UK Launches Kaptagat Agroforestry Project, Pledges Ksh.4.7B For Greening Initiatives In Kenya

Written by on 10 February 2022

The UK government has announced a Ksh.4.7 billion funding for solar energy, forest restoration and other nature projects in Kenya.

The new financial pledge was made during the launch of another project that is set to benefit over 1,000 people living in the Kaptagat landscape in Elgeyo-Marakwet and Uasin Gishu counties.

The project, ‘Greening Kaptagat Project: Establishing agroforestry and clean energy solutions within a forest-based landscape’, also aims to have over 1,000 hectares of deforested and degraded land under restoration. 

Funded by the UK, the project’s overall goal is to tackle climate change by addressing carbon emissions from deforestation, forest degradation and unsustainable agricultural practices as well as biodiversity and poverty challenges in the Kaptagat landscape. 

“Greening Kaptagat is a response to a call in 2020 by UK PACT through WWF in partnership with the government and Eliud Kipchoge Foundation which directly responds to the priorities identified through the Integrated Master plan for the Rehabilitation and Restoration of Elgeyo – Cherangany Hills Ecosystem which was developed in 2021,” Dr. Chris Kiptoo  PS Environment and Forestry.

The Kaptagat landscape extends beyond the forest into farmlands and grazing areas in the surrounding communities. It is part of the wider Cherangany-Elgeyo Hills Ecosystem – an important water tower for Kenya.

In the larger ecosystem, there are 286 springs out of which 229 feed into the Kerio River which drains into Lake Turkana while 79 springs drain into Sosiani River, a tributary of the Nzoia River which flows into Lake Victoria. 

“The UK is proud to partner with WWF, the Eliud Kipchoge Foundation, and the Government of Kenya to Green Kaptagat – turning pledges at COP26 into action on the ground. This project will help Kenya achieve its vision of 10% tree cover by 2030, and provide new green jobs in the local area,” said Mr. Mike Foster – The Head of Mutual Prosperity and Climate Change, at the British High Commission in Nairobi

Mohamed Awer – Chief Executive Officer, World Wide Fund for Nature-Kenya  said: “If we don’t move from commitment to action, the pledges we made in Glasgow at COP26, will remain just that – commitments. So the Greening Kaptagat project will not only enhance the resilience of communities and ecosystems against climate change but will provide Nature-Based Solutions for improved livelihoods and sustainable energy.” 

Some of the immediate threats that face the Kaptagat landscape include unsustainable agricultural practices, landslides, illegal logging, overgrazing, historical land use conflicts, forest encroachment, forest fires, planting of exotic trees which are heavy water drinkers like the Eucalyptus, charcoal production and destruction of riparian areas and wetlands.

This degradation has led to reduced water flows in rivers, loss of biodiversity, reduction in crop production,  loss of lives and destruction of property as a result of landslides. 

To help conserve the forest and the surrounding landscape,  the local community through Community Forest Associations,  The Ministry of Environment and Forestry,  the county governments of Uasin Gishu and Elgeyo-Marakwet,  the UK, World Wide Fund for Nature-Kenya (WWF-Kenya), Eliud Kipchoge Foundation and The Trillion Trees Campaign are launching the Greening Kaptagat project as a benchmarking one-year initiative whose lessons and insights can influence green recovery solutions in the wider Elgeyo Hills-Cherangany Ecosystem, and in the national and international climate change advocacy.

“I grew up with a strong sense of togetherness with the people in my village. We were breathing together. We call it “umoja” in Swahili; it means that we are all part of the community. As a runner, I know how important breathing is.

Breathing to keep you going, breathing to feel alive. Athletes train in Kaptagat forest. They need the forests, it is good for their health and for good breathing. I want the world to breathe well. Without forests, you cannot breathe.”  Eliud Kipchoge – Marathon world record holder  & Founder The Eliud Kipchoge Foundation .

The Project was launched at  William Murgor Primary School in Elgeyo Marakwet County on Wednesday, 9th February 2022, by Mike Foster – Head of Economic Development and Climate, British High Commission Nairobi, Dr Chris Kiptoo – Principal Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forestry and Mohamed Awer – Chief Executive Officer, World Wide Fund for Nature -Kenya.

At the launch, the Kapkoi-Kibogy solar-powered water project which was constructed as part of the UK PACT Greening Kaptagat project was also unveiled. This water project is set to benefit 172 households -providing steady flow of water for household consumption to about 800 Kaptagat residents. 

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