Over 30 Friends of the Arabuko-Sokoke attended the special general meeting for the Friends of Arabuko-Sokoke Forest on Saturday 24 June at the KWS education hall at the entrance to the forest. They were welcomed by chairman of the Friends Tukero Ole Kina.
Tukero Ole Kina had circulated his speech for the meeting before the event, this is attached at the end of this article.
The meeting was held to agree for the Friends of Arabuko-Sokoke Forest to become a company limited by guarantee which will still be known as Friends of Arabuko-Sokoke Forest.
And to dissolve the present Friends of the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest (Community Based Organisation) and approve once the company is formed the transfer of its assets and liabilities to the company limited by guarantee.
Both these motions were agreed unanimously.
Following the formalities Nick Trent of Earth, Sea and Sky who the Friends have employed to prepare a management plan gave a talk. Nick Trent told the meeting that he lived in Kilifi. He has considerable experience in this field, having worked for the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust as field operations manager and chief pilot.
He explained that he was making good progress with the plan and meeting many people. He had facilitated a workshop for the committee of the Friends in November 2016 and the following seven goals were identified for the Friends which he feels still stand.
- Increased capacity of FoASF to carry out planned action plans in support of the Management Team of the Arabuko Sokoke Forest
- To improve community interest and participation in the forest
- Ensure the forest remains intact for generations to come and avoids de-gazettement and de-fragmentation
- Increase the attraction Arabuko Sokoke Forest as quality destination to foreign and local visitors, while raising their awareness and support for the forest
- To hold the forest management team accountable to Arabuko Sokoke Forest Strategic Management Plan (2002-2027) and ASF Elephant action plan
- To play a role in assisting management to reduce illegal activities in the forest, wildlife and logging.
- To mitigate forest destruction by large mammals living in the forest.
There was much discussion with and input from the many Friends present. Following which Nick Trent thanked everyone for their input and said once his plan is complete it would be circulated to the Friends. He said that he knows there is still much to do with involving others and being aware of partners. He also said that lobbying is crucial.
Committee member Crispin Sharp then praised the incredible progress that had taken place in the last few months. The committee had met at length every fortnight to arrive at today’s position. He congratulated Tukero Ole Kina on his leadership.
He said that the work that Lissa Ruben had put in was extraordinary. He also praised the communication work of the committee and said the education project that he had been involved had been enlightening.
Crispin Sharp also encouraged all current members to value their membership of FoASF and to seek to recruit many more members to the Friends.
Tukero Ole Kina thanked everyone for attending and said that the Friends of the Arabuko-Sokoke Forest would not stop at safeguarding the forest they would move further and further out.