Amaya Governors Pledge Support for EU-funded RangER Program to Foster Peace and Development

From right: Governor Joshua Irungu (Laikipia), Gabriel Lenengwesi (Deputy Governor of Isiolo),  Governor Benjamin Cheboi (Baringo), Dr. James Lowasa (Deputy Governor, Samburu) during the CoPaD summit.

Governors from four counties have pledged to champion and support peace and development initiatives in the Amaya triangle landscape that brings together Isiolo, Samburu, Baringo and Laikipia counties.

The governors – Joshua Irungu (Laikipia), Benjamin Cheboi (Baringo), Dr. James Lowasa and Gabriel Lenengwesi – both Deputy Governors for Samburu and Isiolo, respectively – underscored the significance of education in “promoting peaceful co-existence and fostering sustainable development.”

The leaders identified education as one of the ways of changing the negative cultural norms and mindset towards forging lasting peace, cohesion and development among the communities.

Speaking, Thursday, May 4, during the summit on “Cooperation on Peace and Development (CoPaD)” in Nyahururu organized under the auspices of the Kenya Rangelands Ecosystem Services Productivity (Kenya RangER) Program, Governor Cheboi lauded CoPaD for creating a vibrant forum that could act as an anchor institution for the regional counties.

Governor Cheboi who is also the current Chair of the Amaya Triangle Initiative (ATI) said, CoPAD captures the region’s desire for development which is predicated on peace, emphasizing the need to use our resources sustainably for the progress of the people in the region.”

“As EU, ICRAF, E4Impact, ICS, JKUAT, NRT and other partners, we can chart a way to harness the resources to improve livelihoods, address challenges such as floods, drought, insecurity and disease,” Cheboi noted.

Right: Dr. Clifford Obiero of JKUAT addressing summit participants. 

“As we increase our conservancies, how can we make our people to understand, support and to benefit?” he posed.

Regarding the draft CoPaD Strategic Plan, Cheboi acknowledged it as a positive milestone, noting that the document requires more inclusive and broader stakeholder engagement including members of the county assemblies to understand CoPaD aspirations and what it stands for.

Cheboi assured all the stakeholders of the Governors’ support, reiterating that the Amaya communities need the EU for the region’s progress, and committed to ensure sustainability of the initiatives being championed.

Speaking to Dr. Obiero and Ms. Liambila on the sidelines of the summit, Governor Cheboi acknowledged the good work done by JKUAT to help the region achieve development. He expressed his desire to work with JKUAT in a number of areas such as value addition to benefit communities in his county.

On his part, Governor Irungu lauded Amaya Triangle Initiative for promoting peace and harmony in the four counties that have witnessed insecurity thus scuttling development initiatives among the communities.”

“The main issue driving conflict is limited natural resources across the four counties,” he observed, and further appealed to his counterparts to allocate resources to address some of the challenges.

He offered land in Rumuruti to establish the ATI headquarters to act as a physical address, where stakeholders can meet and have conversations on issues in the Amaya triangle.”

Aloise Naitira of NRT gives progress report on the EU-RangER project.

The presence of the four governors, he said, signaled commitment to take the dialogue forward, and proposed the establishment of a regional public school to enhance sustainable peace in the region.

He also suggested the setting up of a regional hospital in Rumuruti for the communities in Amaya region to ease the burden of health related challenges such as cancer.

Governor Irungu called for “the eradication of invasive species that have affected grazing fields and exploitation of existing opportunities in the tourism industry.”

The summit was organized by Kenya Rangelands Ecosystem Services Productivity program, a consortium of CoPaD, county governments of Baringo, Isiolo, Laikipia and Samburu, technical partners: Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), JKUAT, ICRAF, E4Impact Foundation, and Community Safety Initiative with funding from the European Union in Kenya.

The project aims “to eradicate poverty through enhancing the productivity of ecosystems services provided by rangelands for food-feed–human–and wildlife security in the Amaya landscape counties of Baringo, Isiolo, Laikipia and Samburu.”

Prof. Catherine Muthui of ICRAF makes her remarks at the meeting.

The project also seeks to “enhance the social and economic well-being of populations through livelihoods projects.”

Under the RangER Program, JKUAT is “JKUAT is spearheading knowledge production to guide and inform interventions in the Amaya Triangle Landscape.”

The project coordinator is Dr. Clifford Obiero, who is working with team of experts that includes; Prof. David Mburu, Prof. James Messo, Dr. Mathew Kigomo, Ms. Robai Liambila and Mr. Wycliffe Nyang’au.

Dr. Obiero said, JKUAT is working towards “leveraging on the university’s technical capacity to facilitate mapping, monitoring, evaluation, analysis, interpretation of agriculture and natural resources information for sustainable land use.”

The researcher stated that the goal of the land use base line survey was to establish, among others, “the status of land-use, land tenure, land degradation, land rehabilitation and restoration initiatives, status, gaps and challenges; biodiversity hotspots, status and management.”

Others are “soil fertility, soil quality information, land suitability and capability as well as ecological status, challenges and opportunities.”

JKUAT has carried out several activities which include; baseline study of land use systems and patterns in the Amaya counties, participatory land use planning  and invasive species mapping, soil survey and characterization for pasture/grass production, and ecological assessment and environmental and social impact assessment of pasture/grass production, development of land degradation and invasive species management strategies.

All the project partners made presentations on the first day the two-day conference that was attended by CECs and speakers of the four county assemblies.

A section of participants follow the proceedings during the Governors summit

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