The Songot community will be heavily involved in the demarcation exercise to map the area to be gazetted to conserve and protect the Songot Ranges, said County Executive Committee (CEC) of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources George Emoru.

Speaking to the community leaders at Songot in Turkana West Sub-county, CEC Emoru appreciated the community for agreeing to the gazettement as it will benefit the community directly with jobs as well as attract investors.

“The county government, with our partner Mercy Corps, will also be there to support you [Songot community] to restore the degraded sites by tree planting and pasture,” he said. “This will mitigate against climate change as Songot Ranges is a major water catchment in Turkana West.”

The Songot gazettement process began last year with the community sensitisation exercises on the importance of gazetting being held periodically.

As Pauline Ngoli Pusiye, Deputy Director of Natural Resources pointed out that public participation is essential to enlightening the communities on the benefits of the county government projects.

She also urged the youth representatives present to take the message of the importance and benefits of the gazzettement back to their villages.

Kenya Forest Service’s Inspector Bernard Kisanya said that the community will be responsible in managing its conservation and protection as they will be free to enter and graze in the gazetted area.

In his remarks the Songot Member of the County Assembly (MCA) and Leader of Majority, Hon. Bethel Kobongin, said that the gazettement will give the county government the directive to support the community in its effort to conserve and protect the ranges.

The Chair of Tourism, Culture and Natural Resources committee at the County Assembly and MCA Lokori, Hon. Daniel Emekwe  echoed the same and urged the community to embrace the gazettement.

In attendance were MCAs – Hon. Cosmas Longor (Nanam), Hon. Rebecca Akeno Elim (nominated) and Hon. Angeline E. Lokaala (nominated) and the area wards administrators and chiefs.