The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has provided Sh. 60 million grant to 20 community groups in Lake Bogoria to support their projects and conservation of the environment surrounding the world famous for geysers and hot springs.
The money will be used to support bee keeping, mango farming and three community conservancies in the area to strengthen their institutional capacities for enhanced governance and management.
Among the activities to be implemented within the three conservancies; Irong, Kiborgoch and Chuine community wildlife conservancy, include development of land use plans, demarcation of the conservancy boundaries, mapping of wildlife habitats and corridors with emphasis on endangered species like the greater kudu and protection of the wetlands.
The Director of Kenya Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN), Yustus Kiarie said that Lake Bogoria has been chosen because of its global recognition by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as an important bird areas and a wetland of international significance under the Ramsar Convention and World Heritage site.
The project, Kiarie said, is intended to support the community through the livelihoods that conserve the environment as it strives to enhance the peoples’ wellbeing.
The UNDP representative who read the speech of their director expressed her concern over the increased obstruction of water flowing into Lake Bogoria through human activities that posed a major threat to the ecosystem of the World’s heritage site.
The KOAN director pointed out that the existence of the famous tourist destination lake has been diminishing fast due to massive environmental degradation in the area with major rivers drying up endangering the habitat living in the zone.
She also observed that the invasive noxious weed popularly known as Prosopis Juliflora (Mathenge) is also a great hindrance to the National Game Reserve because it blocks pathways, causes siltation of the lake and chocks grazing fields of wildlife thereby concerted efforts need to be done to control its spread.
The community groups which will be working under the guidance of Small Grants Programme (SGP) and Global Environment Facility (GEF), arms of the of the UNDP, were expected to engage in environment friendly activities that would result in conservation of the region around lake Bogoria landscape.
The Baringo Governor, Stanley Kiptis who officiated the launch of the SGP and GEF held at Kiborgoch Community Wildlife and Wetland Conservancy grounds noted that human activities such as poaching, deforestation and charcoal burning were among the major threats to the ecosystem of the National game reserve.
Kiptis urged the community to stop engaging in activities that were unfriendly to the environment warning that it would jeopardize the lives of the people and that of wildlife living around the national reserve.
The County Executive Committee (CEC) in charge of Tourism, Dr. Maureen Rotich who accompanied the governor said the initiative would boost revenue collection in the lake region.
The North Rift Economic Block (NOREB) chair, Joseph Makilap said the project would be a game changer in the region which has been having security issues for several decades.
Makilap praised the initiative of using conservancies saying it would enable the community to engage in positive economic undertakings contrary to their retrogressive cultural practices like cattle rusting and banditry.
He urged the community groups that have benefited from the Sh.60 million grant for conservation to use the funds prudently to achieve the intended purpose.
Lake Bogoria, classified as World Heritage site alongside Lake Elementaita, is a famous tourist destination in the county known for its large population of Lesser Flamingoes, Greater Kudu, hot springs and geysers and scenic landscapes.
By Sheila Cheruiyot/Joshua Kibet