Kenyan News Trends recently interviewed Benard Kioko Ndaka, a 26 years old student and environmentalist following a rising trend of youth at the forefront in the conservation of the environment and restoration of 10 per cent forest cover in Kenya.
He is pursuing a Certified Public Accounts course at KCA University, Nairobi.
Kioko’s efforts align with plans by the Kenya Forest Service plans to rehabilitate a total of 4,015,545.2078 acres of heavily degraded forest land in the country. The KFS has laid a plan to increase the forest cover from the current 7.2 per cent to 10 per cent by 2022, which will require the KFS to plant 1.8 billion seedlings in the next two years.
Here is what Benard Kioko Ndaka said:
What triggered the thought to start what you do at Green Economy Foundation?
Most Kenyans are not so much aware of the effects of climate change and therefore, we saw a need to focus on conservation advocacy. The enormous effects of climate change such as erratic rainfall, increased global warming, desertification, food insecurity pushed us to wake up and walk the conservation talk. Nevertheless, education has been affected by pandemics such as climate change and Covid-19 outbreak.
Where do you draw your inspiration?
I am inspired by several people. To start with is the late Professor Wangari Muta Maathai. She was an environmental champion and the first African woman to be awarded a Nobel peace prize.
Barrack Obama – the former US President. He was a Kenya American and showed the World that everyone can be a changemaker.
Dr Richard Munang – the climate change head African office – who comes from Cameroon and has championed for a Better world having in mind that he came from a humble background.
What are some of favorite motivation quotes?
Over time, I have gained inspiration from famous quotes as well. These guide me in my everyday activities. Just to mention a few;
- Charity costs zero.
- As long as the sun rises, there is hope for humankind.
- Let us give back to planet earth; it is a gift that keeps on giving.
- The willingness to share what we have is the ability to give.
- No action is too small. Every bit counts.
What have you achieved so far in your advocacy?
At Green Economy Organization, we are part of the online global climate change action community. We have planted more than 2000 tree seedlings in different learning institutions and we are doing more.
What are some of the challenges do you face?
Firstly, the shortage of resources to run conservation events. Secondly, a large number of Kenyans are not aware of the effect of climate change and we have to keep on educating them. Most of the people who are aware of things such as deforestation remain ignorant and don’t consider conservation as a thing of great importance.
We have found out that 90% of trees planted within the capital Nairobi are destroyed by the human activities and we have to bear the pain of planting and later on finding some destroyed.
Finally, planting trees need procedures such as seeking permission from the authorities and this delays process of ecological restoration.
What are your long term goals?
We are planning to bring more stakeholders on board, to help us champion our dream of planting a hundred million trees in the next 30 years: Our Vision 2050. We believe when action is taken by one person and multiplied by millions of people, the change will take place. We are looking to partner with organisations such as Trees Growers Association of Kenya, Children with Nature, Grassroots Association of Kenya, PA Tree Initiative among others