FAO in Kenya

Kirisia Forest Restoration Efforts Wins a Global Award

Carla Mucavi FAO Kenya Rep., FAO Director General QU Dongyu and Douglas Leboiyare chairman of Kirisia Forest Association during the award ceremony.

Rome, Italy  The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) today honored the Kirisia Community Forest Association in Kenya for their efforts towards Kirisia Forest restoration under the FAO Achievements Awards programme.

The Achievements Award were presented by FAO Director-General (DG) QU Dongyu at a ceremony held during the World Food Day global celebrations in Rome, Italy.

The DG said “This year’s WFD is unique because FAO celebrates colleagues and partners that are working to improve people’s lives. FAO awards demonstrates best practices to make positive change towards greater agri-food systems. It aims for zero food waste, care for natural resources and reduce greenhouse emissions.”

Through FAO, Global Environment Facility (GEF), and Kenya Forestry Service, the Kirisia Community Forest Association took lead in restoring Kirisia Forest, which was on its deathbed. The forest, which supports over 10,000 households, had been destroyed by human activities such as excessing and uncoordinated livestock grazing, threating agriculture livelihoods for future generations.

The approach targeted the indigenous communities who for generations had benefited from the forest and previously managed it sustainably. Through awareness creation and the participatory forests management approach the communities who had settled in the forest voluntarily left the forest and started working towards its restoration.  

The FAO Kenya Representative Carla Mucavi congratulated the Kirisia Community Forest Association for the maiden FAO achievement award. “Through their efforts they have shown that with Better Environment it is possible to attain Better Production, Better Nutrition, Better Life.”

Kirisia forest is a critical ecosystem that has supported livelihoods and cultural heritage of the Samburu indigenous community for generations. The community blamed the degradation on earlier approaches that did not involve them and applauded the current efforts that have put them at the center of the restoration. The restoration of the 92,000 hectares of Kirisia forest under sustainable forest management is at the heart of this achievement award.

“I cannot express my excitement and that of our members for this outstanding achievement. As the Samburu indigenous community, Kirisia forest is critical ecosystem that has supported livelihoods and cultural heritage of the Samburu indigenous community for generations. Thanks to FAO/GEF the traditional systems we developed have been mainstreamed into the participatory forest management plan to secure the 92,000 ha of Kirisia forest,” said Douglas Leboiyare, Chairman, Kirisia Forest Association.

Already, the Kirisia community have benefited with the quick gains of forest restoration mainly; water springs regeneration, livestock fodder, honey production (1.2 tonnes annually), ecotourism, agroforestry and fruit farming and thus building climate resilient livelihoods and ensuring food and nutrition security. The forests is now in the hands of the Kirisia community and the elephants and other wild animals are back again.

FAO Kenya would like to congratulate Kirisia Community Forest Association for the achievement and invite more partners and stakeholders to continue supporting the restoration work in Kirisia forest and elsewhere in Kenya for a greener and more food secure future.