When one talks about tree planting in North Eastern a province characterized by dry weather conditions, it almost sounds impossible. With the current rainy season even North Eastern has not been spared as the rest of the country went about taking advantage of the rains to plant, so did the Kenya Forest Service officers in the region.
Garissa town was the place to be on 29thApril 2010 for the unique tree planting event which was a beneficiary of the partnership between KKV project and Kenya Forest Service. Garissa town is about 300kms from Nairobi and about 800kms to Mandera town. It boasts of proximity to Tana River (the biggest River in Kenya). The North Eastern Conservancy has four districts-Garissa, Ijaara, Mandera and Wajir. Although there are no gazette state forests in the Conservancy, the Boni Lungi Forest of Ijara District is managed by the local County Council. With the rains having been so well received in the region it was no wonder the town was looking very beautiful with Prosopis and Acacia trees making it look healthy green like never witnessed before in the region.
The event took place at ADC Primary School in Bona Fumbi area. The well publicized event was organized by the Head of Conservancy for North Eastern Mr. Jamelick Nbambiri and his counterpart the Zonal Manager for Garissa Noor Maalim Hussein. The invited guests included the guest of honor the Provincial Commissioner for North Eastern who was represented by administration Officer Mr. Titus Odhiambo, Chairman FCC North Eastern, representatives from Barclays and Equity Banks, The Kenya Army, the Mayor Garissa town, the Salvation Army and the Chairman School Board ADC Primary School.KFS was represented by the Head of Dry lands Mr. Clement Ng’oriareng’ and the Head of Biodiversity Mr. James Mwa ng’ombe.
The event begun with a courtesy call to the Provincial Commissioners office where Deputy PC Mr.D.K.Mesis warmly welcomed the guests showing his delight at how green the town was looking. He encouraged the Head of Conservancy to keep up with the good work and agreed to cooperate with him to plant trees naming institutions as the best platform. He then sent his apologies for not being able to make it and sent the Administration Officer I to represent him.
After the courtesy call everyone then headed to the roads where lead by the Salvation Army Band a procession marched through the town calling on everyone to attend the tree planting event while stating the importance of tree planting. The procession attracted a massive crowd never seen before in Garissa town.
After the marching, the tree planting exercise then begun at ADC Primary school where everyone including the invited guests and the local community members engaged in planting trees with the Salvation Army belting out some lovely tunes to accompany the activity. Children especially were more than happy to plant the trees and about 650 trees were planted.
Entertainment was in plenty from the locals with the Somali culture dominant, but the message was well clear emphasizing the importance of trees while urging everyone to plant trees to conserve the environment. The entertainment ushered in the speeches where each speaker lauded the noble cause by the Conservancy and urged everyone to cooperate with KFS in its effort to conserve the environment. They praised the KKV project in its partnership with KFS which had seen KFS plant about 14000 trees as well as creating a lot of jobs for the youth in the area.
With that the event ended at about 1pm everyone left feeling content having done a worthy cause , most of the participants agreed that the event was a massive success, well organized and well prepared by the local manager.
Report Courtesy of Lydiah Ogada