The I&M Bank Foundation and the Kenya Community Development (KCDF) Foundation have signed a partnership on environmental conservation.
The partnership is aimed at inculcating the culture and practice of environmental awareness and conservation amongst children and the youth in one hundred and seventy two learning institutions (primary, secondary and vocational) in four Narok and Kilifi sub-counties.
The three year conservation programme endeavours to help counter the current environmental degradation and effects of climate change. This is by engaging in tree planting, adoption of clean energy including use of energy-saving Jikos, solar for lighting, and sustainable waste management which includes investment in waste collection points and use of bio-gas, while nurturing a generation of future environmentalists.
Kilifi and Narok county development plans for 2018-2022, recognize charcoal burning, soil erosion, land degradation and climate change, as the most daunting environmental challenges. The two counties also appreciate that clean energy reduces health problems, reduces dependency on forest trees and increases hours of studies for school-going children. KCDF and I&M Bank Foundation will plug into the counties’ development plans to help them achieve their environmental conservation goals.
The partnership with KCDF, which comprises an investment of over Kshs. 50 million from the bank’s foundation in the next three years, is expected to benefit over five thousand households in the two counties. The interventions will target water catchment areas where these children and youth come from, ensuring that environmental conservation practices are entrenched in them and their communities as a way of life.
The rollout will be implemented through targeted learning institutions (primary, secondary and vocational) and areas around religious institutions, markets among others. Key activities that will be conducted under this programme include: tree planting exercises, training on solar energy, use of energy saving jikos within tertiary institutions and secondary schools, training on water harvesting and waste management and use of clean energy in learning institutions such as bio gas.
Commenting on the development, Sarit Raja-Shah, trustee, I&M Bank Foundation noted : ” We have identified the challenges undermining efforts in protecting and restoring natural and sustainable environments in the country. We realise and appreciate that sustainable environments play a critical role in achieving the country’s economic growth plans, therefore we have set up inclusive and measurable programmes and interventions to address these challenges.”
The key initiatives that the I&M Group has focused on in promoting environmental conservation through its foundation include: embedding environmental protection practices into the bank operations as well as influencing its customers, business partners and suppliers to adopt progressive environmental commitments.
Additional activities include tree planting, clean up days, adoption of environmental friendly initiatives like water-harvesting, embracing use of renewable energy and water conservation where our employees and customers participate actively.
The Chairperson of KCDF, Mrs Eunice Mathu in the signing ceremony, praised I&M Bank Foundation for their forward looking approach, by agreeing to enter into a longer term arrangement, which will provide the space and engagement to see the desired practices take root in the target schools and communities. More important is the fact that the collaboration targets a critical segment of our population – children and youth. They make over 70 % of our national population, and are a primary group in ensuring environmental conservation is fully integrated as a way of life among generations to come.
Speaking during the signing ceremony, Kihara Maina, trustee, I&M Bank Foundation also noted that the bank would carefully monitor the implementation of the programme to ensure that its success comes to fruition.
“To ensure that the programme’s implementation runs seamlessly, the I&M Bank Foundation will provide resources to implement the programme; the I&M Bank staff members will join the community and schools in scheduled events like tree-planting drives, national environment days, and county engagement forums; they will also volunteer expertise, skills and time in the capacity building of communities and schools in financial literacy,” he concluded.