Daughter of the Forest

Born at the foot of Mt. Kenya to a tree hugger, my love for the environment is what you would describe as baked in.

Born at the foot of Mt. Kenya to a tree hugger, my love for the environment is what you would describe as baked in. I have been a tree planter since I was four. The love of nurturing the environment is something my father instilled in me at an early age.

I find privilege and honour in being one of the very few girls from Kabaru village that were fortunate enough to attain an education and therefore a descent employment in the great Nairobi city of Kenya.

Currently a YELP fellow in the 2018 Class with LéO Africa Institute, I seek to learn, discover and shape myself as a better young African leader.

I recall the 4th of April in 2017 when I first received a call from natives of my home village notifying me about the massive destruction of the Kabaru forest which neighbors Mt.Kenya.

I regret having not taken any serious action at the time except for the few pictures that I took to document the changes in the forest every other time I visited home.

The year 2018 began on a sad note for Kabaru village. There was a serious shortage of water supply in the village due to drying up of rivers springing from the Kabaru forest at the foot of Mountain Kenya. These rivers were the main fountain for livelihood sustainability in the area.

The shortage in water supply meant decreased production of food, leading to starvation, sanitation vulnerability as well as unemployment for the casual laborers involved in agriculture, majority of whom were youth.

The sad realization took me to Twitter with a campign dubbed #SaveMtKenyaForest under which I shared photos and videos that I had kept from my documentation of the changes on the forest throughout the whole of 2017.

The campaign which was solely started on 14 January, 2018, saw the Kenya Forest Service issue a press release on Kabaru forest the next day (15 January) in which they denied cause of any danger to forests.

By this time the online campaign #SaveMtKenyaForest had transitioned into #SaveOurForestKe under which millions of Kenyans were sharing about the general destruction of forests in the country. This forced media to pick interest in the campaign hence the feature by Dan Kaburu of K24 television.

Consequently, the government through the Deputy President called for a 90-day moratorium on Forest clearing and later the formation of a task force charged with the task of monitoring and protecting forests as well as other natural resources.

The task force is also responsible for researching on the extent of degradation of the environment whilst recommending corrective measures to revive the forests.

The task force has since then unearthed massive destruction of forests in Kenya, with the aid of insights and contributions from the Twitter chats under the #SaveOurForestsKe hashtag. These insights later fed into a submission paper that I presented on 12th March, 2018 as a memonrandum to the task force on forest management.

The hashtag in total has gathered 1.6 million impressions on Twitter alone where it is still a big topic as I continue to relentlessly reach out and mobilize communities living around forests to plant trees.

In addition to planting trees, I have found the necessity to firstly educate community people on alternative ways of sourcing income and energy without having to resort to deforestation.

Leading the youth of Kabaru village in a tree planting activity.
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Wanjuhi Anne Njoroge
Author: Wanjuhi Anne Njoroge
Wanjuhi Njoroge is a 29 year old go-getting serial entrepreneur, founder & President of Nelig Group LTD and RootEd Africa. She is also a YELP fellow, 2018

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