Explained by Michael Waiyaki, forest conservationist
Forests are the earth’s lungs. To slow the pace of global warming, we need to conserve the forests that we have and restore what’s been damaged. In Kenya, deforestation is a big problem, with closed-canopy forests covering only two percent of the country. This is a result of overexploitation, illegal logging, and resource degradation, which causes erosion, flooding, and loss of biodiversity.
Thankfully, there are people committed to restoring the balance to help us all breathe a little easier.
Michael Waiyaki, part of Miti Alliance based in Nairobi, Kenya, teaches students in schools around Kiambu, Kajiado, and Nairobi county about climate change. In his role as a forest conservationist, Michael is on a mission to plant millions of trees across Kenya. Right now, the geographic scope of his work is limited due to logistical costs.
Nine years ago, I was part of Rotaract Kenya which ushered me into the world of humanitarian service. During my time as a Rotaractor and President of the club, I fell in love with the forests and nature. This led me to keep engaging friends, family, and even the public through social media in taking action in conserving the environment.
Right now, I'm the only full-time employee at Miti Alliance since we do not have the financial possibilities for more staff, even though it's needed. Therefore, to sustain the organization, I also take up various consultancy jobs to enable our continued engagement and work in the schools.
The work we do at Miti Alliance is mainly teaching and training students in primary schools to plant and care for trees. We train them through the process of setting up a tree nursery, and caring for the seedlings until they are transplanted. We also teach them about identifying species and how to care for the trees through the different seasons of the year. We enlighten the students we teach on how climate change can affect them and its impact. We also plant fruit trees that support the students’ diet, especially in the underprivileged schools that we visit. We also sensitize on the importance of the environment through social media.
Miti Alliance Ltd’s mission is to sustain life through planting, growing, and maintaining trees. The work can be defined in three areas; to educate, to empower, and to sustain. The tree-planting activities organized by Miti Alliance have been carried out over a period of over nine years now, and they are continuing. Some of the projects were personal initiatives, while others were carried out as partnerships.
The key unfunded needs are training and learning materials for the students in the schools. We also need funding to hire additional staff who can coordinate day-to-day activities of visiting more schools. Most of the volunteers we work with are mainly available on weekends, which is a problem. We also need funding for tree nursery infrastructures like shade nets, an office (fabricated movable container), and sufficient space for at least 25 000 seedlings. Space for hire for a larger tree nursery that can cater to a bigger number of seedlings is also a goal.
With your help, Michael can hire the necessary personnel to expand the work of the Miti Alliance to facilitate the planting of more trees and the education of more people.
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