The Global Peace Festival Kenya with the Nairobi Central Business Division (CBD) and other civic partners commemorated United Nations World Environment Day by mobilizing supporters for a “CBD Tree Planting Day” on June 4, 2011. The theme of the event, “Nature at Your Service—Plant a Tree for Better Tomorrow,” also addressed one of the key goals of Kenya’s Vision 2030: to beautify the environment and provide at least 10 percent tree coverage throughout Kenya.
More than one hundred invited guests and participants from all walks of life registered for the event. After a word of prayer by Sheikh Juma Amir of Jamia Mosque, the Salvation Army band led the procession of participants to Ngara Post Office for the opening ceremonial tree planting. Colorful banners and branded T–shirts donated by sponsors, boldly printed with the day’s theme and the event name, encouraged public notice and set the mood and spirit of the day’s events.
The tree planting opened with local government officials, environmentalists and community leaders planting a tree on the post office grounds, after which participants dispersed to the other areas in Nairobi, including Ngara Road, River Bank Primary School and Arya Primary School. At least three hundred seedlings were planted throughout the day.
Guests and participants later gathered at the Post Office grounds for speeches and entertainment, including the Sarakasi Acrobats and the Ngara Girls High School Choir. Central Business District Officer Patrick Nyanje, the official host, welcomed the guests and participants, and stressed the importance of conserving the environment in Kenya. He encouraged all to plant trees as well as care for newly planted seedlings. He said that such a tree-planting event was a way of curbing criminal acts like mugging, vandalism and theft by engaging idle youths.
Mr. Nyanje also encouraged the “adopt a tree strategy” for businesses and other community members to identify at least one tree and care for it to further the sustainability of the initiative.
Other business and community leaders emphasized the need for ongoing maintenance and security measures to support the Green initiative. Mr. Clement Ochola, a Senior Assistant Secretary in the Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan, spoke on behalf of the day’s chief guest, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Nairobi Metropolitan, Mr. Phillip O. Sika. Mr. Ochola noted that trees are important in fighting drought, for beautification, and for providing food and shelter for wild animals and birds. Trees further act as noise pollution buffers, provide shade, reduce annual heating, and purify the air.
At the close of the event, Global Peace Festival Foundation (GPFF) Kenya Director Vincent Rapando thanked the planning committee, sponsors and participants, and pointed out the need to replicate the event in other parts of the country. He further challenged the Division to sponsor such events on a regular basis.
Master of Ceremony Mr. Japheth Ouda, a GPFF environmental project manager, later joined Central Business District Officer Patrick Nyanje for a live studio interview, which encouraged broader tree planting and environmental care in Kenya.