KENYA: Faith-Based Groups to Plant 20 Million Trees in the Next 5 Years

NAIROBI, March 28, 2014 (CISA) -Several faith based groups have resolved to plant 20 million trees across the country to complement the Government’s 50 million tree planning campaign.

The resolution was made during a forum organized by Mother-Earth-Network in collaboration with Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops (KCCB) Commission for Pastoral and Lay Apostolate, on March 28 at Mji Wa Furaha, Nairobi.

The forum which brought together representatives of various religious groups, as well as members of partner environmental organizations and institutions of learning according to the organizers, was aimed at “enabling a joint discussion” on the participation in the Government’s 50 million tree planting initiative.

“It is important to be involved in this initiative and we should promote it in our own way,” said Fr Charles Odira, head of KCCB Commission for Pastoral and Lay Apostolate during the meeting. “It is a worthy cause aimed at mitigating impact of climate change to our environment.”

Fr Herman Borg, Patron Mother-Earth-Network while commending the success of the forum emphasized the need to come together as a unit with the support of religious leaders in order to achieve intended objectives of planting more trees.

“We were a good number of people and all influential. We now need to approach our various religious leaders and get them to support us and when that happens we will completely change the environmental face of Kenya,” he said.

The forum was also attended by representatives from Alliance of Religions and Conservation from the UK and a representative from Kenya Forest Service (KFS) who advised on the need of tree preservation saying that “tree planting is not enough, instead there is need to nurture trees”. KFS offered to provide technical support and seedlings.

In order to implement the independent 20 million trees initiative, the forum resolved to among other things; establish tree nurseries, inform people the benefits of planting trees (value attachment) in order to encourage more participation, gather statistical information, engage in capacity building, and participate of international environment days.

The first face of the initiative according to the organizers will involve the planting of 600 hundred trees in various institutions including in two Muslim schools, two Seventh Day Adventists schools and two Catholic institutions. Rt Rev James Maria Wainaina Bishop of Murang’a, Chairman of the Commission of pastoral and Lay Apostolate advised the participants of the forum to “involve as many people as you can on various environmental matters”.