PROGRAM 1: GREEN SCHOOLS PROGRAM
Full Project Description
This program entails establishment of medium-scale tree nurseries in schools. The said school-based tree nurseries are ran and managed solely by students who are thoroughly trained in tree nursery technology. Schools are assisted to raise tree nurseries with 10 000 – 50 000 seedlings as convenient. When seedlings are mature and rain has come, a portion of the seedlings is planted within each school that hosts the tree nursery project in spaces that are without buildings and where it is not playground for the pupils/students. The other portion of seedlings that remain in the nursery is supplied to farmers adjacent to the schools at a charge as a chunk of it goes to public lands. The money received after sale of seedlings to the farmers is to enable sustainability of successive tree nurseries so that schools are able to supply seedlings to the neighbouring community adequately for a longer time. However, in the instance that schools are funded to establish the tree nurseries, farmers are given the seedlings free of charge. The program is therefore packaged in a way that schools become continuous source of seedlings for the whole community. It is a program that concerns practical and realistic community reforestation bringing seedlings near to farmers as possible through institutions of learning. Igembe region of Meru County has become a prototype to prove how use of schools can easily and conveniently impact communities as regards reforestation.
In any school we start this project, we establish as far as possible, a student’s Forestry or Environment Club whose membership is charged with duties including management of the tree nursery; that is, sowing of seeds, watering and weeding as well as record keeping for the activity. A smaller group of students in the said clubs to represent the whole school population as regards tree nursery establishment is necessary for the purpose of accountability and project productivity. However, our forestry curriculum for schools is taught to the whole student community in every school we engage.
Schools sampled for tree nursery establishment as regards this program are bound to adopt public lands within reach as convenient and with official Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) between the schools and the County Governments. It is in these public lands most of the seedlings raised in the schools should be planted. When seedlings have reached transplanting maturity and there is rain, students are expected to carry them to the planting sites. Since students may not have all the time to plant the seedlings, we see the need to bring in National Youth Service Green Brigades (as we have named it) to energize transplanting of the seedlings in the quest of up-scaling program impacts. If this is soundly implemented, one can only imagine the incredible outcome!
This far, the Green Schools model has proven the most convenient, reliable and cheapest model in restoration of the very coveted national tree cover. The model is unparalleled in view of its viability and sustainability. This is important to note in the wake of an era where the tree resource is under threat posed by the rapidly growing population which is craving for more agricultural land encroaching and clearing the few available trees and forests. People are after quick remunerating activities occasioning felling of trees for both charcoal and timber exerting more pressure on the already-pressed tree resource (IPED, 1994; FAO, 2003). The situation has been made worse because of the negative and almost lethal impacts of global warming which brings with it climate change (Darkoh, 2003). The net result of all these factors has caused a life-threatening occurrence of depletion of the general water resource and this partly explains why even the large streams and rivers in the nation are drying up! Practical intervention measures to remedy this phenomenon are urgently needed or else the situation will run to irreversible proportions. A national water crisis is looming and greatly eminent. Introduction of the quick-establishing bamboo is recommended for water catchment extents to salvage this desperate situation of dwindling water resource.
Forestry Clubs of Kenya is working to create worthwhile partnerships with County Governments and relevant national Ministries in response to this unnecessary situation of treelessness in our nation. Engaging National Youth Service (NYS) in the tree planting makes the project cheaper the more, and enhances convenience towards achieving the stipulated objective of a dependable national forest cover.
A synergy of the relevant Government ministries together with County Governments is unavoidable if we are to achieve the mandate of the Green Schools program in its slightest.
The project will be implemented evenly in all the 47 Counties of the nation of Kenya in phases. Equal number of schools in each County will be sampled for tree nursery establishment to ensure uniformity in spreading impacts of the project.
Main Project Components
The following are the major project activities:
- Sampling schools for project implementation in each County.
- Identification of public lands the schools sampled for this project will adopt for tree planting in all the Counties of the nation of Kenya.
- Tree nursery establishment in sampled schools for a steady supply of seedlings to ensure realistic reforestation.
- Mobilization of National Youth Service Green Brigades for transplanting of seedlings.
- Training pupils/students and NYS Green Brigades on sound environmental conservation and tree nursery technology. A separate curriculum has been designed to this effect.
