This women-led project sensitizes the local population to the conservation needs of neighboring forests. “Strengthening Women’s Participation in Climate Change Impact Mitigation” focuses on environmental education to promote the conservation of Kanya’s Mau Forest, which acts as an important watershed both nationally and internationally. Community sensitization will form the basis of planned reforestation and resource conservation efforts.
The Mau Forest in Kenya forms the source of Lake Victoria and River Nile – two water bodies that harbor innumerable species, as well as providing water for irrigation and domestic use. Human encroachment on the forest has led to forest fire disasters, with impacts on agricultural production and even climate. Meanwhile, growing population has been increasing food scarcity. A serious lack of awareness in local communities regarding sustainability and resource conservation compounds these problems.
This project has mobilized locals to educate the greater population of Molo Town on sustainability and resource conservation. Voluntary counselors have performed reforestation along 5 kilometers of the Molo River. Participants have written environmental messages on river rocks, and helped educate 2,000 primary and secondary school pupils. Furthermore they have established environmental clubs focused on mitigating river pollution through water resource management.
Project participants have attended meetings with government officials to ensure that water and forests are protected against encroachment, and informed the community about the need to join forces in fighting fires and reporting forest encroachment.
Helping the planet
The intended tree-planting will sequester atmospheric carbon and help restore forests. Restoring forests helps preserve biodiversity, and increases the capacity of the land to hold water. Healthy watersheds assure flowing rivers and full lakes, which are critical for maintaining ecological balance; better water management efforts likewise conserve water resources. Efforts to fight catastrophic forest fires prevent further environmental destruction.
Communities also benefit from better resource management, which helps reduce agricultural scarcity. A healthier ecosystem with rare and unique species attracts tourists, which brings revenue into the community. The female-led project also helps women become environmental leaders.
The project intends to expand greatly, including plans to plant 1 million native trees in the Mau water towers, and impart environmental awareness to 40,000 pupils. Project coordinators ultimately hope to introduce renewable energy technologies and bio-credits to the community, as well. These efforts could be extended across Kenya and other East African communities.
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