The Technical Services Department has the capacity to support KWS operations in areas as diverse as telecommunications, construction (including buildings, roads and fences), mechanical services and, through the Airwing, specialized flight services.
Following the PAWS project donors’ approval of the regionalization and restructuring process during the mid-term review, the Technical Services Department commenced work on essential headquarters and park infrastructure for the Tsavo, Eastern, Central Rift, Mountain, Northern and Western regions. Except for the latter two regions, where work is expected to continue through late 1998, construction should be completed by mid-1997.
Fencing projects to alleviate human-wildlife conflict continued in Shimba Hills National Reserve and Aberdare National Park under PAWS funding, as did the Migwara School and Sand River community borehole, pipeline and classroom projects in the Mara. Completion is projected for January 1997.
Roadworks completed in Lake Nakuru, the Tsavos, Amboseli and Aberdare national parks during the year will enhance management operations and visitor enjoyment while discouraging environmentally disastrous off-road driving in these heavily visited parks. Amenities in Lake Nakuru have also been upgraded with the construction of a lecture theatre and education centre.
Construction of the new central workshop neared completion and will be ready for occupation early in 1997. From this facility near the Langata Gate of Nairobi National Park, the Mechanical Section will undertake most servicing and inspection of KWS vehicles and heavy equipment. The anticipated cost savings and substantial improvements to efficiency are expected to further ease chronic transport problems.
Through Gailey & Roberts, the local Caterpillar agent, the Mechanical Section embarked on the rehabilitation of some of KWS’s fleet of earth-moving and road-grading equipment.
Technical Services received from ODA two Land Rovers and a computer, which will be equipped with appropriate software for use in a comprehensive national parks road inventory, now in the planning stage. The inventory data on murram and gravel roads and bridges, which will be collected and compiled over two years, will constitute a vital input for future infrastructure planning and maintenance.
ODA also provided VHF radio equipment to facilitate internal communications in Meru National Park, the marine parks and reserves, and community conservation projects in Samburu, Taita Taveta and Kajiado. Funding from IDA facilitated the purchase of similar radio equipment for Amboseli and Lake Nakuru national parks and Nasolot National Reserve.
Technical Services secured funding from KFW and IDA for new projects to commence in 1997. These include rehabilitation of KWSTI in Naivasha and the KWS infrastructure complex in Isiolo, construction of bridges across the Galana River in Tsavo East and Adamson’s Falls in Meru National Park/Kora National Reserve, and construction of offices and houses in the county council reserves (Laikipia, Rimoi, South Turkana, Nasolot, Bonjoge and Mwea) under MoUs with KWS.
The department began investigating the feasibility of a VSAT telecommunications network and other possible means of meeting the challenge of inter-regional communications under the new KWS structure.
Two engineers from the department attended a two-week International Road Federation training seminar on road management in Phoenix, Arizona, USA. Two staff members completed higher diploma studies and another an ordinary diploma course at the Mombasa and Kenya Polytechnics, enhancing departmental capacity in telecommunications.