently LWF organized a
series of meetings in Ilngwesi,
Mukurian, Kurikuri andMukogodo
to assist the ILMAMUSI CFA
to understand their management
plan. From these meetings it was
apparent that there were some
internal misunderstandings between
community based organizations on
each group ranch, each group ranch
board, and general members of the
public. All these problems stem
from poor communication.
Emerging issues
The governance of group ranches
must be stronger if we expect the
future of Mukogodo forest to be
secure. Each group ranch board is
responsible for organising a group
ranch management committee.
These committees are elected
during the group ranch annual
general meeting. Then each group
ranch committee is responsible for
appointing members to ILMAUSI
CFA. 13 total members are elected
by each of the four participating
LWFandMRC to
Threats toForests
Continued to page 3
Membersof ILMAMUSI task force
1 2,3,4,5,6,7,8
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