Kenya celebrates FAO award with a promise to replicate success
The Kenyan government applauded the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) after it received the Edouard Saouma Award during FAO’s 38th Session of its bi-annual governing Conference.
Speaking during the homecoming ceremony on 21 June 2013 in Nairobi, Judy Wakhungu, newly appointed cabinet secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, said that the project, Sustainable Livelihoods Development, would enable community members mainly living adjacent to the forest to develop sustainable environmental alternatives to destructive forest exploitation. She added that the project also provides opportunities to learn livelihood development skills through farmer field schools.
“The Sustainable Livelihoods Development Project marks an important turning point in our efforts to enhance sustainable livelihoods among forest-adjacent communities. There is no time to waste. We must use the knowledge gained and the experience we have acquired to replicate the benefits in other forest ecosystems.”
Dan Rugabira, FAO Representative in Kenya, underscored the close collaboration FAO has had in the past with the Kenyan Forest Service, including providing technical and institutional support to the process of reform, and capacity building for those involved in the forestry sector. “This award-winning project was in fact one such collaborative initiative, that was implemented between 2010-2011.”
Rugabira pointed out that the project’s success hinged on the FAO-developed tools used in the project which helped to assure the project’s efficiency. The tools were Livelihood Farmer Field Schools, Rural Invest and the application of a Mobile Based Monitoring System.
KFS Director David K. Mbugua said that the USD 25,000 cash award would be used as seed money to “start off a Forest Management & Conservation fund under Section 18 of the Forests Act (2005) to be used as a resource mobilization vehicle.” The fund will promote the development of forests, the conservation of indigenous forests, commercial plantations, forest extension services, community-based forest projects and would facilitate education and research activities as well as establishing arboreta and botanical gardens.
Other participants present during the ceremony were the Kenya Wildlife Services, the Kenya Water Towers Agency and representatives from the Community of Forest Associations.
Kenya Forest Service, winners of the Edouard Saouma Award 2012-2013