Kenya & Mount Kenya
Kenya has the best-developed economy in East Africa and relatively advanced agricultural and industrial sectors. But according to the development index of the UN, Kenya belongs to the world’s poorest countries and about 40% of its 44 million people are extremly poor – this means that they have less than 1 $ per day. About 80 per cent of the populationlive in rural zones like the Mount Kenya Regions or slums in the cities.
Kenya’s five main water towers — the Aberdare Mountains, the Mau forest complex, Mount Kenya, Mount Elgon, and the Cherangani Hills — cover just 2 percent of the country. Their forests and soils store and release water that ensures year-round flow of most rivers — supplying more than 75 percent of the country’s renewable surface water, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
Mount Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second-highest in Africa, after Kilimanjaro. The lower slopes are covered by different types of forest. Many species are endemic to Mount Kenya such as the lobelias, the senecios and the rock hyrax. An area of 715 square kilometres around the centre of the mountain was designated a National Park and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Mount Kenya Forest constitutes some of the most significant reserves of remaining forestland in Kenya – yet it has lost about 30% of its forest cover through various illegal activities such as timber harvesting, shamba systems, charcoal burning and poles collection. Most communities living in the area are poor. Unsustainable methods of farming have caused massive soil erosion and infertility.
Mount Kenya Environmental Conservation supports the communities not only with tree planting programmes but also with livelihood improvement projects such as education in sustainable farming and using of energy saving cookstoves. The living conditions of the communities need to improve, hand in hand with education about the importance of forests and trees to guarantee a sustainable reforestation of Mount Kenya Forest.
Mount Kenya Environmental Conservation is working in the following counties within Mount Kenya Region: Embu. The organization is working in partnership with community based organizations, self help groups, schools, administration, Kenya Forest Service and Ministry of Agriculture and livestock developments. All these actors and stakeholders help in joint implementations of the projects.