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Two people in Kenya in front of Rotary banners watering plants

Rotary partners sought for Kenya ​forest project

London-based Rotarian, David Longden, is seeking Rotary club support for a ​project to preserve the forests of Kenya.

David has organised a project with a cluster of Rotary clubs in Kenya to raise ​global grant applications to preserve the forests of Kenya and conserve their ​resources for their local communities, protecting them from illegal logging and ​encroachment.

District Governor Leonard Ithau from Rotary District 9212, which covers Rotary ​clubs in Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea and South Sudan, has given his full support to ​the project.

He has suggested creating a 'project of scale' where multiple local Rotary clubs ​team up with international club partners to fence their local forest.

“This has been successfully done by other organisations for Kereita and Karura ​forests with great employment generation benefits accruing from tourism ​enabled when the forests are secured,” explained David, who is from Greenwich ​in south-east London. Though a member of the Rotary Global Hub, the Global ​Hub does not qualify as a club able to act as sponsor to local clubs for a global ​grant.

David Longden and Leonard Ithau with a group of Rotary volunteers from Kenya

David Longden’s project has the full support of District Governor Leonard Ithau (​right)

A memorandum of understanding has been signed between the Kenya Forest ​Service and Rotary Kenya, and a delivery partner in Rhino Ark, a charity which ​has already fenced the Aberdares and Mount Kenya national parks has also been ​secured.

The pathfinder project is the Ngong Road Forest Fencing project in south Nairobi ​which has been adopted by Rotary Club of Thika, an established club with ​experience of successfully executing several global grants.

Other interested Rotary clubs include Karen and Langata. Many Kenyan clubs are ​undertaking forest protection activities, including supporting the employment of ​scouts, fencing and tree planting.

The Kenyan capital of Nairobi has increased its population to four million people, ​leading to deforestation of Ngong Road Forest.

What remains is under constant encroachment and land grabbing from property ​developers on a daily basis as well as hunting, logging and illegal waste dumping.

Since the land is not secured, the forest has become a base for criminals to rob ​and attack forest visitors, cyclists and drivers along the southern bypass which ​has dissected the original forest into five sections.

“In short, we are good to go - just ​chronically short of international ​partner clubs to raise global grant ​applications.”

Of these sections, the largest, and most biodiverse Sanctuary and Bomas ​Sections remain unprotected and a risk for public use, meaning visitor revenue ​for forest management and species protection cannot be secured.

With the Rotary project, some 662 hectares will be brought into conservation and ​restored. An application is being made to plant 20,000 trees a year. The existing ​tree nurseries, beekeeping and school education initiatives will be expanded, as ​well as research studies to identify and monitor species within the safer forest ​environment.

The fence will enable management of the forest as a proven carbon ​sequestration project to assist its financial sustainability.

The neighbouring slum areas of Kibera and Muituini, already dependent on the ​forest for firewood, will benefit from direct employment in the form of ranger, ​scout and ecotourism business recruitment.

Indirect employment will be sourced from nature trail bird/animal watching ​guides, timber products, briquetting fuel, beekeeping, fishing, fruit, herb and ​medicinal plant gathering supporting sustainable livelihoods.

a group of people walking in the woods in Kenya to plant trees

With the Rotary project, some 662 hectares will be brought into conservation and restored, wit​h an application being made to plant 20,000 trees a year​

Rotary has already conducted a community needs assessment to support the ​Global Grant process in collaboration with the Community Forest Association.

The two-year project is looking to find £135,000 to fence sanctuary blocks, and a ​further £30,000 is required to provide two years of fence patrols and ​maintenance following completion.

David added: “Initial cost estimates and route has already been established for ​the pathfinder project at Ngong Road Forest in South Nairobi. In short, we are ​good to go - just chronically short of international partner clubs to raise global ​grant applications.

“We are desperately looking for international clubs to join forces with local clubs ​in Kenya who have taken a particular interest in preserving forestry as a means to ​manage climate change, local air pollution and increase local employment, while ​preserving the forest and its resources for future generations avoiding illegal ​encroachment and logging.

“Sadly, because it has been very difficult to find international clubs, it has not ​been possible to make the global grant application, but community needs ​assessments have been conducted in readiness.”

You can contact David Longden at:

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