Climate change is currently the greatest threat to mankind and nobody is going to buy their way out of its long-term distressing effects. This was the message from a group of young people in Kajiado County who have dedicated their energies to conservation in Loitoktok town.
Concerned over the threats posed by global warming, the group dubbed ‘Boring’ima’ which comprises truck drivers and their co-drivers, moved in to boost efforts to conserve the environment. In Loitoktok, the young men asked to be allowed to grow grass and plant trees within a small stretch along the town’s main road. They were at the site during the nationwide tree-growing exercise launched by President William Ruto.
After planting, they knew they needed to protect the seedlings from damage or destruction by humans and animals, if the trees were to grow to maturity. Their efforts involved the use of recycled plastic to keep away anything that could pose a threat to their green oasis.
A member of the group, Gordon Odhiambo, who describes it as “an informal association” noted that the noble initiative, was started back in 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic period.
Odhiambo says they decided to take action when they saw the effects of climate change and how it had affected the country, particularly causing the prolonged drought in the country.
“During the drought period, we adopted a very good culture of contributing funds that would go towards watering our green oasis. We have also managed to fence the project through our contributions. To ensure it is successful; we take turns guarding it against livestock roaming in town, donkeys, and also people. Two people at a time have to be around to man the area,” he said.
“In also trying to make Loitoktok town unique, we have also realized that we get clean air, we have shade as we wait during our business rounds and the trees also act as windbreakers,” he adds.
Odhiambo appealed to the county government to provide them with more seedlings which they promised to jealously protect and boost their greening initiative.
WWF-Kenya’s Dr. John Kioko the Coordinator of Amboseli-Chyulu sub-landscape and who actively engages the group, urged them to continue their efforts.
Kioko, in turn, promised that his organization would ensure that they are well equipped through training and capacity building to ensure that the group can take conservation efforts a step higher by sensitizing their peers on the dangers of climate change.
Speaking about ongoing government-led conservation efforts, Kioko said his organization has formulated entry points for training for groups they are working with. They include organized groups like faith-based organizations, schools, and farmers.
“We have taken them to seminars and trained them on how to take care of trees. We also do demonstrations in these clusters that form learning centers for the community,” he said.
He says by December, WWF-Kenya targets to plant 120,000 trees. He said the seedlings are sourced from their own nurseries and they give them out through an adoption program that encourages the recipients to nurture the trees to maturity.
Kajiado County Governor Joseph Ole Lenku, represented at the tree planting event by James Ngugi, the Chief Officer, Environment, National Resources and Climate Change noted that the ‘Miti Festival’ in Kajiado County is to bring sanity back into the environment.
“Through tree planting activities, we shall mitigate the effect of climate change. The vision is to transform Kajiado into a sustainable county. Lenku has four prongs which include modulated pastoralism, likable towns, climate-proof environment and globally competitive education,” he said
Ngugi further noted that the vision of the county may come to fruition much faster than expected because of organizations like WWF-Kenya that have partnered with the Kenya Forest Association to provide seedlings and capacity building on conservation to communities.
“Through our Mazingira unit, we shall deliver the greening towns initiative as soon as possible,” he concluded.
The Assistant County Commissioner in the Loitoktok Central Division, Patrick Burure on his part said the government has ensured that the National Government Administration Officers work in partnership with different stakeholders to realize the greening initiative.
“As a government, we are trying to mobilize residents and encourage them to not only plant the tree seedlings but also nurture them into maturity,” he said.
We are enforcing rules and regulations within the towns to make sure livestock stays out of town to avoid hampering conservation initiatives.
“We are now holding public barazas to sensitize the residents and this has had a positive outcome as the livestock in the towns has largely decreased. Let us plant trees, and inculcate the habit of commemorating important events in our lives by planting trees,” said Burure.