Promoting Environmental Awareness in Kenya

Johnstone Shisanya, the ERN co-ordinator in East Africa, has reported on the support of the Edmund Rice Justice and Advocacy group for initiatives around the issues of education, children’s rights and the environment – the three issues of particular focus for Edmund Rice international.

In the following article Andrew S. Lumati, the founder of Malava Forest Conservation Youth Group speaks about his patnership with members of the Edmund Rice East African Network in promoting environmental awareness among schoolchildren in Western Kenya.

Photo: Butterfly found in Malava forest

“I founded the Malava Forest Conservation Youth Group here in a rural part of Kenya from a personal inspiration and admiration for mother nature. During my days as a volunteer with a local branch of our Kenya Red Cross, I used to walk through Malava forest to reach the Red Cross office in a town nearby. The beauty of the forest and its animals is what really captivated me. However, I was disturbed by the vast open areas within the forest that spoke of deforestation and the thought of having these animals lose their habitat really made me  think about the future of this forest.

I decided to try and create awareness about the dangers of deforestation both on the wild animals and human life in general.

The youth do hold the key to the future of any country and the world at large. I therefore decided to target them in my environmental awareness program by moving around schools within our area and establishing environmental clubs among the students. I did this with the help of some youth volunteers that I had recruited in my group.

So far, with the help of Edmund Rice Network East Africa, we have been able to engage the students in tree planting initiatives within their school compounds alongside some environmental talks that my group offers from time to time.

We hope to be planting at least 5000 tree seedlings each year both within Malava forest and the various schools that we will be engaging with. We would also like to expand our environmental education program in as many schools as possible.

Last but not least, one of our greatest wish is to partner with like-minded individuals and organizations with whom we can share ideas and other forms of empowerment so as to redeem mother nature from destruction.”

Andrew S. Lumati, the founder of Malava Forest Conservation Youth Group (MAFOCO-YG)

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