Hundreds of children in Malindi Sub County celebrated the International Day of the African Child Thursday by planting trees at the Malindi Police Station and the Mwangea Hill in Ganze constituency.
The children, who are members of conservation clubs sponsored by the Talal Safaris Wildlife Campus, matched through Malindi town streets, planted trees at the police station and then travelled by bus to the Mwangea Hill, about 60 kilometers west of Malindi town, where they planted an estimated 1,000 tree seedlings.
The organization was supported by among other organizations, Equity Bank, the Cooperative Bank, the Kenya Wildlife Service and Optiven.
Officials said they had targeted Mwangea Hill where they said wanton destruction of trees had left the hills bare thus affecting rain patterns in its surrounding areas.
The National Coordinator of the Talal Safaris Wildlife Campus Mr. Anthony Muema Kang’ata said his organization had initiated a programme of involving children in environmental conservation for posterity across the country.
Speaking to journalists at the Alaskan Grounds in Malindi town, Kang’ata lamented that Kenya had suffered great environmental degradation and stressed the need for concerted efforts to remedy the situation.
He said his organization was involving children so they could learn the importance of conservation early and practice the same in adulthood.
He said that since inception, the organization, through over 300 conservation clubs in schools, churches and mosques, had planted more than one million tree seedlings and was targeting to plant at least five million tree seedlings before the end of this year.
“Our environment has been badly destroyed and we are involved in sensitizing children on how they can be involved in conservation with the hope that we can make Kenya green,” he said.
Also from Wildlife Campus, Mr. Chege Wangechi said the organization had more than 300 conservation clubs with a membership of more than 10,000 children based at the Coast, Rift Valley, Central and Eastern regions.
Kins Peter, who is in charge of strategic operations and programmes at the Wildlife Campus, said the non-profit organization was providing free insurance services to all children who were members of the conservation clubs as well as educating them on how they could avoid harmful practices.
Rev. Felix Charo of the Jesus Healing Centre in Malindi town said many children had been affected by drugs and other harmful practices in Malindi and called for the eradication of the vice.
He said many children had been forced to rummage through the unprotected dumpsite in Casuarina areas to scavenge for scrap metals, a practice that was denying them education.
The theme of this year’s International Day of the African Child was “Eliminating Harmful Practices Affecting Children”.
The day is commemorated to remember an incident on June 16, 1971, when armed South African police officers murdered hundreds of South African students who were among about 20,000 students protesting in the town of Soweto, demanding to be taught in their own language.