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VAS

Sh151m to conserve Aberdares

ROUND TABLE
By | March 24th 2012

BY Fredrick Obura

The European Union and the Danish Government have donated Sh151 million to conserve five forest blocks within the Aberdares eco-system in Nyeri County, a senior European Union official has announced.

Daniel Plas, the Head of Social and environmental section at the European Union said the money would also be used for the promotion of socio-economic activities targeting the area communities and forest association groups.

EU’s Daniel Plas (left), hands over financial documents for Sh23 million grant to project manager Community Environmental Facility, Mary Gachanja towards supporting the group’s forest conservation efforts.

The donors, through the Community Development Trust Fund, will also spend Sh1 billion to rehabilitate other water towers of Mt Kenya – Mau, Cherangani and Mt Elgon, which are key to the economic development of the country.

Plas announced this when he presented Sh23 million grant to the Mt Kenya Renewable Energy Partnership organisation in Nyeri County for the restoration of Kiandongoro, Kabage, Zaina, Muringato and Thuti forest blocks within the Aberdare eco-system.

He said the latest initiative is designed to reduce the impact of climate change and to place Kenya on a path of low carbon growth.

He was encouraged by the support the project has received from the area communities, as indicated by their direct participation in the management of forest blocks and catchment areas, in line with the Kenya’s 2030 objectives, which seeks to restore the country’s water sources for economic development.

The Community Environmental Facility manager Joseph Ruhiu asked officials who have benefited from EU-Danida funding to use the funds effectively for the benefit of the wider community.

He reckoned that restoring the lost forest cover required communities within the forest zones to support conservation efforts, while still benefiting from controlled agroforestry activities.

Ruhiu cited beekeeping, fishing, Eco-tourism, green housing, livestock and poultry keeping as some of the agroforestry activities that the communities are encouraged to participate in among other socio economic events.

The project leader Mary Gachanja said most of the beneficiaries of the three-year programme are women, the youth and the elderly who will be trained to adopt efficient energy stoves to save on use of firewood.

She said urgent measures are also required to stabilise the degradation of the Aberdares eco-system, which is the source of water supply to Nairobi city and supports electricity generation.

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