Nairobi, Kenya – Today, on the 17th of May 2023, an eager group of young individuals from the Youth Future Lab embarked on a remarkable journey to the Kenya Forest Services (KFS) Headquarters along Kiambu Road. Their purpose was to acquire knowledge and explore opportunities for the youth to actively participate and volunteer in the government’s ambitious afforestation efforts, which are aimed at combating global warming. Spearheaded by His Excellency President William Ruto, the 15 billion tree planting initiative has captured the attention of the nation, and the youth are eager to join forces in this noble cause.
Welcoming the youth with open arms was none other than Mr. Noor M. Hussein, the esteemed Acting National Vice Chairman of the Forestry Society of Kenya (FSK). Throughout his career, Mr. Hussein has honed his technical, managerial, and leadership skills, making significant contributions not only within the confines of the KFS but also to Kenya’s forest sector at large. Notably, his strategic and policy-level involvement includes the preparation of the National Forest Programme (NFP), where he served as a member of the thematic cluster teams responsible for crafting the program’s main contents. Additionally, he played a pivotal role as a member of the Technical Committee that reviewed and finalised the NFP.
In their interaction with Mr. Hussein, the youths found him to be both amicable and knowledgeable. He graciously dedicated his time to patiently address their myriad of questions, offering invaluable advice. One key takeaway was the availability of expert guidance on selecting the most suitable tree species for specific areas across the country. The KFS services staff, stationed in all 47 counties, possess the expertise to advise on the best trees to plant in each region. Moreover, Mr. Hussein enlightened the youth about the KEFRIApp, a remarkable species-to-site matching tool accessible through the Kenya Forestry Research Institute website (kefri.org). This innovative resource empowers individuals with the knowledge to make informed decisions regarding tree planting.
During the interaction, Mr. Hussein emphasized the importance of aligning tree planting efforts with local needs. He highlighted the significance of understanding why a community would desire trees. For instance, if a school requires firewood, planting trees that serve this purpose would be of immense benefit. Similarly, in open areas, wind-breaking trees would be most sought after. By tailoring afforestation efforts to meet specific needs, the impact can be maximized and local communities can experience tangible benefits.
Inspired by the knowledge shared by Mr. Hussein, the youths were delighted to receive an invitation to volunteer for the KFS national tree planting drives, which occur three times a year. This hands-on involvement would allow them to actively contribute to the government’s afforestation agenda while immersing themselves in the practical aspects of tree planting and ecosystem conservation.
Furthermore, Mr. Hussein unveiled an exciting opportunity for the youth. He announced that the national government intends to procure five billion trees out of the fifteen billion target from the youth in the private sector. With a keen eye on the future, Mr. Hussein encouraged the young generation to establish tree nurseries, which not only support the afforestation goals but also serve as a sustainable source of income. This entrepreneurial avenue presents a win-win situation, empowering the youth to make a meaningful impact on the environment while generating economic opportunities.
As the youth of Kenya eagerly embrace the government’s afforestation efforts, a powerful synergy is emerging between the government and its future leaders. Together, they envision a greener, more sustainable future, with forests playing a vital role in mitigating climate change and preserving Kenya’s natural heritage. With their enthusiasm and determination, these young individuals are primed to make a lasting impact, exemplifying the remarkable potential when government and youth unite for a common cause.
The Youth Future Lab’s visit to the Kenya Forest Services marks a significant milestone in the collective journey towards a better, greener Kenya. As the youth take on an increasingly pivotal role in shaping the nation’s destiny, their involvement in afforestation efforts signals a profound commitment to safeguarding our planet and securing a brighter future for generations to come.