Plant Trees to empower yourselves, Kajiado Women told

Trees that have been cut down at Nyakweri forest in Trans Mara.File Photo

By Roy Hezron.

Kajiado women have been urged to plant trees as part their income-generating activity in empowering themselves economically.

Ministry of Environment and Forestry Ambassador Ruth Solitei has noted that trees are a source of wealth and promote forest cover and preserve water catchment areas, hence urging the women to embrace tree planting since the country has a low percentage of tree cover.

“I want to urge all women to embrace tree planting as an economic activity to empower themselves financially. Planting of trees will not only help conserve the environment but will at the same time enable women earn an income,” said Ms. Solitei while addressing the women at an economic empowerment forum at Inkinye in Kajiado Central most recently.

Ms. Solitei further noted that most parts of the county are arid and semi-arid and witness long dry spells thus trees suitable for such climate should be planted so they grow to maturity, adding that empowering women to plant trees will also help fight retrogressive cultures such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and early marriages explaining that some women circumcisers do so to earn a living.

“Poverty fuels oppression of the girl-child. Girls are circumcised and married off at an early age for dowry. Once a woman is empowered, retrogressive practices such as FGM and early marriages will come to an end,” she added.

On the same breath, Anti-FGM board Chief Executive Officer Bernadette Loloju, supported Solitei’s remarks adding that the fight against retrogressive cultural practices will only be won if women in the community are economically empowered, adding that planting trees is an investment which will help women earn a living instead of circumcising the girls for money or marrying them off for dowry.

“For us to achieve the Presidential directive of ending FGM in Kenya by 2022, we have to explore new ways of confronting the vice such as empowering women through tree planting and conducting campaigns on the harmful effects of the practice on the girls,” she emphasized.

During the event, more than 1300 seedlings were planted as the organizers urged the government and Non-government organizations in the country to donate more tree seedlings to women in achieving their objective.

The Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS 2014) showed that 21 per cent of women and girls aged between 15-49 years in Kenya have undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), with the practice still higher among communities in Kajiado County at 78 per cent.

It is directly linked to forced and early marriage and is typically carried out on young girls below the age of 15 to make them eligible brides. The enactment of the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act 2011 was a great milestone for Kenya and the country has seen a national decline in the prevalence of FGM.

The Kajiado County Anti-FGM Policy was assented to by Governor Joseph Ole Lenku on 21st August 2019, which provided for a framework for the eradication of FGM, singling out FGM as an illegal activity and a violation of human rights, though the COVID 19 pandemic is eroding the efforts made to reduce FGM.

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