10,000 KIDS TREES
10,000 KIDS PLANTING 1 TREE EACH DRAWN FROM SCHOOLS ACROSS KENYA
10,000 Kids Trees is an initiative by Youth Conservation Awareness Program (YCAP) which is a non-profit program under the sustainability department of Cisticola Tours LTD. The whole concept is based on the fact that Kenya’s tree cover is diminishing each day and that the future of our kids is hanging on a thin thread. The kids are the future and we all need to put our efforts on them. From our baseline survey, we have established that kids across Kenya are willing to plant trees and care for them; if only they can be guided and facilitated to do so. If we can facilitate each kid to plant a tree, we can ensure that the future generation will be safer. Each student will take care of their tree for the entire time they are in school. This will ensure survival of the tree.
According to the U.N. FAO, 6.1% of Kenya is forested. Of this 18.9% is classified as primary forest, the most biodiverse and carbon-dense form of forest. Change in Forest Cover: Between 1990 and 2010, Kenya lost an average of 12,050 ha or 0.32% per year. In total, between 1990 and 2010, Kenya lost 6.5% of its forest cover or around 241,000 ha.
Kenya’s forests contain 476 million metric tons of carbon in living forest biomass. Biodiversity and Protected Areas: Kenya has some 1847 known species of amphibians, birds, mammals and reptiles according to figures from the World Conservation Monitoring Centre. Most of the species that depend on forest for survival are on the verge of extinction, both locally and regionally. We therefore need to start conserving these forest and creating many more forest areas by continued afforestation efforts.
TANGIBLE IMPACTS OF DEFORESTATION
As is evident now, Kenya’s rivers are drying up at a very alarming rate. From the great Tana and Ewaso Ng’iro North River which are the main source of water for the Northern Arid Areas, to rivers that flow from Mt. Elgon, Mt. Kenya, Aberdare Ranges, the Mau Escarpment and Cherangani hills, the story is the same. In central Kenya, rivers that have always gushed down the highlands, giving nourishment to millions of Kenyans downstream, are drying. The impacts of this are being felt by millions of Kenyans each day. For example, Rivers Narumoru, Burguret, Sagana, Thegu, Likii, Gura and Ragati have all decreased their flow. In the Coastal region, Voi River is facing drying-risk due to widespread environmental degradation. In western Kenya, Rivers Yala, Khalaba, Isukhu, Munang’uba Musila and Lusumu are all in danger; while in the capital city, Nairobi, Rivers Ruaka, Karura, Gitathuru, Thigiri and Mathare are facing similar fate.
Experts have warned that unless urgent measures are taken to improve management of forests, the situation will snowball into a crisis.
Forests determine the amount, rate and quality of water that flows into streams and finally into dams. Trees enable rainwater to seep into soil since living and decaying roots make soil porous. Rainwater can seep into such porous soil several hundred times faster than it can seep through non-porous soil. Due to deforestation, floods have been experienced in many parts of Kenya such as Nairobi, Budalang’I and the entire Rift Valley. Areas that receive minimal rainfall like Garissa have also experienced flooding in recent years, whenever there are long rains. Rivers in the Rift Valley have also had excess discharge whenever there is rainfall causing a massive increase in water level and flooding on lakes such as Lake Baringo, Lake Nakuru, lake Bogoria and Lake Naivasha. This leads to loss of property and livelihoods.
Agriculture – food shortage
Forests, contribute to food security, nutrition and livelihoods in many ways, including as a direct source of food, fuel, and income. Trees are important providers of ecosystem services, such as maintaining or restoring soil fertility, protecting watersheds and water courses. For most of the year, herders in Arid and Semi-arid Lands (ASALs) depend on trees as fodder for their livestock.
As a habitat to an estimated 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity, forests provide genetic material important for crop and livestock improvement and are home to very many pollinator species, that support crop development. They can also help to reduce the susceptibility of people to the harsh effects of climate change by providing food and other ecosystem services during critical periods of climate-driven food shortages. With the lack of the 10% tree cover that is recommended by the United Nations, many Kenyan households continue to suffer due to food shortage and the solution to this problem can only be found by planting more trees. If each kid would plant a tree, they would be assuring their future kids of a plate of food.
It is very clear that Kenyans need to plant trees. If we are to reach a 10% tree cover or even more, we need to come up with very clear ways of doing it. Many times when trees are planted, most of them do not survive due to lack of proper care during their most vulnerable growing age. We intend to help kids to plant trees in their schools and take care of them until they finish school. If each kid can take care of at least one tree until it is ready to survive on its own, then we are assured of a better forest cover in the coming years.
We intend to do this every year when the long rains begin in Kenya. This will ease the pressure of watering the trees from the kids. We want the whole world to join in this initiative. If you can spare your pocket change, then be assured that a kid in Kenya will plant a tree. The world is a connected village and we all breathe air from the same atmosphere. If ecosystems do well on one part of the world, then the entire globe will benefit.
We can all do it and make the dreams of these kids become a reality- they want to plant trees, let us help them do it.
Monitoring and evaluation
Trees cannot survive without adequate care and close supervision. After planting trees, we will have a database of all the planted trees, the kid that is taking care of each tree and we will incorporate measures to ensure that we replace any tree that might not survive. This will be done by incorporating the schools administration into the monitoring program. If a tree dries, the kid will report to the school patron and he/she will alert YCAP. Once informed of a dry tree, we shall replace the same tree species immediately and the kid will keep nurturing it.
The cost of growing one tree is only 10 US dollars. This includes all costs from acquiring the seedlings, potting the holes, planting and care. The students will be assisted to get watering equipment or assisted to improvise from local materials to ensure that they have all it takes to care for their trees.
You can also support more than one tree, by contributing more than 10 US dollars- we look forward to receiving your kind donations.