The M-PESA Foundation has donated Kshs. 155 million to a project aimed at protecting one of Kenya’s key forest eco-systems – the Mau Eburu forest.
The setting up of a 50 kilometer perimetre fence around the Mau Eburu forest kicked off this week, marking the commencement of a project aimed at protecting one of Kenya’s key forest eco-systems’ from wanton degradation visited upon it by human activity.
Situated on the shores of Lake Naivasha, the 80 km2 Mau Eburu forest is one of the 22 gazetted forest blocks comprising the vast Mau Forest Complex. Critically, the Mau Eburu forest is home to 12 of the less than 100 Eastern Mountain Bongo antelope population found elsewhere in the world.
The M-PESA Foundation has donated Kshs. 155 million to the project which will be used for bio diversity protection and funding for alternative income generating projects for the local community so that they do have to rely on cutting down trees for charcoal, or other environmentally unsound activities as sources of income. Part of the funds will also be used to set up a wildlife corridor within the forest.
“Our hope as the M-PESA Foundation is that the provision of this grant will have a major impact on the already fragile eco-system of this critical water tower. The M-PESA Foundation, is keen on supporting large scale projects with national impact and we believe that conserving and promoting the bio-diversity of Mau-Eburu will impact far and wide beyond this locality,” said M-PESA Foundation Executive Director Les Baillie
Speaking during the ceremony, Rhino Ark Charitable Trust Chairman, Colin Church noted that such efforts have led to increased forest cover over the last ten years. According to the Kenya Forest Service, Kenya’s forest cover has grown from a low of 1.7% in 2002 to 5.9% in 2012.
“However, this is still below the United Nations recommended 10% forest cover for any country. We still need to put in much more effort to reclaim our lost forest cover,” Church said.
The Rhino Ark Trust is spearheading the rehabilitation project.