Nairobi — A charitable trust has launched a Sh8.8 million project to restore forest cover on the slopes of Mt Kenya.
The Safaricom Foundation project was launched during the weekend at Mt Kenya's Ngare Ndare Forest and is expected to incorporate community agro-forestry and eco-tourism practices to ensure its sustainability.
The three-year project, to be executed by the Ngare Ndare Forest Trust, a community initiative, will follow a unique model that addresses both environmental conservation and poverty alleviation.
Speaking during a tree planting exercise at the forest organised to mark the project launch, Energy Assistant minister Mwangi Kiunjuri outlined plans to plant more than 30 million trees by the end of the year.
Safaricom staff led by the firm's Chief Executive Officer, Mr Michael Joseph, kicked off the tree planting phase by planting 2,000 indigenous trees in the two-day drive.
Kiunjuri expressed regret that the Ministry of Environment - under which the Forest Department falls - was perceived to be an inferior ministry yet it presided over the country's single-most important resource.
"What is the Ministry of Roads, Energy or even Finance without sufficient forest cover in our water catchment areas," Kiunjuri posed.
Said Joseph: "As a truly Kenyan company, Safaricom is proud to be associated with such a project that harbours a generational impact on livelihoods."