Friday, December 30, 2011

What forestry can contribute to mitigate climate change

By Rose A. Akombo- Climate Change Response Programme (KFS)
G√∂ttingen University Germany in collaboration with Stellenbosch University South Africa with generous support from DAAD (German Academic Exchange Programme) organized the 2nd international DAAD FD5 workshop in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa on “Forests in climate change research and policy: The role of forest management and conservation in a complex international setting.”
The workshop took place along the CoP 17 in Durban from 1st – 7th December 2011 drawing professors, students and professionals with experience in forestry and climate change from 21 different countries and four continents.  The workshop sessions and the visit to Forest Day 5 was a great opportunity for all participants, both in scientific-technical terms and also in terms of international networking.
The key issues during the workshop were managing forests under increased variability and how to monitor variability? It is clear that there are many different approaches that countries apply to address climate change issues in the forestry sector: from Green India mission research initiatives and optimizing afforestation towards multi-functionality in China to plantation development, agroforestry and dryland management in Africa.
Forest day is a platform where scientists, policy makers and the general public interested in forests gather and interact to share information, experiences and opinions on the topics relevant to forests and climate change policy making and implementation within the framework of climate change. It is an international event organized parallel to CoP meetings. Forest Day 5 was on 4th December with the theme “from policy to practice - shaping the global agenda for forests and climate change”. Forest Day 5 addressed the importance of a landscape approach within the negotiations as a holistic approach to achieve the success of REDD+ with three main pillars: mitigation, adaptation and poverty alleviation.
Four main lessons stood out during FD5. The first lesson was that there is a clear gap between scientists, policy makers and local stakeholders. Secondly, it was realized that research into implementation is needed at the local level. Thirdly, it become apparent that the acknowledgement of the rights of indigenous people is necessary for social justice but will complicate the implementation process. The last lesson was that binding internationally agreed policies and mechanisms need to be in place so that private farmers as well as the corporate sector can start long-term activities at the ground level in a legally binding framework.
Sincere thanks to all professors from Göttingen University, Stellenbosch University and The Director Kenya Forest Service for their support.

Officer awarded PhD Scholarship

Ms Rose Akombo at the Climate Change expo in Nairobi
Kenya Forest Service Assistant Director, Ms. Rose Akombo has been selected for a PhD Research Training Fellowship on Climate Change Impacts on Watershed Management under the Climate Change Impacts on Ecosystem Services and Food Security in Eastern Africa (CHIESA) Project for three years (2012–2014) after successfully passing an interview.  The project is coordinated by icipe in Nairobi, Kenya, and funded by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.
The officer is currently deployed at the Climate Change Response Programme KFS HQs and has actively participated in various forums on climate change mitigation and adaptation at the local and international levels. In October KFS was awarded a Trophy for the Best Parastal during the Climate Change Innovation Exhibition at KICC under her leadership.  She will continue supporting the office while undertaking her studies at Kenyatta University.
The overall objective of CHIESA project is to fill critical gaps in knowledge related to climate and land change impacts on ecosystem services and develop adaptation strategies towards it by building the capacity of local research and administrative organizations by research, training and dissemination. The geographical coverage of CHIESA is Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya in eastern Africa and especially project target sites in the Jimma area, Pangani river basin and the Taita Hills all situated in the Eastern Afromontane Biodiversity Hotspot (EABH).
The research fellowship and the project activities will build the capacity of the officers and strengthen climate and land use change monitoring and prediction systems and adaptation strategies in the country. KFS will benefit by having officers who are better equipped for policy formulation through receiving early warnings for changes in ecosystem services. In addition the institution will have access to the project results through workshops, publications and the internet.
Article by Rose Akombo

KFS conducts second ISO audit

The ISO auditors (from right) Francis Kaindi, Joseph Ochiel and Leakey Sonkoyo interview the Zonal Manager for Moyale Mr. Erick Chemitei (left) during the second ISO internal audit at his office in Moyale
The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) has conducted the second internal audit aimed at making sure that it complies to the requirements of ISO 2008:9001 which it will adopt and implement to improve service delivery. The audit which was undertaken by the ISO Steering Committee covered all the Zones, Conservancies and the Headquarters in a two week exercise.
The auditors were tasked to check the compliance of the various functions in the documented procedures and processes which KFS had undertaken to implement. This follows countrywide sensitization of staff on the provisions of the ISO standards which are internationally recognized procedures of implementing organizational mandates. After the sensitization, there followed workshops in which officers from various divisions, departments and sections documented their processes.
The first internal audit was conducted earlier in the year where some none conformities were raised and the relevant officers asked to correct them. The second internal audit was thus the check on the progress so far and to prepare KFS staff for the final audit which will be conducted by independent external auditors. The certification of KFS as ISO 2008:9001 compliant will be on the basis of the results of the external audit.
According to the Quality Management Representative (QMR) Mr. James Wainaina, the auditors noted tremendous improvement in terms of compliance to the standards both at the headquarters and in the field. It is hoped that with continual improvement, the Service will be ready for the final audit and the eventual certification.
Story by Leakey Sonkoyo and pictures by Francis Kaindi

