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NEMA Incorporates Gusii Elders in Environmental Conservation

The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has trained the Gusii elders on environmental awareness as part of their corporate social responsibility activities aimed at conserving and protecting the environment.

Speaking to the press at a hotel in Gucha Sub County, NEMA Director General Representative Dr. Kennedy Ondimu said the elders are key in mainstreaming environmental matters because they are the custodians of the Abagusii culture.

“We are urging the elders to promote the growing of indigenous trees and inculcate cultural values that can assist this community to move to greater heights in terms of development,” he said.

Dr. Ondimu encouraged the tree nursery growers in Kisii and Nyamira counties to ensure they plant indigenous tree species that are eco-friendly and minimize the nurseries for eucalyptus trees.

He noted the indigenous tree species they are promoting provide firewood and biodiversity in terms of food for birds such that they cannot go to the farms to destroy crops.

Dr. Ondimu pointed out that Kisii County risks losing its water supply in future because the wetlands and swamps have been encroached into in terms of human settlement, agricultural production, and the construction of infrastructure on the wetlands.

NEMA Board Member Amos Andama noted that environmental conservation should not be left to the government alone and called for concerted efforts to protect the environment.

Andama said that Gusii elders had agreed to include environmental protection and conservation as one of their main mandates and will be working with NEMA as champions in matters of environmental conservation.

Gusii Council of Elders Chairman James Matundura expressed the need for communities to work together with environmental stakeholders in protecting the environment and specifically, educating the community on the importance of removing eucalyptus trees from the wetlands.

Matundura said they had been reminded of the crucial role they play in environmental conservation and being at the forefront in protecting the county’s wetlands.

After the training, NEMA officials, Gusii elders, and the local leadership proceeded for a tree-growing exercise at Riamo Technical Institute grounds in the same sub-county.

By Mercy Osongo

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