Friday, July 29, 2011

KFS receives vehicles

The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) was again delighted to receive 15 vehicles funded by Miti Mingi  Maisha Bora programme (MMMB), a joint initiative by the Kenya and Finnish Governments. The flagging off took place on 26th July at the headquarters amid singing and dancing by the KFS choir. The five year MMMB programme brings together the main players in the forestry sector management in Kenya including the KFS, Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, Kenya Forestry College and Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI).
It also focuses on forest sector policy development and coordination processes, implementation of KFS institution change process, management utilization of gazzeted forest reserves and improved livelihood in arid and semi arid lands through sustainable production and trade in bio-energy and other forest products.
Speaking at the flagging off ceremony the Finnish deputy ambassador to Kenya Ms Emilia Vernveen the MMMB programme will continue to support forest sector reforms in the kenya noting that the programme was now focusing on improving the value chain of forest products.
The KFS Director Mr. David Mbugua thanked the Finnish Government for their continued support and partnership with KFS saying that the vehicles which are worth Ksh 2.5 million each will go a long way in improving service delivery to the people. 
The new vehicles drive out of Karura to their new stations in the field offices

The Deputy Ambassador of Finland to Kenya H. E Emilia Vernveen enjoys a feel of the new vehicles before she flagged them off

The Deputy Ambassador of Finland to Kenya H.E Emilia Vernveen and the KFS Director Mr. David Mbugua jointly flag off the new vehicles
Story by Caroline Kahuria and pictures by Mike Muratha

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Misitu golf challenge in Kiambu golf club

The 7th round of Misitu golf challenge took place on 9th July 2011 in Kiambu Golf Club where 105 players taking part despite the chilly July weather.  The winner of the day was Ms Catherine Mungai, who won with 40 points.
The speaking at the prize giving event later on in the evening, club’s captain Mr. Patrick Wanjohi thanked the KFS for their support and sponsorship in the tournament. Mr. Charles Ngunjiri  of KFS speaking on of the Director Mr. David Mbugua, thanked the players for taking part in the tournament which is meant to promote tree planting by individual farmers on their land. He said that this will ensure that the country achieves the 10% forest cover by 2030 as envisaged in the countries development blueprint.

Participants of the Kiambu Golf Club's leg of Misitu Golf Challenge register before the tournament kicked off

A golfer putts during the tournament

One of the winners receives his prize from Mr. Charles Ngunjiri of KFS at the end of the tournament
Story by Caroline Kahuria and pictures by Mike Muratha

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Kenya Forest Service to partner with the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in the conservation of Kibwezi Forest and Umani Springs


The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has identified important habitats to help protect and preserve, and has recently embarked on a partnership with the Kenya Forest Service having secured a concession of the Kibwezi Ground Water Forest.  The purpose of this Project is to conserve a representative example of Kenyan dry forest and all that lives within it so that it can continue to provide benefits, through resource utilization and tourism, to the surrounding communities and the Kenyan Forest Service in both the short and long term. 
This initiative includes conservation and protection programs, dealing with resource management, monitoring and research and protection activities and preventing the illegal use of forest resources, ensuring measured control together with forest rehabilitation.  Community programs are an important component for forest management and we aim to improve the quality of life in the surrounding communities through, electric fencing to alleviate human wildlife conflict,  sustainable use of the forest resources, education and the encouragement of activities that reduce the demand for access to the forest. 
This precious patch gazetted in 1936 is 58.6Km2 in extent and contains the beautiful Umani Springs, similar to Tsavo West's Mzima Springs.   Set conveniently close to the main Nairobi - Mombasa road this Forest reserve is part of a network of protected areas in this region of Kenya, know as the Tsavo Conservation Area,  and abuts the Chyulu Hills National Park. This represents the largest contiguous protected area in Kenya and is also one of its most important conservation areas.  The Umani Springs are an increasingly important water source for the human population in the surrounding areas as well as the wildlife, as it is also the only surface water in the dry seasons in this region.  The forest and springs is home to varied large mammals, birds, reptiles, butterflies, invertebrates, and fish. 
The Trust has recently completed a very attractive self help lodge where people can stay and experience this unique ecosystem.  The funds generated through tourism helps offset the costs associated with the Kibwezi Forest conservation and protection programs.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Miss world visits Karura Forest

Miss World Alexandria Mills walks into Karura Forest

Miss World greets children from Huruma Slums

Miss Venezuela Adriana Vasini greets the children who came to welcome the beauty queens

Forestry and Wildlife Minister Hon. Dr. Noah Wekesa shakes hands with Miss World Kenya, Natasha Metto

Miss World plants a tree at Karura

The beauties pose for a picture with rangers and scouts who guard Karura Forest

Karura Forest was once again the host of an international celebrity when the reigning universal beauty queen, Miss World 2011 Alexandria Mills from the USA visited the forest as one of the stops in her four day tour of the country.
Miss World was in Karura to meet with the children of the Huruma Slums who live adjacent to the forest. She was invited by the Friends of Karura Community Forest Association (CFA) to see the mutually initiated developments between the CFA, KFS and other stakeholders which include an electric fence surrounding the over 1 000 ha forest.
Ms Mills interacted with the children of Huruma who were visibly overjoyed to meet one of the most beautiful women in the world. Accompanied by other beauties including our very own Miss World Kenya Natasha Metto, the 2010 winner of the Miss World Kenya Fiona Konchellah and Miss Forest Queen Martha Mukami. Ms Mills talked to the children before leading a brief tree planting ceremony by the beauties.
Miss World was accompanied by Miss World Venezuela who is also the Miss World runners up Adriana Vasini and Miss World Africa who is also Miss Word Botswana Emma Wareus.
Speaking at the brief ceremony, the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife Hon. Dr. Noah Wekesa thanked the beauty queen for visiting kenya and particularly Karura Forest. Also present were the KFS Director Mr. David Mbugua and the Head of Conservancy for Nairobi Mrs. Charity Munyasia.

