Thursday, January 26, 2012

Communities to benefit from forest resources

The Senior Deputy Director of Forests Mr. Emilio Mugo addressing members of Ragati and Naromoru CFAs at Naromoru Forest Station
The Chairman of Mt. Kenya West Community Forest Association Mr. Michael Kibira displays a copy of the Forest Management Plans as the other members celebrate at Nanyuki Forest Station
Community Forest Associations (CFA) have been urged to organize themselves so that they can benefit from the immense forest resources available. This is because of provisions in the Forests Act which envisage a situation where local communities draw tangible benefits from the adjacent forests.
This was said during the launch of Forest Management Plans (FMP) in Central Highlands Conservancy where the CFAs of Nanyuki, Naromoru and Ragati forest stations received their management plans on 19th and 20th January 2012 in ceremonies presided over by the Senior Deputy Director of Forests (SDDF) in charge of operations Mr. Emilio Mugo.
Speaking at Nanyuki Forest Station where Mt. Kenya West CFA received its FMP, Mr. Mugo emphasized that the new forestry regulations stipulated that all forests in the country including private and local authority forests must be managed on the basis of management plans drawn by the various stakeholders in consultation. He said that this was the only way of ensuring sustainable utilization of forest resources.
While addressing a similar gathering at Naromoru Forest Station, the SDDF congratulated members of Naromoru and Ragati CFAs for their input in the formulation of their respective management plans. He said the plans will legally empower them to utilize the forest and thus uplift them economically. He also urged members of the public in the area to be careful with fires saying that the fire season had started owing to the prevailing dry conditions.
Speaking at the same event, the Head of Conservancy Mr. John Wachihi also congratulated the CFA members and also reiterated the need to be vigilant during the fire season. He declared the onset of the fire season in all the drier parts of the conservancy.
Mr. Joshua Irungu of ACT Kenya, which sponsored the three CFAs in the development of the plans, urged them to engage various community supporting organizations in the area to access funding which will enable them initiate income generating projects in their areas. He said that ACT Kenya will continue sponsoring them in the process of developing the Forest Management Agreements (FMA). These he said will enable the communities implement the management plans.
Article and pictures by Leakey Sonkoyo

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Children resolve to conserve forests

Mr. Lawrence Mwadime the Director of Administration in the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife and Ms Irene Otieno who was the Chief Child Guest at the event prepare to sign a Memorundum of Understanding on the children's resolve to plant trees
The views of children as key stakeholders’ in Forest management have more often than not been left out in the management of natural resources including forests. The world, as declared at the United Nations Forum on Forests, recognizes that the most vulnerable to negative impacts in forests are children, youth and women. It is against this backdrop that the Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife (MFW), Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and Ministry of Gender Children and Social Services came together to organize this activity, the “Children Voices Conference in National Forestry Programming”, that gave a voice to children.  The event that involved over 100 children from different counties in Kenya was held at Karura Forest Environmental Education Trust (KFEET) Grounds 7th January 2012.

KFS in collaboration with the MFW was proud to be at the forefront of engaging with children in policy making as stipulated in the new constitutional dispensation. Hence bringing on board the children assembly which is a unique concept that recognizes the future of forestry conservation and management lies in the future.  Mr. Lawrence Mwadime, the Director of Administration, MFW reiterated that by taking into perspective the views of children as key stakeholders will be important in enhancing efforts to increase tree and forest cover in order to attain the 10% tree cover target set out in the constitution and Vision 2030.

In a Children’s Memorandum presented by Irene Otieno, the Chief Child Guest, to Mr. Lawrence Mwadime, the children stated that “children of Kenya have decided to talk about forests now, tomorrow and many years to come. This we can do by voicing our views, opinions and recommendations towards conserving our forests. We state our resolution Vision 2030 – 2050, meant to plant trees and conserve our environment,” she said.

Story and picture by Maureen Amenya

KFS conducts second ISO audit

The ISO auditors Mr. Owino Ochiel (l) and Joseph Njigoya (r) interview the Marsabit Zonal Forest Manager Mr. Francis Kaindi in his office during the second internal ISO Audit
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 and picture by Leakey Sonkoyo

KFS celebrates 2011 in style


The children of staff members compete in a dancing competition at the end of year party at the KFS headquarters in Karura



Ms. Faith Kosgey from Human Resource and Administration who is also a performing artist belts out a tune during the staff party


Festivity is synonymous with the month of December, and KFS was not going to lug behind as it put its best foot forward hosting for the staff a grandeur party on Friday 16th December 2011 at the KFS Karura headquarters. As anticipated the event lived up to the standards and qualified as the event of the year, as everyone dressed to impress.
Interesting and with a lot of fun activities, the programme was quite comprehensive. It all begun with the serving of a mouth watering luncheon. After which it was time for entertainment from the ever ready KFS choir belting out some heartwarming Christmas carols.
The Guest of Honour, Chairman of the KFS Board, Prof. Richard Musangi noted on the several conferences that have taken place throughout the year to focus on the role of forests in tackling challenges brought about by climate change. He reiterated the Services commitment to see that the country achieves the 10% forest cover as stipulated in the constitution and Vision 2030.
In his remarks KFS Director Mr.David Mbugua was ecstatic that the KFS target of planting 100 million tree seedlings had been achieved, and that the rehabilitation of forest land recovered in the Mau complex was ongoing. He also urged staff to focus on increased stakeholder awareness and participation in forestry conservation and management. He finally took time to welcome Ms. Ann Kaari, the new Head of Corporate Communications to the management.
Deputy Director, Human Resource and Administration Mr. Julius Olayo, requested everyone to observe moment of silence for the departed colleagues, before proceeding to laud the staff for their commitment and hard work in striving to deliver of the organization.
The special speaker at the event, Prof. Njoroge Karanja of the Green Belt Moveemtn encouraged the staff on personal responsibility and asked them to always give their best at work, in order to realize their purpose in life. 
After the speeches, it was time for more entertainment that was provided by the Palisades Band. This was followed by talent show where different people showcased their talents which included knowledge of different languages, dancing and singing which turned out to be a shared talent by a quite number of KFS staff. The winners were awarded prizes.
The young and young at heart had their moment when the sun went down as they danced the night away to bid farewell to a good year.
Article by Caroline Kahuria, pictures by Angela Wairimu

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