In Kenya, campaign for ethics, professionalism tops APRA agenda

Monday, 05 December 2011 00:00 By Kabir Alabi Garba
CONSCIOUS of the misconception that has, over the years, been attached to the practice of Public Relations, participants rose from this year’s All Africa Public Relations Conference in Mombasa, Kenya, with a renewed commitment to foster ethical responsibility and professionalism among  practitioners in the continent.
Organised by the Africa Public Relations Associations (APRA), the conference held at the Mombasa Continental Resort, Shanzu Beach, Mombasa, Kenya, drew participants from more than 15 countries, both in Africa and the world.
Countries represented included Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Botswana, Rwanda, The Gambia, Ghana, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe, the Republic of Ireland and the United States of America.
With Public Relations and Communication Management in a Regulated Environment: The Opportunities , as theme, the conference through paper presentations and engaging interaction as well as shared insights , sought to highlight opportunities brought about by the 21st Century dynamics in the context of business regulation.
The opening ceremony on Thursday, November 24, 2011 had, among other dignitaries, two Ministers of Information in attendance.
They were Minister of Information and Communications, Kenya, Mr. Samuel Phogisio and Mr. Labaran Maku, Minister of Information, Nigeria.
However, Mr. Maku was represented by the President of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Mallam Ahmed Abdullahi Mohammed.
After exhaustive deliberations and engaging discussions on the various presentations by internationally acclaimed facilitators, it was resolved that APRA should create an environment of ethical responsibility and professionalism; open up channels of open, honest and free-flowing communication while leading by example.
Participants were specifically charged to expand knowledge to other areas of the profession. They were tasked to be proactive about suggesting strategies and recommendations to emerging continental developmental issues. Not only that, it was asserted that public relations associations/societies should be committed to behaviors consistent with the codes of ethics in addition to investing in training and retraining of public relations professionals. Here, emphasis was placed on the need to fast-track the establishment of a continental accreditation system.
Other resolutions reached at the conference include the need to creatively employ social media to enhance professionalism and communication management; organisational leaders should ensure that public relations professionals are engaged strategically at management level to enable them perform effectively. The argument was that when they are fully involved, everybody benefits and crisis reduced to the minimum.
It was also argued that professional self-regulation would require a greater deal of self discipline and honesty, public relations practitioners were therefore urged to know the limits and make this an asset. They would also need to cultivate the support of key stakeholders early in any programme campaign .
The consensus was that the practice of Public Relations would become more ethical when it was channeled towards the cause of public interest, promoting concerns of the vulnerable and minority groups in the society e.g. the disabled, the women and children.
 (This article was edited for space purposes only)

Friday, November 18, 2011

Project to assist communities in income generating activities

The Sengwer community during the meeting

Mr. Richard Ndiwa, Mr. Thomas Wasike, Mr. David Omoto, and Mr. Kitti during the budget meeting on the 7th November 2011.

On the 9th November 2011, the Natural Resource Management project (NRM) officers together with government officers presented to the community the enterprise plans developed on ideas presented to NRM teams during wider community consultation meetings held in villages. The community joyfully accepted them and its all systems go to the next step, which is training them on handling and effective implementation of the projects of their choice. This will be done through groups. The meeting, that took place at the Sengwer Cultural Centre, was led by the District Livestock Development Officer Mr. Richard Ndiwa, assisted by Vulnerable and Marginalized Groups Coordination Committee (VMGCC) Chairman Transnzoia, Mr. David Yator.
This was after various meetings held before, including one on 7th November to which government officers supported by the Vulnerable and Marginalized Groups Coordination Committee (VMGCC) and NRM officers meet to package the various project proposals.
The packages included a comprehensive budget of how the enterprise funds will be spent and how much input the various groups be expected to make in playing their part for the project to be a success. Such includes manual labor and locally available materials.
 This was the third step of a three-step process beginning which begun when NRM first meet up with the community to receive enterprise ideas.  The community came up with a couple of project ideas in the livestock, forestry and agricultural sectors. Some of those projects included dairy (cattle and goat) projects, poultry keeping, bee keeping, tea planting and passion fruit growing. Others include growing of tissue culture banana, construction of green houses, tree nurseries, and commercial tree planting.
The aim of the project is to promote a positive shift from dependence on forests for income to reliance on other sustainable and productive livelihood methods, as well as promotion community participation in the protection of forests.
Article and pictures by Angela Wairimu

