The Wildlife Research and Training Institute (WRTI) has formerly started the process of delinking itself from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) after holding its first full meeting of delinking committee at the KWS Training Institute in Naivasha today.
This follows a preliminary meeting which was held on December 22nd and 23rd, 2020 to lay groundwork and develop a roadmap to realize the objectives of the committee.
Opening the committee meeting today, the Principal Secretary for the State Department for Wildlife, Prof. Fred Segor noted that the mandate of KWS as currently structured is very wide with many competing priorities geared towards achieving the Institution’s mandate of conserving and managing our wildlife heritage and their habitats for posterity.
Because of these many competing priorities, the PS said, the wildlife research and academic training agenda is currently underfunded and often most research activities are donor driven or academically oriented especially by researchers pursuing masters and doctorate degrees.
“Wildlife research is also currently uncoordinated and often ad hoc and not focused to provide reliable scientific information on emerging wildlife conservation and management challenges to inform decision making, and policy formulation’ Prof. Segor observed.
He further said despite wildlife being a key economic pillar, the country was not enjoying optimized benefits from the wildlife resource due to inadequate knowledge on status of wildlife and its potential, and lack of comprehensive scientific data to inform policy direction.
It is for this critical role of wildlife research and academic training in the achievement of Vision 2030, that the drafters of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, 2013 provided for the establishment of the WRTI under Section 50 of the Act, Prof Segor said. This was informed by the understanding that the wildlife research and academic training agenda under KWS needs to be more focused to provide reliable scientific information on emerging wildlife conservation and management challenges and tailor made and competency based training.
The committee is expected to recommend the modalities of de-linking research and training functions and assets from KWS to WRTI in line with a policy directive by the CS issued on July 25th, 2020 based on existing legal and policy instruments. The Committee TOR include identifying wildlife research and academic training functions currently under KWS to be transferred to the institute, and undertake a functional analysis and develop an appropriate organization structure that is aligned with the mandate and functions of the Institute in accordance with the guidelines provided by the State Corporations Advisory Committee.
Other functions will include carrying out workload analysis and determining the optimal staffing levels, undertaking job analysis and developing career guidelines to inform placement of staff, and developing a human resource and procedure manual in line with existing various government laws and regulations.
Furthermore, the committee will be tasked with developing a competitive salary structure aligned with the guidelines provided by Salaries and Remuneration Commission, identifying and recommending for review areas of overlaps and gaps in the WCMA 2013, identifying and verifying assets related to wildlife research and academic training to be transferred from the Service to the Institute and identify and recommend potential areas for funding wildlife research and academic training functions.
It will also collate and analyse information, and prepare and submit the final reports, identify and recommend relevant wildlife research and academic training staff for deployment and finally identify and recommend appropriate transition modalities and post transition working relationships of WRTI and KWS.
Prof Segor said the Ministry considers the establishment and operationalization of the WRTI a key milestone in the process of undertaking and coordinating research in wildlife and developing through training, capacity for wildlife research and management in the country.
The PS assured the committee of the Ministry’s total support to meet the objectives and submit their report by end of March 2021.