Emphasising the role of art in fighting climate change.

Over recent years, Kenya has borne the brunt of drastic climatic change, mainly caused by wanton destruction of our water catchments areas and forests. Aberdare forests are important catchment areas that require protection and rehabilitation. Together with the Mt.Kenya, Mau, Cherangany and Mt. Elgon Forests, they supply water to almost all major rivers in Kenya. Despite this, there has been increased destruction of these forests through deforestation, charcoal burning, quarrying, and discharging of industrial and farm wastes into the environment.

Environmental impact assessment studies carried out by our organization reveal that there is massive destruction still going on. Without our forests and with a high rise in population densities, there is little hope of Kenya ever solving its major wealth and health issues. As forests continue to be destroyed, we will continue to face food security and health issues.

There is an urgent need to make interventions to conserve forested regions – known locally as ‘water towers’ – by actively involving the local communities in taking responsibility and stewardship in the management and monitoring of natural resources and ecosystems. There is dire need to create awareness on environmental issues and encourage best environmental practices. Comminities and neighbourhoods must be made aware of destructive environmental practices.

Kiangure Springs Environment Initiative, a Community based organisation Working to save the Aberdare forest has initiated this project in an effort to empower the Young Generation to become the Guardians of Tomorrow.

The youth for Aberdare art project Phase 1(YAAP1) will tap artistic potential of the youth and use these talents to create community level awareness on the need to conserve the Aberdare ecosystem. The projects will identify talented young men and women in the Aberdare catchment community and train them through workshops and focus group discussions on how to develop conservation messages and use them to create awareness about conservation of local forests through visual and performing arts. The youth will then make outreaches in the community performing music, skits, and poetry and painting conservation murals in local schools, shopping centres and tea buying centres.

Conducting water monitoring: Conducting water monitoringConducting water monitoringThere will be tree planting in local forests, schools, river beds and farmlands. The project will also see school children empowered with water monitoring skills for increased water safety and understanding pollutants.

The project will cover the whole of Tetu District with an estimated area of 217.6 Square kilometres. The district is divided into 2 divisions and 7 locations. We will hold a community outreach in each location and paint conservation murals in every location thus reaching out effectively to the people at the grassroots who are targeted by the project. The murals and theatre performances have a powerful long lasting impact on the mind of the viewer thus reaching many.

The music, skits and poetry performed will be recorded and distributed to schools and colleges and through environmental clubs. Murals will be hosted on our website and other partner sites thus giving us the potential to reach millions of people worldwide and spread the message about climate change.

The youth are the custodians of tomorrow in the environmental management issues and need to be empowered. The youth have been exploited in such activities as destroying the forests, as they are the major sources of manpower, little knowing that they are destroying their very future. We want to enhance their potential and make them gatekeepers of our forests. By so doing we want to emphasize the role of Art in fighting climate change.

Kiangure Springs Environment Initiative (KSEI) is grateful to be selected for funding by APE. Your kind gesture will go a long way in helping this organisation to empower the youth to take active participation in the fight against climate change and its effects in the Aberdare Forest Ecosystem. Through your support we will be able to plant trees, monitor our water bodies and mount a community level awareness campaign aimed at conserving one of Kenya’s main water towers, The Aberdare Forest. We are so grateful for your support. ASANTE SANA

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