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Kilifi conservation group embarks on mangrove forest restoration

Malindi, a conservation group in Dabaso ward of Kilifi County has embarked on an ambitious mangrove tree restoration programme with a view to conserving marine life that is dependent on mangroves.

Sita Umoja Conservation Group, through assistance from the World-Bank funded Kenya Marine Fisheries and Socio-Economic Development Project (KEMSFED) has already raised 78,000 mangrove tree seedlings to be planted along the coastline in the ward.

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Speaking to journalists during a mangrove tree planting event in Sita area of Dabaso ward, Mr. Maxon Dzombo, the group’s chairman, said the group received a grant of Sh4.9 million from KEMSFED, which it used to nurture the seedlings that he said were ready for transplanting.

Mr. Dzombo said his group had been involved in mangrove restoration activities for more than 14 years and thanked KEMSFED and the County Government of Kilifi for the funding that he said would enable the group to expand its activities.

Sita Umoja conservation group is among 621 groups in five of the six Coastal counties that have received a total of Sh1.5 billion to help strengthen capacity in governance of marine fisheries and empower coastal communities economically.

The project, which is being implemented by the national government through the State Department for Fisheries and Blue Economy with funding from the World Bank, covers Kwale, Mombasa, Kilifi, Tana River and Lamu, which border the Indian Ocean.

The project’s National Coordinator, Mr. Parick Mwenda Kiara, said the project aims at supporting the country in its efforts to leverage emerging opportunities in the Blue Economy, with a special focus on fisheries.

Speaking during the mangrove tree planting event at the Sita fish landing site Friday, Mr. Kiara the project funds community groups to carry out various socio-economic activities after approving the groups’ proposals.

“The proposals are in three categories – livelihoods, social and environmental. In addition to the grants to the groups, the project is also supporting good governance of our marine fisheries,” he said.

“We are supporting policies, regulations…we have now done the Fisheries Policy which has been supported by this project. We are also supporting programmes like monitoring, control and surveillance to ensure that whoever is doing fishing is doing the right thing,” he added.

Kilifi County Executive Committee Member for Agriculture, Livestock Development and the Blue Economy, Mr. Chula Mwagona, said 135 community-based groups carrying out various activities had received more than Sh300 million since the project started early this year.

He said the groups that had benefitted included those dealing with fisheries, environmental conservation, livestock keeping and other socio-economic activities and that the project had been embraced by locals who he said had started reaping benefits.

Dabaso Member of County Assembly Emmanuel Changawa said five community groups in his ward had received a total of Sh15 million to carry out various economic activities and thanked KEMSFED for the support.

Justine Kitsao, a member of the Kirepwe Island Community Conservation Group said there was a need for communities to be involved in conservation activities for better results to be realized.

Salim Makomba, the Kenya Wildlife Service warden in charge of the Arabuko Sokoke Forest and the Deputy Warded at the Watamu Marine National Park Ramadhan Mwatsefu warned against wanton destruction of mangrove forests.

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