Saturday, May 25, 2024

Friday 24th May 2024

The University of Nairobi has taken a monumental step towards a greener future during the Elimu Tree Planting Day, planting a staggering 10,000 trees at the Upper Kabete Field Station. This significant event, held in collaboration with the State Department for Higher Education and Research, marks a turning point in Kenya's fight against deforestation and climate change.

This Elimu Tree Planting Day, spearheaded by the Ministry of Education, aims to produce a staggering 300 million seedlings annually and increase Kenya's forest cover to a remarkable 30% by 2032. This multi-agency effort highlights the crucial role of collaboration in tackling climate change and preserving our precious environment.

The day's central message, delivered by Mr. Martin Muriithi, representing the Principal Secretary, State Department for Higher Education and Research emphasized the importance of knowledge dissemination. He challenged the audience, "How can we ensure successful tree planting and growing knowledge is shared across all ministries?" This underscores the need to shift from symbolic planting to nurturing saplings to maturity, maximizing environmental and social benefits. Mr. Muriithi stressed the importance of university-government collaboration for nationwide tree-planting success.

Prof. Nyangito, Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, representing the Vice Chancellor, echoed this sentiment. He announced that UoN has surpassed its tree-planting targets, planting over 400,000 trees across all campuses. "Tree planting and environmental conservation are anchored in our strategic plan," he declared. Prof. Emeritus Ratemo Michieka, Chairman of the National Research Fund, further emphasized the lasting impact of these initiatives, drawing inspiration from trees he planted in the campus more than 40 years ago.

Deputy County Commissioner for Westlands, Mwai Gicheru, reaffirmed the government's commitment to sustainability through the Better Environment for Tomorrow Agenda and Sustainable Development Goal 11. Representing the Green of Africa Partnership, Jedida Wanyeki highlighted the importance of reclaiming green spaces and drawing inspiration from environmental heroes like Wangari Maathai.

The event witnessed enthusiastic participation from UoN and Kabete Technical Training Institute students. Esteemed partners like the Kenya Forestry Service, Kenya Defence Forces, National  Research Fund and various government agencies provided invaluable support. Professor Kimenju, a key figure in UoN's tree-planting initiatives, championed the "Hummingbird Concept," urging everyone to be the change they wish to see.

Education and awareness were recurring themes. Calls were made for televised programs to educate youth on tree-planting best practices.

Elimu Tree Planting Day stands as a beacon of hope for a greener Kenya. It exemplifies the power of collaboration and unwavering commitment to a sustainable future. With every tree planted, Kenya strides towards a thriving ecosystem and a healthier planet. The onus lies on all Kenyans, young and old, to join this national movement. As Wangari Maathai wisely said, "It's the little things citizens do. That's what will make the difference." Let's roll up our sleeves, plant trees, and sow the seeds of a better future for generations to come.