By Sylvester Okal

CommunityForests Associations (CFA) is a key element in forest conservation and management as they are formed by communities that live adjacent to forests. These communities use the forests sustainably to generate income and improve their livelihoods hence easing pressure on the forest areas. In this regard, KFS is helping such communities in formation and registration of CFAs in accordance to the Registrar of Societies.


The KFS CFA Coordinator JosylineThambu has been facilitating the re-alignment of CFAs in Kaptagat Forest over the past few weeks. This has resulted to election of new officials  in Sabor, Kessup, Penon and Kipkabus Forest blocks. The elections also came following a directive by the Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Mr. KeriakoTobiko, calling for the re-alignment and streamlining of CFA management all over the country. This will allow for proper mechanisms and structures of involving the forest adjacent communities in decision making.


Speaking during a briefing with the members of the community, the ElgeyoMarakwet Ecosystem Conservator John Momanyi urged the community to choose officials who have the interest of the community and country at heart. He noted that conservation of Kaptagat Forest would not only benefit their community but also contribute to the overall goal of attaining 10% forest cover in Kenya in the next two years. He particularly commended the Sabor Community Forest Association for their tremendous commitment to tree planting and restoration of degraded areas during the previous rainy season.


Over the past one year KFS has received support from conservation partners such as WWF and Netfund who have provided over 70,000 tree seedlings to be planted by the CFA members in Kaptagat Forest. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry hadearlier launched  the 'Intergated Master Plan for Rehabilitation and Restoration of Elgeyo-Cherangany Hills Ecosystem'. This ecosystem traverses ElgeyoMarakwet,UasinGishu, West Pokot and Trans Nzoia Counties which cover two water towers and 22 gazetted forest blocks.


The newly elected CFA officials will form the Management Committee and the Executive committees for each of the associations.


The elections in Kaptagat were witnessed by the Elgeyo Marakwet Ecosystem Conservator, the Forest Station Managers, the area chiefs, a representative of the Social Services Department and observers comprising the local communities around Kaptagat Forest.


The newly elected members of the Penon CFA Executive Committee