Coca-Cola Beverages Africa–Kenya (CCBA-K), in partnership with Nature Kenya, will be planting 90 000 tree seedlings in Mt Kenya’s Hombe Forest in a three-year reforestation partnership to preserve Kenya’s catchment areas.
So far this year, 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.
“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.
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 to improve watershed health and enhance community water resilience, focusing on women and girls.
“Mt.Kenya is of key importance to the Kenya economy and the environment. It is the most productive basin for agriculture in Kenya. It supplies 95% of Nairobi’s water. This partnership will enhance the ecosystem service in Mt.Kenya,” said membership and marketing manager – Gloria Waswa.
Planting in Phase 1 was done during the April rainy season. The Hombe restoration site includes a swamp on the verge of drying up. It is hoped that the newly planted trees will resuscitate this wetland as they mature.
“The support from Coca-Cola Beverages Africa-Kenya has helped me pay for rent and other basic family needs like food, particularly during this difficult Covid-I9 period,” says Gladys Wangu, a member of Hombe CFA.
“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.
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.