Greening Kenya Campaign: Why Wangari Maathai is smiling down from heaven


The Late Professor Wangari Maathai must be smiling down on heaven as Kenya is on a journey to realizing the United Nations’ recommended standard of 10% forest cover.

The Greening Kenya Campaign was officially launched today at the Ruiru GK Prison farm by the Cabinet Secretary for Public Service, Youth & Gender Affairs Prof. Margaret Kobia, her counterpart in the Ministry of Interior & Coordination of National Government Dr. Fred Matiang’i, and Keriako Tobiko for the Ministry of Environment & Forestry.



The initiative is a joint venture by the National Youth Service (NYS) and the Kenya Prisons Service (KPS) to develop 50 million tree seedlings for planting by May 2019.

Dubbed the Greening Kenya Campaign, the offshoot project was conceptualized from a Memorandum of Understanding signed on October 30, 2018, on collaboration between the two entities across key lines in project management and service delivery.

CS Matiangi said that the campaign is a clear indication of Kenya’s commitment to achieving sustainable forest management.

“The bandwagon is now rolling with more support coming from other government agencies and development partners,” said Matiang’i.



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The United Nations’ recommended forest cover standard is 10%, with the country falling short by 3% due to increased human activities like illegal logging among other reasons. By 2022, the Government hopes to improve Kenya’s forest cover by 8% from the current 7%.

The ultimate objective of the Greening Kenya Campaign is to impart agroforestry skills to Kenyans and cultivate a culture of nurturing trees.



On her part, Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs CS Prof. Margaret Kobia said that the Government has so far sunk three boreholes at half the budgeted cost, found new market for Prison farmed vegetables in NYS and set foot on the greening campaign having established one of the largest tree seedlings nursery in the region.

Prof. Kobia also noted that the collaboration between NYS and KPS to execute a project of such a magnitude is testament to the potential benefits that synergy between government agencies and institutions can yield if fully utilized.

In Ruiru, the Cabinet Secretaries unveiled 10 million of planned 100 million seedlings as part of the contribution to the Greening Kenya initiative with Prof. Kobia saying that many more are on the pipeline with mega launches planned before the current financial year.


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CS Ministry of Environment and Forestry Keriako Tobiko said the targeted percentage is only possible if Kenyans embrace the initiative.

“My Ministry is in touch with local communities and stakeholders in the production of tree seedlings to ensure a culture of tree growing towards our set goal,” he said.

Kenya is one of the least forested countries in Africa with only 7% tree cover which equates to 67 trees per person, compared to the global average of 420. The low forest cover has been occasioned by massive deforestation which dates back to the 20th Century.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed that all efforts for the achievement of this national forest cover be made so that the constitutional threshold can be achieved by 2022. 


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