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GPF Kenya 'Adopt a Tree Initiative' Supports Ecosystem Restoration through One Million Tree Planting Campaign

Starehe Girls’ Centre hosts inaugural event to expand to 47 Kenya counties.

The long-term impact of industrialization, mining, faulty town planning, indiscriminate and improper land and water use, and reduction of natural habitat is increasingly evident. Scorching heat, ill health, and environmentally related conflict are impacting people across the globe. There is an urgent need to take individual and collective responsibility to restore our ecosystem, not only for today but for future generations.

The Global Peace Foundation Kenya and Global Peace and Development Service Alliance in collaboration with Chandaria Foundation took a bold step to answer this challenge through its adopt a tree initiative, a one-million-tree growing campaign across the 47 counties in Kenya. The inaugural program, “Ecosystem Restoration and Focus on Resetting our Relationship with Nature,” on World Environment Day 2021, seeks to support the 10 percent national forest cover target, which has a goal of planting of 1.8 billion trees by the year 2022.

Ceremonial tree planting as the Starehe Girls’ Centre
in Nairobi.

The first phase of the program was officially launched at Starehe Girls’ Centre, in Nairobi. In remarks at the ceremony, Global Peace Foundation Kenya Country Director Daniel Juma Omondi stressed how quality education can be achieved by training learners to be people of high character who care for the environment. He also recognized Dr. Manu Chandaria, Chairman of Board of Trustees of the school and Patron of Global Peace Foundation Kenya, for his efforts to promote education and environmental activism.

“It is an honor for me and my team, the Starehe Girls’ Centre management and our partners to grace this occasion of protecting the environment by planting the first 100 fruit seedlings today,” Juma said.

Starehe Girls’ Centre Board of Trustee Dr. Salome Gitoho also thanked the Chandaria Foundation, Global Peace Foundation Kenya and its partners for the tree seedlings and donations, and promised long- term engagement in the cause of environmental activism.

The motive and responsibility of ensuring a natural and healthy environment remains an individual calling of each of us, but is achievable through collective initiative.

Centre Director Sr. Jane Soita explained the genesis of the school, contribution of financiers, and their role in management to protect the brand and environment of the school. “We are privileged, because there are other schools which could have been considered to pioneer this process,” she said; “but Starehe Girls’ Centre was chosen, and so we remain on course to [prioritize] environmental protection, especially within our school.”

Representatives from PLO Lumumba Foundation, Standard Media Group, Emploi Limited Company, Global Peace County Ambassadors and volunteers also stood in solidarity, acknowledging the significance of ecosystem restoration not only in Kenya but across the world.

Supporting gifted girls

Starehe Girls’ Centre was exclusively chosen for the pilot phase of the initiative due to its unique set up, objectives, and mission. The Centre was conceived as a charitable national girl’s school, serving academically promising, but economically and socially disadvantaged girls.

The school operates solely through supporters and donors who fund most of the activities, school fees, and building structures, despite financial constraints due to the COVID-19 pandemic and poor economy. Learners are taught to be leaders who can be change-makers in their communities, mentors to others despite their challenging backgrounds.

Starehe Girls’ Centre students, teachers and supporters at the inaugural tree-planting ceremony.

The motive and responsibility of ensuring a natural and healthy environment remains an individual calling of each of us, but is achievable through collective initiative. Global Peace Foundation Kenya encourages and engages national, regional and local governments, non-governmental organizations, environmentalists, supporters and Kenyans at large to take up the tree planting challenge during seasonal events, such as birthdays, public holidays, United Nations calendar days and other public occasions.