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PELUM Appeals For Greater NGO Involvement In Government’s Eco Protection Programmes.

Patrick Ngunjiri planting some trees with the pupils, teachers and parents of Ndunyu Chege Primary School (left) and Gatiiguru Primary School.

Nairobi/Central Zone PELUM Kenya Coordinator Patrick Ngunjiri Kihoro has stressed the need for both the national and county governments to put more emphasis in protecting the ecosystems as they were essential to the well-being and prosperity.

Speaking while leading a delegation of organisations, primary school children, parents and the local society in Gatanga Sub-county of Murang’a, Ngunjiri said that in doing so, the country would be guaranteed of adequate food, clean air and fresh water. He added that ecosystems also represented an exceptional source of outdoor recreation opportunities.

“The extinction of plant species, especially in Murang’a  County is not only decreasing earth’s biodiversity and depriving humans of potential resources for food, medicine, and simple enjoyment of nature, it is endangering the functioning of ecosystems and potentially precipitating a cascading effect of increased ecosystem loss and further erosion of biodiversity. For instance, if we are not very careful with the Northern Water Collector Tunnel project that is meant to improve water services in Nairobi City, Kiambu and Muranga Counties, the project can change the ecosystems very rapidly resulting in a substantial and largely irreversible loss in the diversity of life,” said Ngunjiri.
He called on the authorities to partner with groups that were in the business of conserving the environment as this would help in the protection of our forest cover before they degraded even further thus endangering the very water we were yearning to harvest.

He appealed to the county governments to set up policies that would ease partnership with Non-Governmental Organisations even as they allocated a budget that was geared towards conservancy of the ecosystem.

“Particularly if I can single out Murang’a and Kiambu Counties, it would be very necessary if the set aside about 10% of their budget for agriculture and in conserving the environment considering that the core population were farmers. I believe also that there is a need to improve on the modalities that ensure a comprehensive public participation in policy making,” he added.

Moses from Youth Action For Rural Development (YARD), a community based organisation in Muranga, said that they had chosen to work with the school children as one way to instill the culture of ecological conservancy in the young brains.

“The reason why we chose to plant fruit trees in these schools is to help the children understand the broader benefits of conserving the ecosystem as well as having them enjoy an added value of acquiring essential food nutrients derived from fruits. These trees will also provide shade especially when the children are outside their classrooms,” said Moses.

Moses said that they were targeting to reach as many schools as possible so as to help improve the landscaping of these schools and the county at large.

Besides the tree planting exercise, YARD imparted life skills training to these pupils, sensitised them on proper nutrition and also in value addition of food products.

On this day, the group was able to engage the pupils and staff of Gatiiguru and Ndunyu Chege Primary Schools in tree planting.

Participatory Ecological Land Use Management (PELUM) Association is a network of Civil Society Organisations/NGOs working with Small-scale farmers in East, central and Southern Africa with over 250 members in 2014.  PELUM- Kenya is the Kenyan country chapter of the PELUM Association and has a membership of 44 member organizations.

PELUM core duties are to promote participatory ecological land use, management and marketing, capacity enhancement and networking, campaign advocacy and lobbying among others.

On its part, YARD is an integrated community based organization in Gatanga Sub-County in Murang’a that work with the youth and adults expand their educational, agricultural and marketing skills for sustainable livelihoods and brighter future.

Other organisations that participated in this exercise included Organic Agriculture Centre of Kenya (OACK) and Grow Bio-Intensive Agriculture Centre of Kenya (GBIACK) both from Murang’a County.

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