Environmentalists scale up activities in readiness for Kakamega Forest Marathon

Preparations are underway for this year’s edition of the Kakamega Forest Marathon slated for November 26 2022.

Environmentalists and partners of Kakamega Forest Heritage Foundation engaged in buildup activities that will lead to the Marathon by planting trees at Ilero in Shinyalu Constituency.

The Kakamega Forest Heritage Foundation which was started by the Muliru family was joined by World Safari Rally Championship(WRC), KCB Bank,Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya(ICPAK), Kenya Forestry Research Institute(KEFRI) and Kenya Forest Service in the buildup activities.

WRC Head Greening project, Ivy Kaburu said Kakamega Forest needs tender care since it is the only remaining part of the Congo Guinean rainforest.

She said WRC is committed to plant 19million trees across the country in three years and ensure they survive. On June 2,2021 WRC Planted trees on three acres of land in the Forest. This weekend WRC together with other partners planted 4000 trees on 4 hectares of land.

The Western Regional Deputy Forest Conservator Martin Mamati said the region has a target of 350 hectares to rehabilitate which can only be achieved with support from partners.

He called for more partners to come on board and support the noble cause of planting more trees in the forest.

The Forest stretches to an area of 14 810 hectares divided into five blocks of Kisaini, Losi, Ishuku, Ivihiga and Kakamega.

The Western Regional KEFRI Assistant Director Willis Atie said the institute is championing matching of tree species with the site for their survival.

“With climate change, we need to plant trees that will survive, so we have come up with an app that enables one to know the types of trees to be planted in certain areas,” he noted.

Speaking during the exercise, ICPAK Kakamega County representative Veronicah Kwoba said accountants are also engaging in environment conservation as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

“This year we have prioritized conserving the environment and whenever we are approached, we shall support and participate,” she noted.

Through accreditation from the Green Climate Fund(GCF), KCB Bank supports the greening agenda by also funding green projects.

During the tree planting exercise, the bank supplied tree seedlings. The Bank has also partnered with Liquid Petroleum Gas(LPG) companies to provide institutions with a clean source of fuel to curb use of firewood and minimize felling of trees.

Kakamega Forest Heritage Foundation was formed by a group of people from the local community, spearheaded by the Muruli family who came together to conserve the forest.

It started as Lugala-Nairobi welfare group with focus on community outreach programs such as donations of Sanitary towels and medical camps with partners like the Mater Hospital and The Nairobi Hospital.

In their recent medical camp, Mater hospital identified kids from the local community with heart problems who were treated successfully.

In 2015, the Welfare Group decided to expand to Kakamega Forest Foundation to reach many people other than the Lugala community.

“It is at that point that we had the inception of Kakamega Forest Heritage Foundation and the key thing we are looking at that can enable us market our work is the Kakamega Forest,” said Hannington Kimathi, the Manager in charge of Kakamega Heritage Forest Foundation activities.

Since its inception, the Foundation has planted indigenous trees on 60 hectares of land.

They are targeting to host 2000 athletes during this year’s Marathon in the 15 kilometer, 21Kilometer and the 42 Kilometer race categories. The Foundation will award athletes from position 1 to position 20.

A day before the Marathon, the Foundation will hold a bicycle race for the Junior and the senior groups for 50 Kilometer and 70 Kilometer races known as the black mamba race.

“The Black Mamba race is meant for the local people to feel part of the environment conservation champions as we embrace their culture,” he noted.



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