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Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Community Based Organisation strives to preserve Ewaso Narok sub catchment

By Bob Aston
The Ewaso Narok sub catchment area and forest reserve of Laikipia West has experienced massive forest destruction from illegal logging, charcoal burning, fuel wood vendors and wildlife poaching within the South Marmanet and Rumuruti forests reserve.
These activities have reduced the biodiversity of the Ol Bolosat (Ma Nguu Wetlands), Thompson Falls and Ewaso Narok Sub catchment. They have also significantly reduced the ecological functions performed by these ecosystems, which has implications in the entire Ewaso Nyiro basin.

Ewaso Narok sub catchment covers a total area of 540 square kilometres from Lake Ol-Bolosat to its confluence with the Ewaso Nyiro River in the Laikipia Plateau. The catchment traverses through Laikipia and Nyandarua counties.
Part of a forest where the CBO has planted indigenous trees

In response, some community members came together in February 2010 to form Upper Ewaso Narok Water Resource Users Association (WRUA). In collaboration with the Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA), the Community Based Organization (CBO) was mandated to manage and to conserve water resources within the Ewaso Narok sub-catchment area.
Upper Ewaso Narok WRUA is now focusing on promoting sustainable management of the water resources within Ewaso Narok sub catchment. This is being done in collaboration with other stakeholders for enhanced livelihoods for the communities living within the sub catchment.
Upper Ewaso Narok WRUA realized that the reduced ecosystem goods resulting from catchment destruction had started causing communities to shift their focus from agricultural and livestock production to unsustainable livelihoods. This prompted the CBO to start promoting Sustainable Land Management (SLM) for increased crop production as well as rehabilitation of Ewaso Narok sub catchment through reforestation.
The CBO has 76 active members: 52 male and 24 females. It has been actively advocating for environmental conservation and promotion of sustainable agricultural and nature based livelihoods. Taking cognizance of the fact that many tributaries of Ewaso Nyiro River are drying up while farmers are also cultivating next to the river banks, Upper Ewaso Narok WRUA has been carrying out community trainings on environmental matters and also involving/mobilizing communities in planning and tree planting activities.
To date, Upper Ewaso Narok WRUA has planted nearly 40,000 indigenous trees. The CBO plans to plant an extra 500 indigenous trees as well as 10,000 mango, avocado and tea tree seedlings within the riparian and forest reserve. It has also supported communities to establish woodlots at the household level to increase vegetation cover at the farm level. Members work in turns and in the group to manage a 5,000 seedlings tree nursery located in Nyahururu. They are now planning to start another tree nursery at Gatundia area of Rumuruti.
In order to ease access when travelling around the catchment area, the United Nations Development Project UNDP GEF SGP supported the group to buy a motorbike in July, 2014. The group also received tree nursery equipment.

Source: Laikipia Mali Asili Newsletter
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