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MoE has enhance a 15B National Tree Growing towards Climate Change

The Ministries of Education (MoE) and Environment, Climate Change and Forestry (MECCF) have expressed their determination to champion the growing of the 15 billion National Tree Growing Programme to raise the country’s tree cover to 30 percent.            

The Ministry of Education is one of the key drivers of the 15billion National Tree growing programme which is a flagship government climate action initiative anchored by the 10-year National landscape ecosystem restoration strategy.

Addressing a joint press briefing at the Nairobi Arboretum on the Education sector’s contribution to the 15 billion National Tree growing programme, Education Cabinet Secretary Ezekiel Machogu and his counterpart of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry Soipan Tuya said the strategy seeks to raise Kenya’s tree cover by 17.8percent from the current 12percent to 30 percent by the year 2032.

The 30 percent will make a total of 10.6 million hectares of the created ecosystem and landscape across 11 intervention areas which the government seeks to restore.

Presenting the joint statement from the two Ministries, Basic Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang said that with an estimated 17 million learners both at O’Level of learning, Early Childhood Development to Universities, and 6000 educators in Technical Vocational, Education and Training (TVET) institutions spread across the country, the government has a target of growing 35 million trees and producing 300 million seedlings annually.

Dr Kipsang said the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry is working with the government and society delivery framework which has made tremendous progress including development of the National Land scape ecosystem restoration strategy 2023-2032.

The framework also includes the construction of the new seed centres to increase the high quality of tree seedlings, establishing 15 billion National Tree Growing Programme and restoration of the secretariat headed by the coordinator and anchored at the state department for forestry, as well as the development of forestry adaptation and tree growing initiative framework and overseeing the growing of over 300 million seedlings across the country.

The PS noted that the two ministries have resolved in an inter-ministerial meeting held on Tuesday to enhance the collaboration in tree growing of which the Ministry of Environment, Climate change and Forestry will ensure timely production and provision of 15,000kg of tree seeds annually to enable the Ministry of Education meet its seedling production target of 300milion.

He said that through the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) and Kenya Research Institute the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry will provide the Ministry of Education with technical support on seedling production and tree growing.

“The two ministries will jointly strengthen the coordination of tree growing and seedling propagation in schools and learning institutions by cascading coordination framework beyond the vocal points in the state department in the counties and sub-county levels,” said the PS.

The Integrated MECCF committee application and the MoE Elimu application are expected to enhance recording and reporting of tree growing activities by learning institution, through the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Digital ICT officers who will ensure that the two applications are real time by integrating and ensuring  the reporting of tree growing is smooth.

Kipsang said the two ministries will develop an award scheme that will recognise the best performing education institution, and design innovative ways of mobilising resources for seedling production, tree growing by learning institutions which include seeking approval from National Treasury to allocate 5 percent of the Ministry of Education Budget to tree growing activities.

“The National Government Constituency Development Fund has to set aside 5percent to the Ministry of Environment to ensure tree activities are enhanced,” stressed the PS.

Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya for of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry speaking at a media briefing on the 15billion National Tree Growing Programme held at the Nairobi Arboretum grounds where they also planted trees on Tuesday April 2, 2024.

Under the donor support programme, the PS said that they will ensure that the allocation of budget in all programmes run together with the development as a component of the environmental activity and urged the ministries to design communication and awareness creation campaigns.

In her remarks, CS Tuya announced that the Environment ministry is a technical and coordinating ministry for the 15billion tree growing initiative which has made several strides towards achieving the target set by the government.

She commended the work that the MoE has undertaken since in the ministry of Environment, set targets on the tree planting for ministries and agencies.

“Ministry of Education is one of the front-line institutions because of the network, and the numbers it has given on trainers and learners making it have its presence at every level of government,” said Tuya.

The CS announced that her ministry is engaging with development partners across the board and private sector for the necessary support to enable the programme take off, adding that the engagement which is a strategy by the Ministry of Education will be launched soon so that each Ministry, Department and Agency has its ownership.

Tuya said “Everybody has a role to play in this strategy. We have to think about protection of each and every single tree that everybody sets out to plant in the form of fencing the areas that anyone is going to do the tree planting,” and added “We have to think about water strategy, labour and out of school term season”.

In his address, CS Machogu said the two ministries will collaborate to start a tree nursery at every level starting with higher education where it has 74 public and private institutions which he noted must have a tree nursery.

“We have over 300 TVET institutions countrywide which must have a tree nursery since through the nursery, the ministry will have the support of getting the number of seedlings to give to the community across the country,” said Machogu.

By Sharon Atieno

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