A group of Youth in Kilifi County has started planting Mangrove trees in the Mtongani Kidundu area to mitigate the adverse effects of climate change and increase the species cover.
Through their Community-Based Organisation called GROW under the umbrella of Grow With Us, the youths have a target of planting at least 60 million Mangrove trees.
This aligns with the Kenyan Government’s Vision 2030 project geared towards planting at least 15 billion seedlings in the next seven years.
“Our mission is to grow the community so we are working with them to make sure that their livelihoods, their economic aspects are leverageable to earn something and survive in this hard economic time”Robert Banda
The group has committed to involving the community in executing the exercise that will not only benefit them but the country at large.
The CBO also seeks to replace the trees that were for contributing to the ravaging drought that hit hard Kilifi County.
Speaking to the media in an exclusive interview during the tree planting exercise, GROW managing director Robert Banda Kelly said that they intend to provide the community with alternative solutions to stop cutting trees but rather collaborate in planting more trees in the area.
“Our mission is to grow the community so we are working with them to make sure that their livelihoods, their economic aspects are leverageable to earn something and survive in this hard economic time”, Banda said
“We will be planting 2 million mangroves after every three months in this area.”
Banda outlined that the seedlings being planted in the Kidundu area are bought from the locals in the region, as a result, yielding their livelihood.
Kibibi Mramba, a local who participated in tree planting in the area said that planting and conserving the mangrove trees has not only helped in yielding more fish but also improved her livelihood.
“Through selling these seedlings, I am able to buy my children’s stationery and in the surplus I pay their school fees,” Kibibi said.
The mangrove trees
Unlike trees, the ecosystem allows mangroves to grow without disturbance regardless of climate change effects.
Mangrove trees protect the coastline from wave erosion and provide a safe habitat for marine creatures, especially during adverse weather changes such as hurricanes.
“We discovered a reduction of fish population in the ocean caused by cutting of trees and resolved to plant mangrove trees as the primary solution to grow the marine life”, noted Banda.
“The major challenge in implementing tree planting here is that those whom we are blocking from cutting the mangrove don’t have a steady alternative to earning their livelihood”Chivatsi
The mangroves also filtrate harmful gases in the ecosystem.
With the rise in global warming and climate change crisis, toxic gases released into the environment by human activities, collect in the atmosphere and bounce off the earth’s surface.
Banda however mentioned that the main challenge they are facing in executing the mangrove planting is resistance from the locals who make their livelihood from cutting down the trees.
He added that the CBO is not yet in a position to provide a sustainable alternative to the locals, calling upon partners to support them in achieving their mission.
Mtongani Kidundu self-help group from Kidundu Island in Kilifi County has joined efforts to curb the global crisis by planting mangrove seedlings for sale.
Stephen Chivatsi the group’s chairperson, said that locals in the area have been greatly affected by mangrove cutting since they entirely depend on the blue economy.
“The major challenge in implementing tree planting here is that those whom we are blocking from cutting the mangrove don’t have a steady alternative to earning their livelihood”, Chivatsi said.
Other than selling mangrove seedlings, the self-help group conserve mangrove, fishing bee keeping and has a restaurant to promote tourism in the area.
He added that because of reduced mangrove trees population in the area there has been low fish harvest.
“Our locality is more dependent on the ocean for livelihood and the cause of the low fish population has been led by cutting down of the mangroves.”
Jackson Wanje a youth member said they are aiming at planting more trees to contain if not completely eradicating drought issues in Kilifi county.
Statistics shows that since the industrial revolution, the global annual temperature has increased in total by a little more than 1 degree Celsius; the last 40 years have seen the yearly global temperature rise by 0.18 degrees Celsius per decade.
Now climate scientists have concluded that the only way to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2040 is through avoid a future in which everyday life around the world is marked by its worst most devastating effects.
As the country’s forest cover stands at 7.6%, the vision for 2030 aims at planting at least 50 billion trees same as 10% of the lawful quantity.
The process of realizing the dream has been supported countrywide with many environmental conservation groups on the rise.
The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) in a past annual report said the Government plans to plant at least 1.8 billion trees by 2022.
Additionally, the tree planting drive has been replicated in 47 counties and targets to boost the country’s forest cover by 10 per cent by 2022.
Surprisingly, in a recent attempt to curb the famine crisis, the current administration alleged to let the public in a land reclamation process in the forests.
This was seeking to allow the public to cultivate and practice agroforestry, the ‘Shamba System.
However, the same practice some decades ago led to the now-experienced climate problems.
With the unreliable rains and inadequate water storage reservoirs countrywide, can climate relief be realized even after the launch of 1.5 billion trees planting drive by 2032 initiated by President Ruto’s administration?