For the last one year and a half, Laikipia County has been on the limelight due to the increasing conflict between pastoralist communities for water and pastures (border of Isiolo, Samburu, and Baringo), private investors and ethnic clashes. These conflicts escalated further into a sophisticated political conflict which caused antagonism between the communities, ranchers, and politicians.
The County Government in so many instances have intervened to calm the situation, however, most of these efforts did not address the root causes of these problems. With the increasing conflicts among the communities and private sector, the vulnerable groups were the most affected e.g. through displacements, deaths, and loss of livelihoods.
Cordaid in collaboration with IMPACT, therefore, saw the need to address the underlying causes of conflicts in Laikipia County for resilience strengthening. The two organization together with the County Government of Laikipia organized a two-day forum and brought together all the stakeholders from the community organizations, local NGOs, farmer groups, water user groups, national Government, County Government, NGO board and private investors. All the invited parties are in one way or the other affected by the ongoing insecurity and thus their participation was imperative.
During the forum, selected organizations were given the opportunity to share their good practices on public-private partnerships with the stakeholders. From the discussions, the stakeholders had an opportunity to highlight the real problems on why the conflict was imminent in the County.
Issues raised from the forums were:
- Public-private partnership agreements have thus far been shrouded in secrecy. Communities are not well informed on the content of these agreements.
- Lack of existing institutional office to provide governance back- up, regulation and independent arbitration between private sector and communities wherever required at the County level.
- Lack of database of all stakeholders in the County and what they do towards resilience building and enhance partnerships.
- Lack of a structured representation of different interest groups at County level which has led to mistrust with private sector and competition among the civil society.
The way forward and recommendations agreed upon:
- Translation, Interpretation and clarification PPP agreements for the benefit of communities, stakeholders, and relevant government offices
- Development of county government PPP office (particularly in Laikipia County).
- Mapping/Database of Groups and their activities.
- Formation of a civil society platform to convene the Natural Resource PPPs like WRUAs, CFAs and Community Conservancies.
On the day two of the forum, stakeholders had a chance to visit one of the ranchers where the private investor and community have partnered to preserve their ecosystem and developed a grazing management system. The community was allowed to form a Sacco and through which they organized themselves to bring their livestock to graze in the private ranch for a period of fewer than 6 months. Once the market is found the livestock are sold and the money from sales is sent to the owner. The ranch gets 20% from the sales which is used to pay the herders, ranch operations and also act as an insurance in case the animals are eaten by wild animals. In this way, the community will have an opportunity to pay for children school fees, provide better health care and housing for their families. The scheme also cushion the communities against drought since the ranches usually have adequate grass throughout the year.
The stakeholders also had an opportunity to meet the manager of the private ranch and he insisted that there was a need for communities to consider the private sector as a part of the community rather than an outsider. He gave his assurance that he is ready to work with PFR and County Government in enhancing such partnerships since the benefits of working together outweighs individual efforts.
Cordaid and IMPACT are currently having bilateral meetings with private ranchers, communities and County Government to map out the
capacity needs for effective private-public partnerships.