International environmental conservationists said Monday Kenya’s quest to achieve its climate change mitigation ambitions and increase its forest cover targets will be achieved much faster if wide scale inclusion of women and youth in environmental conservation is prioritized.
“Based on our experience we have learnt that, understanding the local context, a deeper engagement of community groups, especially women and families brings real strength to forest protection and conservation efforts,” International Tree Foundation (ITF)’s Kenya Programme Manager Teresa Gitonga said at an event to celebrate the International Women’s Day in Kikuyu, on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya.
“This deeper community engagement is based on tangible livelihood improvements, mutual support, and a real understanding of long-term benefits,” Gitonga added.
The conservationists planted 200 indigenous trees in partnership with SICPA Kenya, a technology firm, and the Karai Youth Forum, a community-based organization.
“Women and youth not only make up the largest percentage of the Kenyan population, but they also interact more with nature and yet are mostly on the receiving end of harsh effects of climate change,” said Ricardo Romero, ITF’s global program manager.
“Therefore, their inclusion in environmental conservation coupled with young people’s innovation and ingenuity can have far-reaching and long-term effects on environmental sustainability,” Romero added.
Lilian Atogo, the technology firm’s Kenya General Manager, said they have all seen the devastating effects of adverse weather patterns and climatic conditions on livelihoods, the environment, wildlife and biodiversity as well as on the economy.
“We all have been impacted negatively by these conditions which have been occasioned by insensitive human activities and actions. Reversing this damage requires the adoption of collaborative approaches by all stakeholders,” Atogo said.
“We are demonstrating our commitment to contribute towards the health of the planet by targeting to each plant at least 10 trees every year as we look to play our part in boosting the country’s efforts of achieving the 10 percent forest cover objective by 2022,” she added.
Atogo challenged them to adopt holistic climate change adaptation and Greenhouse Gas emission mitigation approaches that will supplement the government’s efforts to build a climate change resilient country. Enditem