KFWG is probably the most influential lobby group in the cause of forest conservation in Kenya. KFWG strongest function has been providing a watchdog role through its forest monitoring activities and related advocacy actions, as well as influencing policy and preparing communities for participatory forest management.
KFWG was formed in 1995 as a forum of individuals, organizations and institutions (government and non government, local and international) and community organizations concerned with forests, working together to promote sound forest management and conservation practices in Kenya. Its mission is to promote sustainable forest management in Kenya through research, advocacy, networking and partnerships development for improved livelihoods for all Kenyans. Its strongest function is to provide a watchdog role through its forest monitoring activities and related advocacy actions, as well as influencing policy and preparing communities for participatory forest management.
Activities currently being undertaken by the Kenya Forests Working Group (KFWG)
Forest sector reforms
Since the enactment of the Forests Act 2005 in 2007, the government has embarked on forest sector reforms. Under this reforms, KFWG is:
- Supporting formation and operationalisation of Community Forest Associations (CFAs) which will enter into joint management agreements with the Government (KFS) under the new Participatory Forest Management (PFM) arrangements.
- Partnering with KFS in implementing Miti Mingi Maisha Bora Project (MMMBP)-KFWG is on the Steering Committee, key role currently is planning for project implementation. Expound on MMMBP. MMMB is a 5year GoK/Finnish Embassy supported program supporting Kenyas Forest sector reform process. Its overall objective is “A reduction in poverty through ensuring that the forest sector contributes effectively and sustainably to improving the lives of the poor, restoring the environment, and aiding the economic recovery and growth ofKenya, within the context of Vision 2030’.
- Strengthening devolved governance structures, planning to facilitate a meeting on corporate governance for the KFS Board.
- Assisting KFS, by supporting implementation of its communication strategy.
- Supporting implementation of the Forests Act 2005 by facilitating development of, and lobbying for the gazettment of subsidiary legislation.
Forest policy and Forests Bill 2014
Jointly with other organisations, KFWG is lobbying for finalization and endorsement of Forest Policy which is yet to be adopted by the Government as well as advocating for a New Law that conforms to Kenya Constitution.
Participatory Forest Management (PFM)
- Jointly with KFS, and other partners, KFWG is supporting PFM process through development of Forest Management Plans and agreements, and training CFAs on PFM (Negotiation, Leadership, governance, conflict management)
- Organizing forums such as KFWG monthly meetings, workshops and village meetings for information sharing
- Has produced communication materials to sensitize stakeholders on subsidiary legislation and the Forests Bill 2014.
- Have organized a series of fact finding missions to selected forest hot spots jointly with journalists to highlight destruction and engage with the relevant authorities for remedial action.
Awareness activities we are undertaking mainly relate to PFM process and the wider forest sector reform, especially as relates to subsidiary legislation
We have initiated processes aimed at initiating and /or strengthening strategic partnerships with key partners. Among them include the youth in Universities, Green Africa Foundation, ICRAF, YES Youth Can, and the Kenya Climate Change Working Group.
KFWG key achievements to date
The following are some of the recent achievements of KFWG
- Support to Forest Act 2005 Implementation. KFWG, in partnership with KFS has (a) facilitated the process of Community Forest Associations (CFAs). Key activities entailed strengthening CFAs through training and sensitization as well as strengthening CFA networking capacity; (b) tracking the progress of Forest Act implementation (c) prepared policy briefs to critique, inform, and advocate for paced up implementation of forest sector reform process.
- Established an award scheme. KFWG jointly with the Green Africa Foundation has set up the ‘Green Award’ to recognize exemplary performance within the Environment Sector. A committee to manage the scheme is in place. Resource mobilization is underway. Already a trophy and bicycles donation has been received and awarded.
- Monitoring of Forest Status. KFWG has conducted rapid assessment surveys and used findings to lobby decision makers to take remedial measures. Findings have been analyzed and used to document advocacy materials, that include a video documentary and a leaflet called ‘the Forest Microscope’.
- Awareness. Popularised the need and benefits of sound forest management and conservation to the public through radio programmes, newspapers, posters, KFWG newsletter, billboards, seminars, public meetings, etc.
- Mt. Kenya forests. With support from the Kenya Wildlife Service, KFWG managed to have an Aerial Assessment of the destruction of Mt. Kenya forests done in 1999. Following the publicity and implementation of some of the findings of the survey in 1999, the status of the Mt. Kenya forests has improved as revealed by the aerial survey of 2002 and the forest cover changes report (2000 – 2003) that is based on analysis of satellite images by KFWG and the Department for Resource Survey and Remote Sensing (DRSRS) with technical support from UNEP.
- The Aberdares Range forest. In partnership with UNEP, KWS and Rhino conducted a comprehensive aerial survey of the status of the Aberdares Range forests. The report, launched in June 2003, provides useful information and recommendations for future conservation of the Aberdares.
- Participatory forest management plans. KFWG has facilitated a participatory process that led to drawing participatory forest management plans for Bahati, Dundori, Maasai Mau, Mt. Kenya, Rumuruti, Eburru, Kereita, Ngangao and Kitobo forest areas. All have been approved by KFS.
- Input in policy and legislation. KFWG provided input to the drawing up of the new Forests Act 2005, Draft Forest Policy, Forest rules and regulations and the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act 1999.
- Excision of 67,000 ha of forestland (Kenya Gazette Notice of 19th October 2001). KFWG provided information on status of the areas excised that was based on aerial surveys and satellite images to the public and government institutions. KFWG in 2002 launched a campaign against the excisions which led a stop in further forest excisions.
- Forest cover changes of the “five water towers”. KFWG and DRSRS with technical support from UNEP monitored the status of the five water towers (Mt. Kenya, Aberdares, Cherangani, Mau and Mt. Elgon forests) using satellite images. Reports for the period between 2000 and 2003, 2003 and 2005 and 2000 and 2007 were prepared and launched. The analysis that aimed at providing concerned stakeholders with an early warning system enabled the identification of threatened forest areas in time and allowed for prioritisation of interventions in these areas to reverse detrimental forest cover changes.
- Mau Forest Campaign. KFWG undertook an aerial point sampling for the Eastern and South Western Mau Forests aimed at rationalizing settlements in Mau and an aerial survey for the Maasai Mau Forest as a base for sustainable management of the forest. The campaign mostly targeting the Mau Complex Forest was later launched in 2005. The campaign led to the formation of the Mau Task Force and creation of an Interim Coordinating Secretariat (ICS) to coordinate the implementation of the Task Force recommendations.
- Capacity Building in Participatory Forest Management (PFM). KFWG provides technical expertise to emerging forest association through training and exchange visits. A training package for the associations has been formed to guide training. KFWG is also involved in resolution of natural resources management conflicts and monitoring implementation of PFM.
For more information, please visit the KFWG website www.kenyaforests.org.