FAO in Kenya

Young women leading conservation efforts in Kenya under the AIM4Forests programme

Celebrating the Forest Carbon Champions: Young women leading conservation efforts in Kenya under the AIM4Forests programme.

On World Environment Day 2024, we celebrate the achievements of ten inspiring young women – the Forest Carbon Champions – who are leading the way for environmental conservation efforts with their local communities across eight counties in Kenya.

Since the start of the year, these champions have engaged over 10,550 community members and planted over 150,000 trees in forest restoration activities across the country. Their efforts have catalyzed broader collaboration and collective action among conservation stakeholders nationwide, aligning with Kenya’s ambitious target to restore and conserve 10.6 million hectares of degraded landscapes and ecosystems by planting and nurturing 15 billion trees by 2032.

Champions celebrations on the World Environment Day

Below are some ways the Champions celebrate World Environment Day:

Theresa Aoko, the current coordinator of the Kenya Forest Working Group from Nairobi shares her plans: "As youth engaged in forestry, we plan to plant 12,000 trees, including indigenous and fruit trees, across 10 schools in Siaya County to promote youth engagement in reforestation."

Patricia Kombo, founder of PaTree Initiative states: "I will be participating in a youth assembly, organized by the Catholic Youth Network for Environmental Sustainability in Africa. The event targeting 80 youth aims to raise awareness and showcase young people's actions, highlighting their critical voices in addressing desertification."

Grace Kimaru, founder of Foster Green Organization, highlights her plans in Nyeri: "We will distribute 100 fruit seedlings to local farmers and plant 1000 tree seedlings at Matuto Primary School in Mukurweini."

Maureen Njeri, member of Changers Organization states: “We are planning to do cleanup activities in two shopping centers in Murang’a town and hold a climate talk targeting residents from 300 households.”

FAO's support to the Champions

FAO and the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) empowered the participation of the Forest Carbon Champions through the Improving Measurement for Payments to Reduce Emissions and Strengthen Sinks- IMPRESSproject (2021-2023). The IMPRESS project made significant progress in measuring deforestation, monitoring restoration activities, and expanding monitoring in Kenya to include mangrove forests. As early career volunteers in the project activities, the Forest Carbon Champions were able to gain valuable experience in forestry, wetlands, and natural resource management.

We used the knowledge gained from the SEPAL remote sensing trainings to monitor threatened tree species in Ramogi Hills, informing our restoration strategy while incorporating indigenous knowledge. We plan to replicate this study in Cherengani Hills, Western Kenya” reflectsOlgah Hellens, founder of iConserve Organization in Kisumu.

Building on the success of IMPRESS, FAO with the financial support of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, launched the AIM4Forests - Accelerating Innovative Monitoring for Forestsprogramme in 2023. The global programme will further enhance Kenya's National Forest Monitoring System (NFMS), aligning it with national priorities and policies. These young Champions will play a crucial role in AIM4Forests planned activities in Kenya, where they will be invited to share their valuable insights during its implementation.

Young women Champions leading the way in AIM4Forests

AIM4Forests is a five-year initiative designed to support forest monitoring through modern technologies, including space data and remote sensing. The program aims to address technical and institutional gaps, integrate tailored NFMS into national institutions, and enhance the participation of women, youth as well as Indigenous Peoples (IPs) and local communities in forest monitoring.

The key objective of the Forest Carbon Champion Programme 2024 would be to mentor and give the champions a voice to maximize their positive impacts on forests in Kenya,” Eva Ntara, Facilitator, states.

Through collaborative efforts and linking global work in innovation and forest monitoring to local-level actions, AIM4Forests is poised to drive meaningful change and impact, safeguarding our natural resources for future generations. The young women Forest Carbon Champions, with their passion and dedication, are the forefront of this transformative journey.

For more information contact:

Joseph Othieno

FAO Kenya Communication Specialist

[email protected]