THE Kenya Forest Services will train and provide uniforms to volunteer community scouts in Kakamega forest. KFS director David Mbugua said the community living around the forest has shown commitment in protecting the resource.
Sixty people have volunteered as community scouts to take care of the forest. "Our wage bill is too high currently but we shall provide the scouts with uniforms once we have enough money," said Mbugua.
He said KFS has recruited 2,200 forest guards since last month. Mbugua was speaking during the signing of a Participatory Forest Management Programme agreement with the Muileshi Community Forest Association at Isecheno KWS camp in Shinyalu on Friday.
The agreement enhances the management of the forest by the community. The scouts will however not be armed. Muileshi CFA chairman Sylvester Mambili asked other players in the forest industry to help help communities around forest as they protect the resources.
"We are keen to engage with CFAs on how to share the benefits. We are developing regulation rules that will guide the partnerships," Mambili said.
Mbugua said that the government will partner with donors to develop other livelihoods for communities living near forests to ease pressure on the resources.
He said the high populations of communities around forests are putting more pressure on the resources. Mbugua said KFS has allocated 551.1 hectares of forest land in Kakamega and Malava forests to communities under the Plantation Establishment Livelihoods Improvement Scheme. This, he said, will enable them to grow food as they plant trees to improve the forest cover.