Assessment of Community Forest Associations in Socio-economic empowerment of communities in Kinangop, Nyandarua County
Thirikwa, Roselyne Wanjiru
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Participatory Forest Management is a framework that has widely been adopted in management of forests because it includes community and other stakeholders in forest management. The Forest Act (2005) provided way in which PFM would be implemented in Kenya to provide a solution to the problems facing the forestry sector. It provided an opportunity for the community to participate in the management of the forest through co-management of the forest with KFS using Community Forest Associations who together with other stakeholders come up with a Participatory Forest Management Plans for forests that inter alia establishes the CFA’s roles, responsibilities and their user rights in the forest reserve. In the initial stages of implementation of Participatory Forest Management in Kenya it was noted that CFA’s face various challenges in their attempts to improve the socio economic status of the forest-adjacent communities which if not addressed, may defeat the purpose of PFM and revert the state of forests to a situation where there is open access to forests and deforestation. This project was aimed at assessing how PFM has been implemented in Kinangop, Nyandarua County, the steps they have taken to improve the socio-economic status of the community and the challenges they are facing in improving livelihoods. The findings from questionnaires, interviews, observation and literature review show that a CFA was established with a specific purpose and objectives. However most of the objectives are yet to be met due to various challenges such as lack of funds. The report is finally concluded with several recommendations that can be adopted by the CFA and other stakeholders to address the challenges they face in socio-economic empowerment of communities.