Coca-Cola Beverages Africa–Kenya will be planting 90,000 tree seedlings in Mt. Kenya’s Hombe Forest in partnership with Nature Kenya. The three year reforestation partnership aims to preserve Kenya’s catchment areas. This year alone, 1,900 people have benefited from the project through the sale of 15,000 seedlings that have been planted in Phase 1, with the next phase set to begin in December.
Earlier this year, Nature Kenya and CCBA Kenya signed a three year memorandum of understanding (MoU) to implement socio-economic investment programs in environmental conservation in Kenya. The protection of critical watersheds forms part of the Coca-Cola system’s 2030 Water Stewardship Strategy, which focuses on sustainable, efficient water usage, improving local water challenges and partnering with others. This is in a bid to improve watershed health and enhance community water resilience, focusing on women and girls.
Tree planting in Phase 1 was done during the April rainy season. The Hombe restoration site includes a swamp on the verge of drying up. The stakeholders hope that the newly planted trees will resuscitate this wetland as they mature. Mt. Kenya forest is home to rich flora and fauna. Among the species it hosts is the critically endangered Mountain Bongo and Kenya Jewel Damselfly, and the vulnerable Abbott’s Starling.
“We will maintain Coca-Cola’s global metric of 100% water replenishment, focusing on improving watershed health in water-stressed areas that are critical to our business, our communities and our agricultural supply chain. We are continually assessing our priority watersheds and engaging local stakeholders to devise integrated and holistic plans for collective action,” said CCBA-Kenya Public Affairs and Communications Director, Susan Maingi.
“I am grateful to the management of Coca-Cola Beverages Africa-Kenya and Nature Kenya for their support towards restoration of our forest. I appeal to others to also join us in making Hombe and the larger Mt. Kenya forest regain its original state,” says Wilson Thige, the chairperson of Hombe CFA.