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RCMRD participated in the Global Open Data for Agriculture & Nutrition initiative (GODAN) international conference that ends today. The conference was held along with the 4th Agritec Africa Exhibition at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre. The GODAN initiative was launched in 2013 and led by the UK and US governments to propagate for open data in agriculture and nutrition to scientifically combat world hunger and food security. The event was hosted by the Kenyan Government and GODAN.


The Director General, RCMRD, Dr. Emmanuel Nkurunziza hosted representatives from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Policy, Adaptation, Research and Economic Development (PREPARED), the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) at RCMRD for a consultative meeting on sustainable water resources in East Africa. The goal of the meeting was to discuss possibilities of a partnership on the Sustainable Water Partnership Project in the Mara River Basin water security pilot intervention. While welcoming the guests to RCMRD, Dr. Nkurunziza highlighted the history of the Centre, and the role that the institution is playing in development decision making. He noted that USAID has been a long-term partner of the Centre.

The meeting was informed that the SWP partnership aims at increasing resilience to water security risk in the Mara Basin, sub-basin and local catchment scale. The activity is designed to leverage on existing USAID and host country (Kenya and Tanzania) supported initiatives in safeguarding access to adequate quantities of acceptable quality water for sustaining livelihoods, human well-being, socioeconomic development, and the protection of ecosystem services that underpin development objectives.

The SWP is keen on conducting a stakeholder-engagement process for consultations and needs assessment, identification of critical risks in the sub-catchments, development of a solid decisions base platform, institutionalization of a collaborative planning process, which should lead to development of robust water security measures. In addition, SWP hopes to leverage on existing opportunities to develop financing and partnership strategies to implement targeted measures to reduce vulnerability to priority risks both now and in the future.

In attendance during the discussion was Richard Volk and Jonathan Cook both of USAID, Washington, D.C., the Regional Climate Change Specialist-USAID-KEA, Ms. Chihenyo Kangara; the Chief of Party for the PREPARED Project, Dr. Scott McCormick; Dr. Annette Huber-Lee Senior Scientist from SEI; the Project Manager for SERVIR E&SA, Dr. Robinson Mugo; Tetra Tech’s John Parker; RCMRD Remote Sensing Officer Mr. Degelo Sendabo; SERVIR E&SA Science and Data Lead Anastasia Wahome and Denis Macharia the Climate and Weather thematic lead at SERVIR E&SA. Others were Dr. Kenneth Mubea the Capacity Development Lead at SERVIR E&SA; Joseph Murage the Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist at RCMRD/SERVIR E&SA; Kenneth Kasera the User Engagement Lead at SERVIR E&SA and Dorah Nesoba the Communications and Outreach Expert at RCMRD/SERVIR E&SA.

Together with its partners Tetra Tech, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), World Resources Institute (WRI), Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) led by Winrock International is developing comprehensive water security intervention strategies using locally owned solutions at the water basin, sub-basin and local catchment scales.

Mr. Parker emphasized that the key issues at the moment were stakeholder engagement, identifying critical risks as perceived by stakeholders in priority sub catchments in Kenya and Tanzania, defining the decision space (too much, too little and too dirty water), collaborative planning such as WEAP, HSPF and SWAT Watershed Models, scenario building, range of different water security options, planning processes to support learning and capacity building. Ms. Kangara reiterated the importance of linkages with key regional bodies such as the East African Community (EAC).

Dr. Nkurunziza stressed that the Centre is dedicated to providing leadership and advisory services for member States to deliver water and sanitation to their populations. He further noted that RCMRD is already engaging regional bodies like the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) and has a working relationship with the EAC. The meeting agreed that there will be follow up conversations to consolidate the discussions in the PREPARED and SERVIR E&SA work plans. See photos

Content for this article provided by Dorah Nesoba, Communications and Outreach Expert at RCMRD/SERVIR-E&SA

Photos by Gerald Omondi, RCMRD Webmaster


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The Kenya Forest Service (KFS) recognized 53 tree growers and conservationists for their passion and efforts to encourage tree planting across the country during the inaugural ceremony. Timothy Lidjodi Luvongo from Kakamega County was declared the overall winner of the Awards Scheme besides being the best individual in tree planting and conservation. The beneficiaries were drawn from all the 47 counties to appreciate their efforts towards tree planting and conservation initiatives in different geographical regions.

The awardees, described as champions of conservation, received recognition certificates and plaques. They included individuals, schools, pastoralists, farmers, civil organizations, community groups, state agencies, corporates, tea factories and some counties. The First Lady was recognized for her continued support in tree growing in schools and other conservation initiatives she is involved in.

The awards targeted individuals, schools, community groups, corporate bodies, and Counties and were categorized as follows: Best individual in tree growing and forest conservation; Best School in tree growing; Best community based groups in tree growing and forest conservation; Best large -scale commercial tree farmers; Best forest industry players in forest development, conservation and management; Best Corporate/ State agency in forest conservation and management; Unsung Heroes for an outstanding individual inspiring positive change in forest conservation and management; Best County in tree planting and forest conservation and Overall award that was awarded to the best overall winner.

The presentation took place at KFS Headquarters in Karura and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, presided over ceremony. It was attended by Prof. Judi Wakhungu Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Principal Secretary Dr. Margaret Mwakima of State Department of Natural Resources, Chairman Mr. Peter Kinyua of the Kenya Forest Service Board and Mr. Emilio Mugo the Chief Conservator of Forests, representatives of various development partners and the chair-person of the Parliamentary Environmental Committee, Amina Abdalla. RCMRD was represented by Dorah Nesoba (Communication and Outreach Expert) and Kenneth Kasera (User Engagement Lead).

The Tree Growing and Forest Conservation Award Scheme has been inaugurated when the country is experiencing a declining forest cover that currently stands at 7.4 per cent against the globally accepted 10 per cent national cover. The scheme also coincided with the 10th anniversary of the KFS. Cabinet Secretary Prof. Wakhungu said the greatest pressure on our forests was being exerted by the 70 per cent of Kenyans who depend on fuel wood. She said the forest cover had increased from 6.3 percent in 2010 to 7.4 percent after the concerted efforts by her Ministry and other stakeholders. The target, she said is reaching 10 per cent before the year 2030.

Speaking at the ceremony at ceremony held at KFS headquarters in Karura Forest, Nairobi Mrs. Kenyatta said the survival of human beings in highly dependent on the sustainability efforts of the entire ecosystem. She however said human actions, short term and sometimes selfish motivations had negatively impacted, threatened or endangered our fragile forest cover. “This ceremony will remind us that we are all dependent on the environment and that the role our ancestors have played in the past, the role we play today, and the role our children will play in the future is extremely vital to our human survival,” she added.

Mrs. Kenyatta congratulated the awardees saying they had discovered the intricate balance of appreciating the true potential of the forests and reconciling their economic efforts with sustainability values. She cited the huge benefits and the various roles that forests play all over the world including being sources for the critical carbons, fuel and contributing towards poverty reduction in the rural areas. The forests also play a key role to balance nature. “Forests are what has been described as the ‘lungs of the earth’ – purifying the air we breathe, regulating our climate and protecting the soils from destructive erosion”, she said.

Content for this article provided by Dorah Nesoba, Communications and Outreach Expert (RCMRD/SERVIR-Eastern & Southern Africa).

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SERVIR, a joint initiative of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), works in partnership with leading regional organizations worldwide to help developing countries use information provided by Earth observing satellites and geospatial technologies for

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