- Establishment of a synergy with like-minded stakeholders for enhanced impacts in environmental conservation.
To achieve the above, the anticipated players are:
- Ministries of Environment, Education, Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs and Interior and Coordination of National Government.
- Sampled schools for tree nursery establishment.
- National Youth Service (NYS) who will do the bulk of transplanting of seedlings in public lands.
- County lands offices that will aid the process of schools adopting public lands to plant trees therein.
Sampling Schools for Project Implementation
- Out of each County, fifty (50) schools will be sampled for this reforestation program. Both primary and secondary schools will be considered for tree nursery establishment.
- The criterion for sampling schools for project implementation include availability of reliable source of water and adequate space to place a tree nursery as well as general willingness of a school to host such a tree nursery activity.
- Each sampled school will be facilitated with appropriate seeds and other nursery materials by the County Government, relevant national Government ministries and other organizations. The pupils/students will then be trained on the science of tree nursery technology by forestry specialists from our Forestry Clubs of Kenya.
- When seedlings are mature, each school will first plant a portion of the seedlings they raise within their school compounds and the remaining portion of seedlings is what will be taken by the schools to the public lands they have already adopted. School parents as well as the locality adjacent to schools are also expected to receive seedlings from the school-based tree nurseries to plant in their private farms. In this, and as mentioned earlier, schools become a source of seedlings for whole community reforestation.
The Role of National Youth Service (NYS) in the Project
After schools have delivered mature seedlings to planting sites – the public lands they have already adopted – the National Youth Service (NYS) Green Brigades will come in to assist in transplanting of the seedlings. Even though most of the tree planting will be done by NYS youths, school children are expected to also plant a number of seedlings in the public lands as convenient, to foster a sense of ownership of the tree planting since they are frontline partners in this whole project. Before transplanting is done, NYS youths will be trained on the scientific way of planting seedlings. After planting the seedlings, a few of NYS youths will be left behind in the already planted sites for preferably a year with an arrangement of both National and County governments. The few youths left behind will do the following:
- Offer protection to the young plants from roaming and free-range grazing livestock.
- Replace seedlings that dry up or are damaged to ensure high seedling survival percentage.
- Water the planted seedlings during months of hostile weather conditions assisted by school children. The watering can be done once in a week using water from other sources including use of tankers in a way that it will be cost-effective.
Merits of Engaging Schools and NYS in the Program
- Without exaggeration, this Green Schools tree planting model is a highly impacting reforestation program and yet very cheap since the bulk of seedlings to be planted will be raised by school youths who will provide free labour at both nursery level and during transplanting. It is true that buying individual seedlings of the millions needed for reasonable national reforestation is a costly and unsustainable venture.
- The systematic training offered to pupils/students on roles of trees in the definition of environment, on tree nursery technology and on how to plant and grow trees will be to the benefit of the school youths. The youths are able then to make use of the knowledge to conserve our environment now and in the future as some use it for self-employment after school.
- This is a very viable model of reforestation which is easy to scale up and duplicate everywhere.
- As mentioned earlier, both school youths and NYS Green Brigades will replace the dead seedlings so that we have a high seedling survival percentage for the coveted tree cover in the future in the planted sites.
- NYS will make it easy as regards transplanting of mature seedlings. County Governments are encouraged to set aside special public lands that will specialize in producing wood for commercial purposes only. If this is done, the County Governments are bound to make much money in the future to enhance their development agenda.
EXPECTED PROGRAM OUTPUT
- Reasonable tree cover that will improve rainfall yields for better agriculture to boost household income.
- Well trained school youths so that the culture of tree planting becomes part and parcel of their lives.
- Creation of hundreds of thousand jobs for especially National Youth Service graduates to reduce the rampant unemployment as we make Kenya a little greener to reap the benefits thereof. We have chosen to include NYS in this program in the quest of boosting conservation efforts and impacts.
- Restored water sources for streams and rivers to flow again with an upward increase in general water resource in the nation.
- Reduced drought occurrence in especially the vast drylands of Kenya to enhance pastoralism and general food output having improved microclimates therein.
- Evenly productive nation so that every part of the country can realistically support life regardless of their ecological and climatical status.
- Existence of a strong and well-defined synergy of relevant stakeholders in the nation to work together for a better conserved environment in the future.
