“We cannot purport to know the extent of pollution and environmental degradation while we continue to sit in boardrooms.”
Francis Githui and the Storm Water and Environment Management Forum (SWEMF) are miracle workers. With minimal resources, they have been able to make a mammoth change to the conservation scene in the County.
Francis currently has three conservation initiatives running concurrently. These are the Nanyuki Dumpsite Reclamation and Rehabilitation, the Edible Rivers Initiative, and more recently, the Fruit Tree School Project.
Nanyuki Dumpsite Reclamation and Rehabilitation
Francis has a mantra, “waste to wealth” , which he swears by. He believes that there is no particular waste that cannot be reused or recycled into something of use or value. The idea to reclaim the dumpsite emanated from the increased amount of waste being dumped there, consequently posing environmental as well as health challenges. He, therefore, made a reconnaissance visit at the dumpsite to check the various types of the waste present, sorted the waste and requested for County permits to commence his recycling work.
He’s made a name for himself by morphing waste into valuable materials. For instance, glass bottles are crushed into small pieces and are used to make tiles. He also makes high-quality Cabros by mixing plastic bags and plastic bottles at high temperatures.
Francis has also established a tree nursery at the Nanyuki Dumpsite, boasting almost 45,000 avocado seedlings, 5000 loquat seedlings, and 2000 guava seedlings, in addition to others.
Francis is not growing these trees for commercial sale; rather, he believes Laikipians and Kenyans at large can learn a lot from his efforts.
Francis and (SWEMF) aim to rehabilitate and conserve various river riparian lands, including those of Likii and Ontulili rivers, among others. Francis does this by planting bamboos to stabilize river banks, as well planting numerous fruit trees along these rivers.
Francis believes these fruit trees will be beneficial to riparian members in countless ways including their nutritional value, soil stabilization, and opportunity to improve livelihoods. Most importantly Francis and SWEMF believe that they can inculcate a conservation culture among the people living adjacent to these rivers.
Once people begin to reap the benefits from this initiative they will become more environmentally conscious and take better care of the environment and possibly increase fruit-tree cover as well.
Fruit Tree School Project
This is an idea that Francis conceived during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic has had far-reaching effects in the country and the education sector was not spared.
The pandemic led to the closure of schools throughout the country. Francis realized that many schools had water tanks that were capturing a lot of water during this rainy season, but the water wasn’t being used. He started his project in Ngobit Ward, Laikipia County. At the moment, he has planted trees in Mwituria Secondary, Thingithu, Inooro Secondary, Loise Girls, and Nanyuki Garrison among many others.
He has currently planted trees in up to 16 schools. Francis also aims to establish miniature gardens in schools once normal school programs resume as part of a school gardens project. This will not only teach students about crops and soils; he also hopes that they will learn the important message of natural resources conservation as well.
Francis says the major impediments he has faced in his conservation efforts are lack of sufficient funding and misplaced priorities by local authorities.
Should you be interested in lending Francis and the Storm Water and Environment Management Forum a hand in any of their ongoing projects, contact us at the Forum, or give him a call at 0724769750 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Francis and SWEMF are members of the Laikipia Forum and MKEWP.