KenGen actively contributes towards environmental conservation initiatives such as mitigation of the effects of climate change particularly for communities whose livelihoods are heavily dependent on rainfall, conservation of biodiversity, and promotion of environmental awareness. One of the ways in which we do this is through afforestation under our Environmental Pillar.
Our flagship project under the Environmental Pillar is the Green Initiative Challenge (GIC), launched in November 2013 that targets primary school pupils and aims to spread a culture of tree growing and conservation of natural resources.
THE GREEN INITIATIVE CHALLENGE (GIC) PILOT
The Green Initiative Challenge (GIC) Pilot aims to address massive deforestation in the semi-arid Machakos and Embu Counties, through a rural schools-led initiative. The pilot promotes environmental awareness through participation of students and the wider school community in planting tree seedlings and nurturing them, in order to develop woodlots in their institutions for environmental and commercial benefits.
The project is designed as a challenge. Each of the participating 81 schools received multi-purpose Cassia siamea and Melia volkensii tree seedlings for their 0.5acre school plot. Cassia siamea is a fast growing tree that provides almost immediate benefits through coppicing (cutting off the branches for firewood without felling the whole tree). It is also good for timber production (furniture and turnery work). Melia volkensii gives highly commercially valuable timber which can be harvested, processed and marketed in bulk. Prizes are awarded based on the highest survival rate of seedlings and use of innovation. The GIC pilot which ends in November 2015, constitutes Phase 1 of the Green Initiative Challenge Project.
THE GREEN INITIATIVE CHALLENGE EXPANSION PROJECT
As a result of the pilot’s success, KenGen Foundation decided to upscale the above pilot into a 10 year project that integrates an additional 919 schools from Embu, Machakos and Kitui counties. The project is being implemented in 2 year phases, with the initial one commencing from November 2015 to end of 2019. This forms Phase II of the GIC project.
These include the following:
- Planting of 324,300 tree seedlings as well as 113,956 fruit seedlings (passion and pawpaw) in approximately 460acres of 919 new schools.
- 4-8 capacity building sessions per year for all participating schools
- 2 Monitoring and Evaluation sessions per year followed by free Rain water Harvesting and
- Storage Training sessions for schools and community members.
- Boost awareness and participation of school children in environmental conservation via sustainable management & harvesting of tree seedlings
- Provide schools with renewable source of wood fuel thereby reducing pressure on surrounding forest resources.
- Diversification of income through sale of timber & non-timber products as well as fruits.
- Contribute to reduction of green-house gases through carbon sequestration by growing woodlots.
- Control soil erosion by increasing topsoil infiltration & reducing runoff.
- Through this project, community members are encouraged to establish ‘household woodlots’ and trained on sustainable rain water harvesting and storage technics.