Kenya: Kijabe Environment Volunteers (KENVO)
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Kijabe Environment Volunteers (KENVO) is a voluntary community-based organization engaged in developing sustainable nature conservation programs in the Kikuyu Escarpment Forest. KENVO was formed in 1994 and officially registered in 1996. The major goal of KENVO is to promote conservation of the Kikuyu Escarpment ecosystems, while at the same time supporting community livelihoods. KENVO works in a number of key areas including capacity building, forest restoration, youth empowerment, promoting ecotourism, and research.
KENVO has helped improve the livelihood of communities, reduce threats on biodiversity and develop youth leadership. It collaborates with key stakeholders such as government departments, research institutions, private sector, and other development agencies to inform, educate and build the capacity of communities to embrace appropriate conservation practices in a sustainable way.
KENVO’s major programs are:
- Forest rehabilitation: This has been a key program for KENVO and is the impetus behind its formation. KENVO works to rehabilitate the degraded parts of the Kikuyu Escarpment Forest, emphasizing community involvement. They have been using this initiative to inform and educate members of the community on the importance of a healthy environment.
- Youth empowerment: Owing to the large number of young people in the district, KENVO has developed various activities involving youth. KENVO offers mentorship programs as well as national and international exchange programs.
- Eco tourism: The local area is endowed with extremely beautiful sceneries and wildlife. KENVO has therefore designed eco-tourism facilities to try to tap into this potential for eco tourism. The organization has partnered with the neighbouring community of Maasai to undertake this venture.
In partnership with Canada World Youth
CWY and KENVO work in partnership through the Youth Leaders in Action program. The development project implemented through this partnership aims to increase environmental awareness among youth and the wider community in the region. It also promotes greater equality among men and women. In response to environmental issues, especially those presenting environmental health impacts for community members, and gender disparity in the Kikuyu Escarpment region, KENVO is proposing to design an effective environment conservation strategy targeted at youth, church, schools and other members of the community living adjacent to Kikuyu Escarpment forest.
- Increased awareness of environmental conservation issues and potential strategies to reduce their impacts amongst school-aged boys and girls in Kimende and Kagwe, resulting in a greater motivation to protect and preserve the environment.
- Women, men and youth in the region have greater awareness of environmental issues in their community, the impacts on their health and strategies to manage/respond through the implementation of various environmental conservation practices at home.
- Support was provided to four schools to get environmental practices and activities into their schools such as water harvesting, bird feeders, and garbage pits.
- KENVO is now involving more women groups in its activities. This has been made possible by involving the local church.
Youth Leaders Initiative
- A group of youth have started a project called “Baskets And Bags For a Better Lari.” The project involves weaving baskets and making of all-purpose bags using the talent and strength of the women and youth in the community, providing an alternative to excessive use and improper disposal of plastic bags.
- Increase in employment among youth in the community through the Youth Leaders Initiative project resulting in an income-generating activity specifically designed to reuse and reduce the number of plastic bags present in the community.
Institutional Capacity Building
- Increased capacity in monitoring and evaluation, resulting in improvements in project management, through the purchase of physical infrastructure, including the purchase of a motor bike, providing greater access to outer lying areas.
- In terms of reach, KENVO has developed a network involving ten local churches hence increasing the reach of messaging and engagement activities.
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