Story and pictures by Leakey Sonkoyo

Friday, July 8, 2011

Meru farmers tour Coast Conservancy

The farmers are taught butterfly farming by members of Mwangaza Mudzo Womens Group in Kilifi

The farmers being addressed by members of the Dabaso Youth Group on the intricacies of mangrove conservation at Gede in Malindi

A representative of the visiting farmers addressing members of DIFAFA forest conservation committee in Malindi

Members of two Forest Farmer Field Schools (FFS) from Meru North Forest Zone – the Ameru Cultural Group Farmer Field School and the Mazao Farmer Field School recently toured Coast Conservancy to interact and share experiences with fellow farmers on the various activities that the farmers are engaged in so that they can improve their livelihoods and promote forest conservation.
Led by their Zonal Forest Manager Mr. Stephen Kahunyo the 33 farmers who were sponsored by the Green Zones Development Support Project (GZDSP) visited farmer groups in Kwale, Kilifi and Malindi forest zones and learned how the coastal farmers are sustainably utilizing the various forest resources available to them to alleviate poverty in their midst.
Some of the groups in Kwale and Malindi have been allowed by Kenya Forest Service (KFS) to construct boardwalks in the mangrove forest as a way of promoting ecotourism and generating income by charging tourists a fee for visiting the various types of mangrove forests. Also involved in forestry Income Generating Activities (IGA) are Community Forest Associations (CFA) which incorporate various user groups all engaging in different IGAs.
In Kwale and Malindi, the visiting farmers learned of how youth groups have formed tour guide associations to guide visitors in excursions into the scenic Shimba Hills forest reserve and the unique Arabuko Sokoke forest respectively.  
The Meru North farmers who are also involved in various IGA activities including soap making exchanged ideas with members of Lima Self Help Group in Kwale and DIFAFA farmers group of Malindi who are also involved in herbal soap and cosmetic products making using the aloe vera plant.
The visiting farmers also got to learn of how their coastal counterparts are involved in forest conservation and rehabilitation especially of the delicate mangrove forest ecosystems. The farmers have established nurseries and are replanting degraded areas all in a bid make their source of income sustainable. They encouraged their elated visitors to keep up the good work of conserving forests as it was the only way of ensuring a sustained income for them and their families.
Speaking to the farmers after the five day tour, Mr. Nicodemus Mwatika from GZDSP who was also the team leader for the tour urged them to implement the lessons they had learnt  so that they can add value to their IGAs.
Story and pictures by Leakey Sonkoyo

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Tree planting launched in Saboti

The Minister of Forestry and Wildlife Hon. Dr. Noah Wekesa plants a tree at the venue

The KFS Board Chairman Prof. Richard Musangi addresses members of the public during the tree planting ceremony

The people of Transzoia County joined Kenya Forest Service (KFS) in planting trees at Immaculate Heart Secondary School in Saboti with the running theme of forests for the people. The international year of forests is being observed globally this year and this was one of the many tree planting activities planned by KFS to commemorate the year. Over 18 000 seedlings were given to farmers to plant at their farms.
The occasion was graced by many and guests among them Minister for Forestry and Wildlife Hon. Dr. Noah Wekesa, and Ms Nadin Faida from Laikipia Wildlife Conservancy who was the chief guest, KFS Board Chairman Prof. Richard Musangi, the Senior Deputy Director of Forests Mr. Emilio Mugo, the Regional Commisioner for North Rift Mr. Wanyama Musyambo Among others.
Ms. Faida congratulated the KFS for the good job on sensitization of forest conservation to the public. She said that Kenya’s forest were a major resource that affected virtually all socio-economic sectors in the country. “says yes to life by planting trees,” she said urging the youth to be environmental champions as they are the future of the country.
On his part, Minister affirmed that the ministry was going on with plans to join other partners to start a school tree planting programme across the country. He called for more participation by the private sector in order to improve forest governance. He urged all students in the school to plant five trees every year at the school and at home saying that would be their legacy.
KFS Board Chairman acknowledged that forest were a major resource for sustaining livelihoods. He urged all people to reserve at least 10% of their individual lands for forestry purposes saying this will add up to the required national forest cover.  
Speaking at the same event, the Assistant Minister for Forestry and Wildlife Hon. Koli Nanok maintained that illegal allocations of forest land in the past had been a major impediment enhancement of forestry in the country.
On his part, the Senior Deputy Director of Forests (SDDF) Mr. Emilio Mugo said that the Service had over 100 million seedlings across the country for planting during the year. He added that KFS was pulling all resources to deal with the back log of unplanted areas saying that this should be complete in two to three years.
The tree planting exercise was presided by a major road show which took two days starting from Nakuru to the Saboti trading centre. This was meant to sensitise the public on the importance of planting trees and conserving the existing forests.
Story by Mike Muratha and pictures by Leakey Sonkoyo