The Cabinet Secretary for Ministry of Defence Amb Raychelle Omamo welcomes Her Excellency the First Lady of the Republic of Kenya Mrs Margaret Kenyatta at Kibiku Forest during tree planting exercise that was organized by the Ministry of Defence. The exercise is among an Environmental Soldier Program.
Her Excellency the First Lady of the Republic of Kenya Mrs. Margaret Kenyatta presided over a tree planting exercise which was hosted by the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Defence Ambassador Raychelle Omamo at Kibiku Forest Sanctuary in Ngong, Kajiado County on 5th May 2018.
The tree planting exercise was also graced by Ministry of Environment CS Keriako Tobiko, Mrs. Marion Kamau the Chair to the Board of the Green Belt Movement, Ms. Zebib Kavuma, the UN Women Country Director, the Governor Kajiado County Hon. Joseph Ole Lenku and the Director Kenya Forest Service, Ms. Monica Kalenda.
The dignitaries spent the better part of the morning session planting a variety of trees namely; The East African Green Heart, Elgon Teak, Olive tree, Podocarpus falcatus among other species.
Speaking during the occasion, Her Excellency, the First Lady congratulated the Kenya Defence Forces for their resilience to restore forest lands. She thanked the CS Defence for hosting the exercise and also commended her and her Ministry of Environment counterpart CS Keriako Tobiko on the excellent work done to restore Kenya’s forest lands.
“Our climate’s health is failing, we see this so clearly through the decline and extinction of thousands of species of animals and plants. We have all witnessed the phenomenal drying up of rivers and the receding water levels in our dams and water reservoirs, widespread crop failure has also threatened our food security.” – the First Lady said.
She said there was need to do more and challenged the citizens, communities and individuals to look for a lasting solution for the growing socio-economic and development challenges caused by the global climate change.
On her part the Cabinet Secretary for Defence Amb. Raychelle Omamo pointed out that, it was critical to adopt a proactive approach towards environmental restoration. “The country targets to have a 10% tree cover by 2022, this goal requires a plan and a collective resolve to achieve it.” Said Omamo. The Cabinet Secretary had initiated the tree planting exercise as a precursor to the National tree planting day. The event drew its participants primarily from the civilian staff of the Ministry of Defence, Kenya Defence Forces officers and service women cadre, Kenya Forest Service personnel and the local community.
Tree planting exercises are observed annually by the Kenya Defence Forces following the establishment of the Environmental Soldier Program (ESP) in 2003. The programme was initiated, having realized that our environment has a direct relationship to conflict and sustainable resources and livelihood. The soldiers have since embarked on tree planting especially during the long rains season to restore the environment which had been rapidly deteriorated due to climate change and rampant deforestation. This contribution by the KDF adds to the collective national effort at mitigating Environmental degradation.
To date, the Military together with its partners have planted over 23 million trees. The CS Environment and Forestry, Keriako Tobiko, lauded the efforts by the military personnel to restore the degraded forest land and also for adopting forests such as; Thogoto, Kibiku, Ngong and Oloolua.
The Kajiado County Governor, Joseph Ole Lenku reaffirmed the county’s communities environmental conservation saying that the ban on tree logging and that the clarion call to plant trees was already adhered to in the county.
Her Excellency the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta is assisted to plant a tree at Kibiku Forest.
Her Excellency the First Lady Mrs Margaret Kenyatta and Defence Minister Amb Raychelle Omamo plants a tree at Kibiku Forest.
The Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Defence Amb Raychelle Omamo waters a tree after she planted it at Kibiku Forest.
The First Lady Margaret Kenyatta with KDF female personnel after planting a tree at Kibiku Forest.
Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry Keriako Tobiko delivers his address at Kibiku Forest after a tree planting exercise.
Her Excellency the First Lady Margaret Kenyatta gives her keynote address after a tree planting exercise at Kibiku Forest. Over four thousand trees were planted.
The Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Defence Amb Raychelle Omamo having a chat with Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku before the commence of tree planting exercise at Kibiku Forest, Kajiado County.