The Danish Government with the European Union has set a side Sh200 million for the conservation of Mau forest. The manager of the Fund Joseph Ruhiu said the objective of the programme is to reduce poverty through improved livelihoods and the conservation of natural resources.
He said the programme will conserve forests and water catchments areas in sustainable basis. Ruhiu spoke in Nakuru when he handed over the money to the officials of the committees taking charge of the projects. He said in the next five years, the conservation efforts is likely to have transformed the Mau forest with communities well informed about the danger of the degradation and destruction of the forests.
The funds channeled through the Community Development Trust Fund targets eight projects where the communities are involved in income generating activities while at the same time rehabilitating the forests. "They include the Mau East Conservancy Forum, the Mau Community based Conservation and Livelihood project, the Mau-Njoro Integrated Rehabilitation and Agro forestry project and the conservation and management of Makalia river," said Ruhiu.
He added that the Kenya Agricultural Productivity and Agri-business programme will support the communities through technical advice to enhance agriculture productivity. He added that Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) and the Water Resource Users Association will support activities of water management and protection.
He said they apart from engaging in reforestation activities, they would also be involved in strategies to counter drought. "Lake Nakuru whose catchment is from the local rivers will also benefit as one of the rivers, Rive Makalia would be conserved. Destruction of the forests has resulted in lower water levels in Lake Baringo, Lake Nakuru, Lake Natron, Lake Turkana, Lake Bogoria and Lake Elementaita," said Rihiu.
The Mau East Conservancy, Ruhiu said would benefit some 177,000 people with some 120,000 women benefiting and 20,000 members of the Ogiek community. The forests targeted are Ol-pusimoru (16, 832 hectares) Mariashoni (7,143) Bararget (3,931) and Molo (1328), other rivers that would be rehabilitated are rivers Molo, Ewaso Nyiro and Rongai