Equity Group is inspiring other organizations to conserve the environment through its 35 million trees drive.
Under a multi-agency approach in rehabilitation of water catchment areas in the country, Equity Group and its partners are seeking to empower the communities to seek solutions and participate in solving environmental problems.
This has made it possible for community involvement in environmental projects from inception, planning and implementation. Several water catchment areas have been identified and Sasumua Dam in Nyandarua County was one of them.
Sasumua Dam is a very important water catchment area as it supplies water to the City of Nairobi. It is under the management of Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company Ltd and covers 12,800ha as its riparian area.
Under the leadership of Jedidah Wanyeki, the Founder and CEO of Greens of Africa Foundation (GAF), likeminded partners have been mobilized towards massive tree planting at Sasumua Dam in Njabini, Kinangop where Equity donated 60,000 trees.
“We got into partnership with Equity last year when the bank donated 1 million trees to the Akorino church. We have so far planted more than 2 million trees, with the Kenya Defense Forces providing most of the labour. We are happy about Equity’s tree planting ambition because it has a ripple effect, and we will use our network to help Equity achieve the goal of 35 million trees,” said Jedidah whose organization hosted the event.
The trees were donated by six Equity branches namely, Mayfair Supreme, Kilimani Supreme, Kilimani Retail, Dagoretti Corner, Kangemi and Kenpipe branches.
This is the second tree planting event at Sasumua, covering 12,800 hectares around the dam.
“We have partnered with the KDF in the Environmental Soldier programme that was initiated by the late Prof. Wangari Mathai to mobilize soldiers to plant at least 1 million trees every planting season,” said Jedidah.
Major Vitalis Lumbasi who led a group of soldiers from Kahawa Garrison to the tree planting event said the future of environmental conservation is partnerships, as the world has become a connected global village. “As Kenya Defense Forces, one of our functions is to offer Military Aid to Civil Authorities (MACA) where for instance we support local authorities and help communities.
One of our projects is to enter into partnerships to conserve the environment and therefore sustain livelihoods,” he said.
Other organizations involved in the exercise were Dedan Kimathi Foundation, the Millenial Environmentalists, Nairobi Water Company, Kenya Forest Service, Nyandarua Environment and Tree Growing Committee and the County Government of Nyandarua.
Equity Mayfair Supreme Centre Manager Eugene Busolo said Equity is contributing to the forestation agenda by planting 35 million trees in line with the Presidency’s directive that we increase forest cover to 10% by 2030.
“We cannot overemphasize the need to conserve the environment given the forest cover reduction in the country that has been worrying. Water is life and Sasumua Dam is key to the livelihoods of people in Nairobi and its environs. Planting trees at the dam ensures our lives continue uninterrupted for posterity,” he said.
Equity Dagoretti Corner branch Manager Lillian Rowa said six branches pooled together for the greater impact.
“We reached out to Greens of Africa because they can help us achieve the scale of impact we want to have on the environment. Nairobi relies on Sasumua Dam, and we know the trees we plant today will impact this area and the city,” she said.David Muigai, Senior Conservator of Forests in Nyandarua County at Kenya Forest Service said KFS is glad to partner with Equity to green this dam and ensure supply of water even in the future. “Environmental protection is everybody’s responsibility and we are happy that Equity has shown leadership. Today we are planting trees that are indication of dry highland forest vegetation such as the cedar, olive tree and the African cherry tree,” he said.
Sasumua Dam is located in Njabini, Nyandarua County. It sits on Sasumua River but receives water from Kibiru and Chania rivers. The water from the dam is treated at Sasumua Dam Treatment plant piped to Kabete Treatment Works in Nairobi 60km away. The dam Contributes almost 12% of Nairobi’s water supply.