Youth engaged in the Kazi Mtaani social protection programme in Kajiado County have so far planted over 5000 tree seedlings.
The cohorts who received training on management of tree nurseries and seedlings have planted trees for sale and donations to private and public institutions across the county.
According to Mohammed Saruni, one of the cohorts, many youth have gained immense knowledge on tree planting and have now developed interest in environmental conservation.
Saruni noted that some even managed to save money and established own tree nurseries thus becoming financially independent.
“We have been able to engage ourselves in tree planting even at our homes for shades and also for beautifying our compounds. We went through training on how to prepare the nurseries, seedbeds and take care of the seedlings until they are ready,” he said.
Saruni said that before he joined the program, he had no interest in trees or environmental conservation but he will now establish a tree nursery and earn money by selling seedlings. He called on unemployed youth to embrace tree planting as an economic activity instead of engaging in crime which he maintained does not pay.
Another cohort, Joseph Maina, said he had gained knowledge on the various types of tree seedlings suitable for arid and semi-arid areas. Maina called on the youth to conserve and protect the environment by engaging in tree planting to ensure the country attains the 10 percent forest cover by 2022.
“We should join hands to ensure that we conserve the environment through planting trees and carrying out environmental conservation campaigns. This will not only make us active but also enable us earn a living” he advised.
He added that Kajiado has a low percentage of tree cover and thus afforestation would not only promote forest cover but also preserve water catchment areas.
Maina likewise advised the youth to stop concentrating only on looking for white collar jobs as there are many avenues of earning a living such as establishing tree nurseries.
By Rop Janet and Alice Wambui