FOREST FOR PEOPLE | WWF Kenya

FOREST FOR PEOPLE

Posted on
22 March 2018
Nestling few kilometres from the Maasai Mara National Reserve is Leshuta, once a critical habitat for the African elephants, black rhinos, and others magnificent wildlife species. Today however, buildings clutter this once healthy rangeland. 
 
Deforestation, springs encroachment and unregulated water use has led to negative effects on water resources. Tony Tuyah (pictured), Chairman of the Leshuta WRUA affirms that three community owned tourist camps – Entarngotea, Enekishoni and Enaudo Olopilukunya – have since shut down after the tourists’ numbers plunged due to reduced wildlife population in the area.
 
“Our lack of knowledge on the importance of forest and other critical natural assets i.e. water springs has negatively impacted on our livelihoods.”
 
Today, access to quality education has been a problem too, during extremely dry months, school children miss out on classes, as they have no choice but to walk long distances to fetch for water and pasture for livestock.
 
A healthy ecosystem is critical in supporting livelihoods, wildlife, and businesses. WWF-Kenya has been working with communities in Leshuta on forming a local water management initiative – the Water Resource Users Association (WRUA) to assist in proper water management and reduce wildlife conflict.
 
The WRUAs provide structures for training community members in better water management. Livelihoods in Leshuta have drastically improved since the WRUAs coordinated the construction of an 8km water pipeline from a rehabilitated spring, reducing time-consuming and dangerous trips to collect water and making the resource more readily available.
 
Through the WRUA’s effort, the community is  now taking part in protection and rehabilitation of the water springs, including:
  • Planting trees around springs to help prevent erosion
  • Volunteering in constructing separate water troughs for livestock to keep them from contaminating shared water sources
  • Putting up a fence to protect springs from animal encroachment.
  • Cattle are no longer sprayed to control pests next to water sources, as they were before the introduction of the WRUA. These sprays often contain pollutants.

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