The I&M Bank Foundation and the Kenya Community Development Foundation (KCDF) have announced the signing of a partnership to promote environmental conservation.
The partnership will seek to inculcate the culture and practice of environmental awareness and conservation amongst children and the youth in 172 learning institutions (primary, secondary and vocational) in 4 sub-counties in Narok and Kilifi counties.
The 3-year conservation programme will seek to counter the current environmental degradation and effects of climate change; by restoring the environment through tree planting, adoption of clean energy including use of energy-saving Jikos, solar for lighting, and sustainable waste management which includes investment in waste collection points and use of bio-gas, while nurturing a generation of future environmentalists.
Kilifi and Narok county development plans for 2018-2022, recognize charcoal burning, soil erosion, land degradation and climate change, as the most daunting environmental challenges. The two counties also appreciate that clean energy reduces health problems, reduces dependency on forest trees and increases hours of studies for school-going children. KCDF and I&M Bank Foundation will plug into the counties’ development plans to help them achieve their environmental conservation goals.
The partnership with KCDF, which comprises of an investment of over Kshs. 50 million from the Bank’s Foundation in the next three years, is expected to benefit over 5,000 households in the two counties. The interventions will target water catchment communities, where these children and youth come from, ensuring that environmental conservation practices are entrenched in them and their communities as a way of life.
The initiative will be implemented through targeted learning institutions (primary, secondary and vocational) and areas around religious institutions, markets among others. Key activities that will be conducted under this programme include: tree planting exercises, training on solar energy, use of energy saving jikos within tertiary institutions and secondary schools, training on water harvesting and waste management, use of clean energy in learning institutions such as bio gas among other activities.
Commenting on the development, Sarit Raja-Shah, Trustee, I&M Bank Foundation noted, “At the Foundation, we have identified the challenges undermining efforts in protecting and restoring natural and sustainable environments in the country. We realise and appreciate that sustainable environments play a critical role in achieving the country’s economic growth plans, therefore we have set up inclusive and measurable programmes and interventions to address these challenges.”
“The partnership with our able partners KCDF, that we are rolling out today, aimed at benefitting children and the youth in Narok and Kilifi counties, perfectly aligns with the Bank’s Foundation’s initiatives on environmental conservation; and I believe that this will help nurture a generation of passionate environmentalists for generations to come,” he added
Key initiatives that the I&M Group has focused on in promoting environmental conservation through the I&M Bank Foundation include: embedding environmental protection practices into the Bank operations, influencing our clients, business partners and suppliers to adopt progressive environmental commitments.
Additional activities will include tree planting, clean up days, adoption of environmental friendly initiatives like water-harvesting, embracing use of renewable energy, water conservation where our employees and customers participate actively.
The Chairperson of KCDF, Mrs Eunice Mathu in the signing ceremony, praised I&M Bank Foundation for their very forward looking approach, by agreeing to enter into a longer term arrangement, which will provide the space and engagement to see the desired practices take root in the target schools and communities. More important is the fact that the collaboration targets a critical segment of our population, i.e., children and youth who make over 70 % of our national population, and are a primary group going forward in ensuring environmental conservation is fully integrated as a way of life among generations to come.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, Kihara Maina, Trustee at the I&M Bank Foundation also noted that the Bank would carefully monitor the implementation of the programme to ensure that its success comes to fruition.
“To ensure that the programme’s implementation runs seamlessly, the I&M Bank Foundation will provide resources to implement the program; the I&M Bank staff members will join the community and schools in scheduled events like tree-planting drives, national environment days, and county engagement forums; they will also volunteer expertise, skills and time in the capacity building of communities and schools in financial literacy,” he concluded.