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Aug 13, 2016 7 Min Read

Sustainable Development Goals and Kijani

In September 2015 Heads of State and Government agreed to set the world on a path towards sustainable development through the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This agenda includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, which set out quantitative objectives across the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development all to be achieved by 2030. From the Millennium Development goals which expired last year in December, never before have had world leaders pledged common action and endeavor across such a broad and universal policy agenda, and this is a step towards the right direction.

Kijani shares a common global vision as the SDGs for a safer environment as well as a sustainable space for all human beings to thrive on this beautiful planet earth. Two years down the line since our existence and we are still committed to the transformational changes in achieving our vision of an environmentally and economically sustainable future focusing on Zero Hunger Climate Action, Life on land and Partnerships for the goals

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the UN
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the UN

Our work in forest restoration in the North Marmanet forest has been quite an experience worth sharing. Commercial harvesting of the forest resources, poverty and population growth in North Marmanet has resulted in detrimental effects on the natural environment as growing numbers of people need more land to cultivate, grass for livestock to graze, and firewood to cook on thus resulting to forest obliteration.

For the past six months, Kijani has been working with farmers in sustainable agriculture with special attention in agroforestry and conservation agricultural techniques. This has been made possible through workshops and field demonstrations. Through this type of farming, households will be able to increase their crop yields as well as diversify their crops reducing instances of malnutrition and other poor diet related disease contributing to Zero Hunger. Furthermore, Kijani is empowering the youth to engage in conservation agriculture by equipping them with theoretical and practical skills. Hence, unemployment levels and poverty levels are reduced.

Kijani members learning about conservation agriculture
Kijani members learning about conservation agriculture

The climate is changing. Perhaps this might be breaking news to some of you, but if you have been keen then this is not news. The average temperatures are rising and extreme weather events – particularly floods and droughts causing havoc become more frequent. Deforestation is just one of the influencers of climate change and the once green North Marmanet forest has suffered this cataclysm. Kijani has been on the forefront working with the local communities and the Community Forest Association in rehabilitation of North Marmanet forest. So in case you wondering why Kijani is pro tree planting, let me take you through a biology class for a minute. Trees and forests act as carbon sinks. When growing, trees absorb carbon from the atmosphere through photosynthesis and store the carbon in the form of wood. This reduces the amount of carbon in the atmosphere Trees and forests can contribute to combating climate if they are well managed both locally and globally. Kenyan farmers are driving pollinators and other soil living organisms into extinction threating food security and sustainability. This has been attributed to the fact that farmers are using unscrupulous farming techniques and chemicals posing a negative effect to these organisms. About 80% of the food crops depend on pollination by insects and other organisms. Unfortunately the rate at which we are losing our biodiversity might present a challenge in a few years to come. Kijani has been promoting conservation agriculture with farmers in North Marmanet. This form of agricultural practice promotes minimal or no tillage. Hence, the disturbance of the soil biodiversity, such as worms and other microorganisms, is reduced to a minimum. The use of compost manure and biological pest control is highly endorsed hence protecting pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, from extinction and decline in number.

SDGs assures the future of Ecosystem Diversity
SDGs assures the future of Ecosystem Diversity

Many ecosystem challenges cross-jurisdictional boundaries. Thus, systematic changes beyond the capabilities of an individual organization or company are required. In this case, partnerships with governments, local communities, non-governmental organizations, investors and companies are the most crucial ones. As Kijani we believe in the old adage that alone we can do little; but together we can do much. Throughout our past and current projects, we have created strong collaborations with both international, government and private institutions such as Kenya Forest Service, Dove International, Plant for the Planet Movement mentioning but a few. Some of our volunteers have had the opportunity to attend international meetings on Forestry and climate change in South Africa and Germany expanding Kijani’s networks. Currently we are hosting an intern from Germany and we looking forward to providing opportunities and hands on experience for other young people all over the world. These partnerships have been useful in bolstering our reputation and operation in achieving our vision. Kijani is determined to protect the planet from degradation through sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change in order to support the needs of the present and future generations.

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