The implementation plan incorporates women, youth and learners. It advocates for green financing to bridge funding gaps in restoration activities, incorporates agroforestry, promotes green jobs and nature-based enterprises, and encourages women and youth to participate in the green and circular economies.

The testing and validation process of the strategy has seen approximately 3 Million trees grown in forests and in learning institutions.

Additionally, The First Lady has adopted 200 hectares (500 acres) at Kakamega Forest in Shikusa Block for restoration. This adoption laid the groundwork for similar adoptions by spouses of County Governors and Members of Parliament across the country, with the technical support from the Office of The First Lady and the Kenya Forest Service.

Mama Rachel Ruto urged all like-minded stakeholders to form a united front in support of Kenya’s tree-growing efforts.

“Connecting with like-minded organisations and individuals strengthens our impact and fosters a shared vision for a sustainable future,” she said.

“By joining hands, we can amplify our impact on a national scale, maximise resources, leverage the strengths of our partners, and create a domino effect that propels us towards our ambitious goal of growing 500 million trees.”

Hon. Soipan Tuya, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, and Forestry, lauded the initiative’s contribution to regulating global temperatures through the sequestration of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The Kenya Kwanza Government’s Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda (BETA) is further prioritising the growing of fruit trees and woodlots on farmlands and in institutions such as schools, colleges, and universities, with a target of having 30% of the 15 billion trees as fruit trees that can lead to improved nutritional and food security, create employment, and spur social-economic development.

Other guests present included H.E. Leila Benali, President of UNEA; Inger Andersen, Executive Director, United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP); Gitonga Mugambi, Principal Secretary, State Department for Forestry; and Alex Lemarkoko, Chief Conservator of Forests, Kenya Forest Service.

By Fred Odanga.