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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
by Erick Ochieng Otieno, Kenya Nov 11, 2006
Peace & Conflict , Human Rights , Environment   Opinions


MAU FOREST: A FAR CRY FROM THE FORESTS With the on-going conference on the climate change taking place at the United Nations Environment Program at Gigiri Nairobi Kenya, one thing remains clear - it is quite easy to make promises. What about implementation? If I can remember, a lot has been said concerning MAU forest and the threats that it faces. However, it would be dishonest to claim that the stakeholders have been keen enough to follow up what they have all along said is the best way to help. It is a good idea to paint the true picture of the status of Mau forest at the conference.

One fundamental issue that still proves to be an eye sore to the forest’s survival is the settlements and cutting down of trees. These have continued unabated for some time even as the conference goes on. There is, therefore, the need for public participation especially the youth. This is only possible when the youth get the necessary support from those in positions of authority.

Youth are really willing to participate in the revival of the status of the Mau forest but what they lack are the necessary support from our leaders. Most of these youth do not have any financial support to undertake conservation efforts, they also need logistical directions such as where to plant the seedlings and which type of the seedlings to plant and when.

Equally disturbing is the continued use of the issue of settlements in Mau forest for political gain by most our politicians. It is true that most of those settled in the forest do not have places to go, but if I may echo the sentiments from Nobel Prize winner, the Hon. Wangari Mathai, “…why should we have people owning large tracts of land then we came and shed crocodile tears for the squatter?....”, if we want to solve the squatter problem, then a proper and binding land policy should be in place as soon as possible. This should ensure that land is redistributed and an upper limit of the land to be owned by one individual is set. I believe that it is better we suffer now than regret later for not acting.

Anybody with any doubt as to why we are advocating for such steps should always go through the grim picture of the Lake Nakuru, the dying flamingos, and the completely dried Lake Elementaita.

In conclusion therefore, I would recommend that the government or any other group of individuals who care for the forests should come together and support these youth initiatives. It doesn’t mean well to say we do support the youth and then leave them alone with no direction. I personally can say very confidently that the youth are very much willing at any given time especially the university students and others, to sacrifice their time to do something for the environment, be it cleaning up or tree planting or creation of awareness. The only problem that we experience is where to get the resources to accomplish our dreams of a better environment for all. If we can get supporters who help recognized youth groups whether it is a University club or at the communal level, then I believe the youth will do wonders for the environment. This is therefore a cry of the youth from the forests, “Is any body listening out there?”



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Erick Ochieng Otieno

I was a student from Egerton University. I pursued a course leading to a BSc in Applied Aquatic Sciences. I believe that through writing, one can relieve a lot from the heart. Inspiration came from hearing and reading. Whoever said that you have to be an old one to communicate issues of policies, did not consider that even a newborn communicates through its own way, "crying". I would like to communicate to the world all my thoughts; However minor they are, I believe they will go a great length to straighten or strengthen a policy or two somewhere and I shall have contributed to the well being of the world. How noble that is, it is for my worthy readers to let me know. So what do you think? Tell me anytime. Bye and have a nice reading.
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