Monday, July 4, 2011

Karura forest hosts environmental soldier programme celebrations

The Chief of Defence Forces Gen. Jeremiah Kianga receives an award in recognition of the military's efforts towards environmental conservation

The Chief of Defence Forces Gen. Jeremiah Kianga plants a tree during the occasion

(From left) the Head of Nairobi Conservancy Mrs. Charity Munyasia, the Chief of Defence Forces Gen. Jeremiah Kianga, the AG. Director General NEMA Dr. Ayub Macharia, the Vice Chairman of Friends of Karura Karanja Njoroge and the Vice Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen Julius Karangi pose for a picture at the scenic Karura Falls

The representatives of the Armed Forces of Kenya led by the Chief of Defence Forces Gen. Jeremiah Kianga were at the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) headquarters where they celebrated the forests as one of the country’s major resources. The celebration, held on June 22nd 2011, was primarily focused on commemorating the role of forests as an essential resource that supports life in the country.
The event was graced by different personalities including Nobel Peace Laureate, Prof. Wangari Maathai, United Nations Environmental Programme, Executive Director, Achim Steiner, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife, Mr. Mohamed Wa-Mwachai, the KFS Senior Deputy Director Mr. Emilio Mugo among other senior military and KFS officers.
In his speech, Gen. Kianga who was the chief guest appreciated forests as key resources which Kenyans use to sustain their lives. He regretted that these resources were being lost at an alarming rate especially  in arid and semi-arid parts of the country.  He hailed the Kenya Armed Forces Environmental Soldier Programme that has been very instrumental in promoting environmental conservation by engaging in tree planting activities during this year which has been earmarked as the International Year of Forests.
“It has become clear to the Armed Forces that defending and protecting a country effectively also means protecting its main resource,” he said. The General added that soldiers have been given seedlings to plant in their homes therefore boosting the percentage of forest cover in the country. He noted that the programme between KFS and the Armed Forces is an excellent partnership that would promote conservation and rehabilitation forests like the Mau Forest Complex.
Mr. Wa-Mwachai who was representing the Minister said that the programme that was established by the Forces would immensely contribute to the realization of a 10% forest cover   by the year 2030. He thanked the army for slotting in the tree planting as one of their many activities. He also commended the partnership of the military and KFS and encouraged organizations to engage in projects and joint ventures aimed at enhancing the country’s forest with the Service.
KFS Deputy Director, Mr. Emilio Mugo said that the Service is greatly honored to be associated with the programme and it would continue working hand in hand with the Armed Forces in initiating programmes and projects that would enhance forestry in the country.

Article pictures by Ken Gichuki

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