ANTICIPATED PROJECT IMPACTS
Green Schools Program and Vision 2030
Sound environmental health is the surest foundation on which economic health, human health, social health and cultural health should sit. The implication is that a poor environment will always have a negative reflection in all aspects of our daily living.
This very viable and productive Green Schools program will contribute the following towards achievement of vision 2030 goals:
(i) The many trees planted will increase rainfall yields boosting:
- Agricultural productivity positively affecting food-processing industries with an overall increase in food security. A hungry nation is an angry nation. Agriculture is Kenya’s
economic mainstay and there is need to be on the alert in this regard.
- Tourism industry in that rivers flowing through the parks will be restored and wild animals will have both adequate water and food.
- Power-generation industry for dams will have enough water to keep turbines running so as to conveniently light all other industries.
(ii) Trees planted on large scale have a capacity to reduce aridity and desert conditions minimizing drought occurrence. Almost 80% of Kenya falls in Arid and Semi-Arid Land (ASAL) classification and this is where drought blossoms. Rigorous tree planting programs are bound to reverse the drought trend in these lands to improve on animal husbandry and other arid-land-friendly programs. All this translates to a stable economy and so development of our country.
2. Green Schools Program and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
This Green Schools tree planting program definitely influences achievement of Sustainable Development Goals. The program has direct positive influence on the following SDGs:
- Goal 1 – No poverty
- Goal 2 – Zero hunger
- Goal 3 – Good health and well-being
- Goal 4 – Quality education
- Goal 6 – Clean water and sanitation
- Goal 7 – Affordable and clean energy
- Goal 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
- Goal 13 – Climate action
- Goal 14 – Life below water
3. Green Schools Program and Climate Change
Climate change due to global warming has become an international threat. It is the product of Greenhouse gas accumulation in the atmosphere holding back solar radiation that is meant to escape from the earth. The rapid increase in global temperature is attributed to this phenomenon. One of the most important Greenhouse gases is Carbon dioxide which green plants utilize in the process of food synthesis called photosynthesis. Large scale tree planting thus would provide the best sink for most of the atmospheric carbon, qualifying as the cheapest approach in remedying impacts of climate change. This climate change has come with serious negatives including:
- Altered weather patterns
- Disease outbreaks
- Prolonged droughts leading to malnutrition due to reduced food output
- Heat waves
- Sea level rise and marine ecosystem disorientation, and
- Ecological imbalances.
Due to these dangerous outcomes, there is need to strategize for both mitigation and adaptation against the impacts of climate change. Green schools program harbours elements that enable mitigation and also facilitate rural populations to adapt to the unfavourable impacts of this phenomenon. The planted trees will sequester the excess carbon dioxide in mitigation and there will be increased rainfall yields in return of agricultural output in the aspect of adaptation. Further in the aspect of adaptation, farmers will earn money after sale of mature trees. In the course of all this, we shall be working to achieve the international standards of 10% tree cover. This program is equally of much value in meeting objectives of the REDD+ approach towards reducing pangs due to global warming and the resultant climate change.
4. Green Schools Program and the Government’s Four-pillar Agenda
The timely Four-pillar Agenda of the Government include: food security to have a well-fed population, affordable health care for citizens, competitive manufacturing industry and affordable housing for all. The objectives of any of these four development pillars will be achieved best with a stable environment for each of the pillars draw directly from the environment.
PROGRAM 2: INDIVIDUAL FARMER TREE PLANTING PROGRAM
Forestry Clubs of Kenya trains and encourages farmers to do on-farm tree growing for agroforestry (trees inter-planted with crops) and commercial purpose through establishment of woodlots to involve especially tree species that provide marketable wood products including but not limited to timber and posts.
PROGRAM 3: OFFICIAL RURAL WOMEN AND YOUTH GROUPS TREE NURSERY PROGRAM
Part of the mandate of Forestry Club of Kenya is to train rural women and youth groups on the technology of medium-scale tree nurseries to breed seedlings that group members can sell and earn money to meet their basic needs of their daily living including: food, education for their children, shelter and clothing. We wish to go an extra step to build the capacity of the said groups and motivate them to save from the proceeds of the forestry projects they undertake in return of sound investments in the quest of boosting general community livelihoods as we reduce the unnecessary rural poverty.