Monday, October 31, 2011


President Mwai Kibaki presents a certificate for the best stand exhibiting herbal medicine to the Coast Assistant Head of Conservancy Mr. Nicholas Munyao in September. KFS participated and emerged top in the herbal medicine category.

First African Chief Conservator of Forests dies

The Minister of Forestry and Wildlife Hon. Dr. Noah Wekesa (3rd left), the Late Mr. Mburu's widow Mary Berta Sagengen and other relatives at the grave side during the burial
The year 2011 was earmarked as the International Year of Forests by the United Nations. And while has been done to highlight issues affecting the planet’s forests, it is also the year that the world lost its foremost environmental crusader and Nobel Laureate Prof. Wangari Maathai. But just when the country was starting to recover from the loss, the forestry sector was met with news of the death of the first African Chief Conservation of Forests Mr. Onsesmus Wambugu Muguro. 

Mr. Mburu who took over the management of the then Forest Department from Mr. J P W Logie in 1970 headed it for the next 15 years died on October 11th at the age of 75. 

While condoling his family during the funeral service at Kaharo in Liaikipia, the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife Hon. Dr. Noah Wekesa lauded the Late Mburu for his integrity and dedication to his work during his long service to the nation. The KFS Director while addressing the same gathering also paid his homage saying that Mr. Mburu had been a mentor who many young foresters emulated. 

The Late Mr. Mburu leaves behind his wife Mary Berta Sagengen, four children and a number of grandchildren. 

Story by Caroline Kahuria and pictures by Michael Muratha

Friday, October 28, 2011

Performance contracts to raise service standards

Deputy Director - Corporate Services Mrs. Lucy Kiboi signs a performance contracts as Mr. Mathenge Gitonga Head Liaison looks on
The Project Manager for Green Zones Development Support Project (GZDSP) Mr. Jerome Mwanzia signs contracts while his officers look on
The Senior Deputy Director for Support Services Mrs. Monicah Kalenda hands over a signed contract to Ms. Anne Kaari of Corporate Communications

Kenya Forest Service (KFS) headquarter staff members working in departments and projects have signed performance contracts at a ceremony officiated by the Senior Deputy Director for Support Services Mrs. Monicah Kalenda. The event that took place at the KFS Canteen is one among a series of ceremonies that begun with the Board negotiating and signing a performance contract with the government. 

The staff members were urged to live up to their contracts, so as to avoid taking the Service backwards in its mandate, and in so doing, improve its services to the public. She also requested that the various divisions, project offices and departments document all activities they have accomplished within the financial year. This she said, would remove doubts as to how much progress was being made in various projects and activities.

Mrs. Kiboi was on hand to oversee the ceremony and ensure all the present participants were awarded their contract certificates. 

Pictures and photos by Vicky Nyaga

Forest users Get Economical Boost

Forest users in Marakwet have received beehives worth shs. 280, 000,  in a bid to promote eco-friendly income generating activities.
The 40 modern beehives were presented to two groups from Marakwet East and West by the Green Zones development support project manager, Mr. Jerome Mwanzia at a ceremony held at Kaptabuk primary school in Marakwet West.
Mr. Mwanzia said that with the new approach of participatory forest management as envisaged by the Forest Act 2005, communities living near gazette government forests are assisted to come up with income generating activities that would ease pressure on demand for forest products such as firewood and timber.
He said that through the African Development Bank/GoK funded Green zones development support project, community initiatives such as use of biogas, solar energy and planting of high value trees such as gravelia and fruit trees are supported.
Mr. Mwanzia encouraged communities to join Community Forest Associations and put up tree nurseries and raise indigenous seedlings which they can sell to KFS to rehabilitate degraded forest and water catchment areas and exotic fast growing varieties for establishment of on farm woodlots.
Two schools to be assisted in establishing biogas projects for use in cooking and laboratory experiments are to be identified in either district.
The modern beehives can produce three harvests of honey per year if well managed, according to Mr. Hillary Koech, from the Christian Intermediate Technology Centre Kapsabet which manufactures them.