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Nyeri on its way to becoming the Scouting City of the World

Talks between the County government of Nyeri and the Kenya Scouts Association of Kenya to have Nyeri, the final home of Lord Baden Powell, recognized as the Scouting City of the World are at an advanced stage.

According to the County Executive Committee Member in charge of Trade, Tourism and Co-operatives, Diana Kendi, both the county and the Scouting Association are at the penultimate stages of their deliberations which will culminate with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in March this year.

Kendi said that the MOU will create a framework for funding scouting activities and expanding the scouts’ movement which has 2.2 million registered members in the country.

“We are well on our way to making Nyeri the Scouting city of the world. We are in the process of entering an MOU with the Kenya Scouts Association. That MOU will then enable us to have a framework of funding scouting activities and making the scouts movement become bigger,” said Kendi.

Kendi was speaking at the Baden Powell gardens in Nyeri during preparations to mark the 167th Founders Day (Powell’s birthday and Founderee) and 115 years since scouting began in Kenya. Also present during the briefing were the Chief Executive Officer of the Scouting Association, Moses Danda, the Deputy Chief Commissioner of the Kenya Scouts Association, Alice Kihungi, the officer in-charge of scouting at the Ministry of Education, Eliud Wambua and host of officials from the Kenya Scouts Association.

The CEO noted that in addition, the association will be pushing to have the annual Founder’s Day adopted as a global event. Danda said that the recognition would unlock the tourism and business potential especially during the annual celebrations that see scouts from all over the world troop to Nyeri every February to mark the important date in the scouting calendar.

“We are talking about unlocking Scouts Tourism in Nyeri. The fact that Baden Powell chose to have his remains interred here in Nyeri is a chance for us to use this effectively for the benefit of Kenya and Nyeri in particular,” said Danda.

“If adopted, it will benefit the country and Nyeri so much in terms of revenues from tourism and business because the world will be converging here in Nyeri for the global event,” he added.

The Baden Powell gardens are the final resting place of the founder of the world scouting movement, Lord Baden Powell and his wife Olave Powell. The garden also hosts a scouts’ information centre.

In addition to the gardens, Nyeri also hosts Powell’s final home, the Paxtu Museum. The four-roomed cottage which is housed within the Outspan Hotel in Nyeri, is where Powell spent the last three years of his life before his death in 1941. The museum now hosts his relics.

Every year in February, Scouts troop to Nyeri to celebrate Founders Day which is celebrated on the 22nd day of the month. This year’s celebrations will be held on Saturday (today) under the theme, Scouts Championing Environmental Sustainability through Innovation.

The Deputy Chief Commissioner of the Kenya Scouts Association, Alice Kihungi said that 10,000 seedlings will be planted at the Tumutumu Hill in Mathira in support of the theme and the presidential directive to plant at least 15 billion trees by the year 2032.

By Wangari Mwangi and Molly Kendi

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