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Jun 14, 2014 4 Min Read

Our Journey to the National Forestry Program

The health of forest ecosystems is not independent of the communities that surround these ecosystems. The way humans living in and around forests perceive the importance of trees, both in an environmental and economic sense, is the major causal factor behind deforestation. For just over half a year, Kijani has been building a model for sustainable forestation by realizing that humans are part and parcel of a forest ecosystem. Our model – built on creating sustainable business solutions for forest based communities – is still developing. Yet, this journey has given us the opportunity to meet and collaborate with other organizations engaged in finding lasting solutions to the sustainability crisis. 

During a UN Forum on Forests conference in Nairobi in February this year, Kijani team member Urs was able to meet key stakeholders in the arena of forestation in Kenya. Among these connections, one in particular has proved instrumental for Kijani: Dr. Mercy Gichora, the National Forests Coordination Expert for the Ministry of Environment. A meeting with Kijani team members Daniel and Liz  ensued in the weeks following the conference.

The climax of the meeting was an invitation by the Ministry of Environment for Kijani to be a key player in the implementation of the National Forestry Program. This program will bring together stakeholders from all around Kenya for dialogue about environmental sustainability. The aim of the program is to formulate a consensus on the best ways forward for Kenya to achieve, in a sustainable way, the government’s vision of 10% forest cover by the year 2030. This roadmap is stipulated in Kenya’s “Vision 2030” long term economic and development plan. The role of Kijani will be to mobilize the youth from universities, youth clubs and organizations for the forum.

This has already given Kijani the opportunity to extend its reach in Kenya as we invite other organizations, such as the Mother Earth Network, an environmental trust, to join us in the mobilization process. Separately, Kijani has been able to partner with the Sirikwa Wildlife Trust. This was after taking part in tree planting initiatives in the slums of Nairobi (on Earth Day and on the World Environmental Day) and in the Aberdare mountain forest in central Kenya. Kijani now also has a burgeoning relationship with GIZ, the German Development Agency, in Kenya, who will assist us in our baseline survey of the Marmanet forest area.

It is exciting to see this story unfold, and the opportunities it will present for Kijani, Kenya and beyond in the future!

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