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Commemoration of International Day of Forests in Kitui County

[Kitui, 21/03/2024] – The National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK), in collaboration with the Kitui County Government and other partners, commemorated International Day of Forests at the Kalivu Vocational Training Centre in Kitui South. This annual event, held on March 21st, aims to raise awareness about the critical role forests play in sustaining life on Earth while also promoting sustainable forest management practices around the world.

This year’s celebration, themed “Forests and Innovation: New Solutions for a Better World”, emphasized the importance of using innovative approaches to address the challenges that our forests face. The NCCK, in collaboration with the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA), the Kenya Red Cross, Compassion in Jesus Name, the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), Kenya Prison Services, the Kitui Development Centre, the Wildlife Clubs of Kenya, and Caritas Kitui, reaffirmed their commitment to preserving and enhancing forest biodiversity.

The local residents were urged to actively plant and nurture trees while discouraging activities like charcoal burning, which harms the environment. They were also advised to select tree species that are well-suited to the local environment and will thrive in the area.

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Kitui County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Environment Richard Mwendandu commented that “Forests are not only important for biodiversity conservation, but they also help to mitigate climate change and promote sustainable development. We can preserve our forests and improve the well-being of local communities by working.”

“Wangari Maathai emphasized that nature is unforgiving; once it’s damaged, it can have unpredictable consequences. Hence, the local community members should prioritize conservation efforts. In addition to tree planting, it is important to plant various grass species that are well-adapted to the area’s climatic conditions”, he added.

The CECM announced that the county government is initiating a tree planting initiative, wherein each household will receive three tree seedlings for planting.

On his part, NCCK’s coordinator for the Nature Positive project Andrew Nyamu said that “NCCK is committed to ensuring sustainable management of landscapes in Athi ward through rehabilitation of degraded Environment and supporting in tree planting targeting ecologically adaptable species. The Nature positive will also support farmers through conservation agriculture and strengthening of governance structure and entrenching women leadership and decision making.”

At the forefront of these efforts is the NCCK’s Nature Positive Project, which is currently underway in Athi Ward. This initiative seeks to strengthen climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies while also restoring biodiversity and enhancing local livelihoods. Nature Based Solutions (NBS) are central to the Nature Positive Project, as they use the benefits of nature and ecosystems to address environmental and societal issues.

One of the key activities under the NBS umbrella is tree planting. The NCCK plans to distribute tree seedlings to schools and churches in the area to bolster forest cover and encourage community engagement in conservation efforts. Additionally, the council will conduct training sessions to equip locals with the skills needed to establish and manage tree nurseries effectively.

In line with its commitment to sustainable forest management, the NCCK is also spearheading the development of policies aimed at discouraging charcoal burning in the region. By promoting alternative sources of energy and advocating for responsible forestry practices, the council seeks to preserve Kenya’s rich forest heritage for future generations.

As the world commemorates International Day of Forests, the NCCK encourages individuals, organizations, and governments to work together to protect these invaluable ecosystems for the benefit of current and future generations.

For more information, please contact H Njagi on 0793 324042 or hnjagi@ncck.org.

Signed on this 21st day of March 2024.

Rev Canon Chris Kinyanjui

GENERAL SECRETARY

July 2024
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