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Planting hope for the future – Interview with Kenfrey Katui

I had the pleasure to talk with Kenfrey Katui, the founder of Scope Intervention (Saving and Conservation of Our Planet Earth Intervention), a Kenyan non-profit organization. They are working with local communities in an effort to preserve and regenerate the natural environment and improve the communities’ resilience to poverty and climate change.

To plant trees is to have hope for the future. What gives you hope and energy to keep on doing what you do?

I don’t just see a disaster spread and do nothing. What will I tell my children and my grandchildren when they ask of what I did to make earth a safe and sustainable planet for them, their children and their grandchildren? Since I don’t want to be among the many destroying this beautiful planet in the name of ‘economic development’, I will plant trees, I will reduce my carbon footprint. I have grown up watching forests around me get destroyed, seeing the beauty of our land diminish and the future of our children put in danger. The wild fruits I enjoyed as a child are fast disappearing, our air is becoming dirtier every new day and I am not sure if the next generation will even have a shade. Prof. Wangari Maathai (Kenyan Nobel Laureate) once said that it’s the little things citizen do that will make a difference. Imagine if 7 billion of us can each plant a tree in a year, how many trees will we have planted in a decade?

How does the planting of fruit trees affect local communities? Tell us more about the “Fruit and Tree Project” initiative.

14359674_10210107378701957_166532010_oFruit and tree is a project designed to improve the state of environment for communities living in Arid and Semi-Arid lands while improving their livelihoods and nutrition. The project being implemented in through schools in Baringo County: one of the counties highly vulnerable to effects of climate change in Kenya. It involves donation of fruit tree seedlings for establishment of fruit tree farms in the schools and enhancing the capacity of school going children to initiate and promote environmental conservation initiatives in their schools and homes. In the long run, the fruit trees planted will help improve the state of the environment, reduce greenhouse gas emission, yield fresh locally grown fruits that will be a supplemental source of nutrition, and the fruits once sold will provide income for the schools and local people.

Tell us more about your efforts to save the Mau Forest ?

Mau Forest is a forest complex is the largest indigenous montane forest in East Africa. The forest provide invaluable ecological services, in terms of river flow regulation, flood mitigation, water storage, recharge of groundwater, reduced soil erosion and siltation, water purification, promoting biodiversity and micro‐climate regulation. It also supports key economic sectors, including: energy, tourism, agriculture (cash crops, subsistence crops, and livestock) as well as water supply to urban centers and industries. Despite its importance 104,000 hectares representing over 24% of the Mau Complex area have been destroyed over the last 10 years due to irresponsible human activities. To curb this forest destruction, Scope Intervention partnered with the government of Kenya through Kenya Forest Service (KFS), the local community (including local Community Forest Association and other groups) to adopt 100 Hectares for rehabilitation in 2015. The adoption involves planting of the trees and talking care of them until they can survive on their own. So far, we have planted over 100,000 trees of both indigenous and exotic species. Scope Intervention is also building the capacity of the local community in sustainable forest management and helping them adopt alternative sources of livelihoods that will promote the conservation of the forest.

What are the biggest challenges that you have you met so far ?

Our biggest challenge is funding. We can do a lot more in terms of tree planting and improving capacities of the local communities in forest conservation if we can access more financial support.

How many tree species are you planting ? Do you have a favorite one ?

So far we have planted around 15 different species. On whether I have a favorite one, NO! Different species have attributes that makes them unique and beautiful.

Do you have any tips or advice for people who want to plant trees?

Make sure you plant tree seedlings suitable for your specific area. Learn the distinctive characteristics of the trees you want to plant and get advice on whether your environment is suitable for them. Some trees do well in dry regions; others do well in places with sufficient rainfall. Different trees flourish also on different kinds of soils.

Is there something else you want to say to the followers of MTLA?

Scope Intervention is a Youth-Led Non-Profit Organization run by passionate and ambitious group of young people and our biggest challenge is funding. Right now, the rains are on-going and we would like to plant some trees with you; 1 US Dollar can plant 5 trees. Kindly get in touch with us through our mail address: info@scopeintervention.org and we will be glad to have you as our friend. We are also working to establish a tree nursery that will produce at least 2 million tree seedlings to support our tree planting activities for next year. Kindly get in touch with us also on how you can become part of this ambitious and beautiful project. Otherwise, let’s have more trees and less assholes. Remember to be part of our social network Twitter: @scopei_org Facebook: Scope Intervention

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