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Friday, 27 June 2014

LWF hold meeting to update members on projects progress

By Bob Aston
The Laikipia Wildlife Forum (LWF) held a North/Western unit meeting on June 25, 2014 at Presbyterian Church E.A Karaba in Muhotetu Division to update members on various projects that they have been undertaking in the region.
The meeting was attended by officials from LWF, Water Resource Users Association (WRUA), Community Forest Association (CFA), Kenya Resources Management Authority (WRMA), Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) and various community based organizations operating in Laikipia County.
Mr. Ngure addressing participants during the meeting
During the meeting various LWF program officers gave a brief progress of their projects. Members were informed that rehabilitation of Lariak springs is ongoing while biogas that was made through funding from Community Development Trust Fund (CDTF) has been rehabilitated. They were also informed that LWF is planning for a walk to create awareness on importance of wildlife conservation.
WRUA was encouraged to continue sensitizing the public on water conservation. They were also informed that LWF is currently working on a guide on ecosystem health.
LWF program officers informed members that a task force has been established that is being chaired by Laikipia Governor Hon Joshua Irungu to see how to reduce human wildlife conflict in the county. They were also informed that they have also assisted in drafting Laikipia Wildlife Conservation Strategy 2012-2030 which is the first of its kind in the country.
Members were informed that LWF has documented best conservation practices and the information would be disseminated through DVDs and other appropriate information channels.
Mr. James Ngure, Kenya Wildlife Service officer informed participants that the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013 became operational in Kenya on 10th January 2014.
He said the new law is aimed at improving the protection, conservation, sustainable use and management of the country’s wildlife resources. He said the public can now be compensated when their crops are destroyed by some wild animals. He urged the public to ensure that such cases are promptly reported within 24 hours of occurrence.
Mr. Ngure also said that the public can now receive compensation for injuries and death resulting from wild animals.
Mr. Kinyanjui addressing participants during the meeting
He informed the participants that poaching has now become a national disaster. He said poaching and wildlife habitat destruction has been addressed in the Wildlife Act as stiffer fines and punishments for offenders has been set up. He said being in possession of elephant task will now attract a fine of up to Ksh 20 million or life in imprisonment.
“Making false damage claim will be committing an offense and one will be liable upon conviction to a fine of not less than Ksh 100,000,” said Mr. Ngure.
He said that they will soon form the County Wildlife Conservation and Compensation Committee.
Mr. Eric Kwach, officer in charge of Conservation Enterprise Development Programme (CEDP) informed the members that they have been coordinating and promoting the development of bio-enterprises that are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.
He said the programme through Desert Edge Bio-trading Company has been carrying out various activities that include; developing a range of selected bio-enterprises, building capacity of value chains, developing bio products, developing innovative and creative product design and honey, beeswax and apitherapy products.
Mr.Isaac Kinyanjui, N/Western Unit Director reminded the members of renewing their membership and talked at length on the importance of the membership aspect. He said registration is only Ksh 1,000 per year. He said the forum enables stakeholders to share ideas.
He stressed on how important tourism was and how Laikipia is one of the best tourist destination in East Africa. He urged the members to involve them in ecotourism so that they can bring tourists in the area.
Mr. Josephat Musima, Acting Executive Director-LWF said that their main aim is to bring together people to see how they can assist communities to use natural resources at their disposal.
Mr. Musima addressing participants during the meeting
“Our work is to sensitize you to be empowered on how to conserve the environment. The knowledge that we give you is to help you improve your livelihood,” said Mr. Musima.
He said that they have been promoting the conservation of wildlife and the environment by bringing the people together to conserve wildlife and sustainably use the natural resources on which their lives depend.
He appreciated the work done by WRUA and CFA in water resource management at sub catchment level and conservation of forests respectively.
He thanked them for volunteering to serve the public and said the public expects a lot from them as they are working on their behalf.
LWF supports Water Resource User Associations on 24 rivers, Community Forest Associations in 10 forests, and community conservancies and grazing management committees in 13 pastoralist group ranches.
LWF is now set to hold an open day and 23rd annual general meeting on Saturday July 12th 2014 at Nanyuki Sports Club.
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