Eco Challenge | December 23, 2014
The TOTAL Eco challenge gala awards is an annual award ceremony for individuals and organizations who have planted the most number of trees in a particular year under the TOTAL Eco Challenge campaign.
The TOTAL Eco Challenge is Kenya’s biggest tree planting project and is run under the slogan “Miti Ni Mali, Miti Tosha”. The program was started in 2003 with the aim of inspiring and helping all Kenyans to plant trees in every possible place. The target was to plant 100 million trees per year, every year, forever. Today, the Eco Challenge has more than 5,000 projects that have seen the planting of hundreds of millions of trees since its inception.
In 2014, a number of individuals and organizations under the program were awarded for their amazing efforts towards the environment through tree planting. The awardees included 14 tree ambassadors who were recognized as individuals who have achieved amazing personal levels of tree planting, or have been an outstanding inspiration to others. Some names in this category were Basil Maundu from Mbooni East in Makueni who runs a nursery which has 46,000 trees, a self help group in Lamaratak in Masailand who are conserving and restoring a 600 acre forest and Moreremi Secondary School which has a mixed forest plantation of 20,000 trees. There were also trophy winners who ranged from students and institutions.
For instance, children of Hillcrest Preparatory School in Langata which has included a tree planting classroom project in the school’s curriculum, Lower Kabete Primary School who have created a mixed forest, a botanical garden and a seed orchard and now has become a bird paradise and Mr. and Mrs. Simon Wood, the Principals of Silole Sanctuary which has planted 6,000 trees at Ngong and is working with Kenya Forest Service and forest scouts to protect the seedlings from grazing animals.
Others recognized were Furaha Secondary School in Wajir who have planted 7,000 trees for shade, conservation and study. Furaha Secondary school has gone a step further to start an environmental club which ensures long-term continuity of care for the tree plant project. Another noteworthy project was the Kujisaidia Women’s self help group in Kakamega East who have planted nearly 16,000 trees including 4,000 in Kakamega Forest to support the Kenya Forest Service.
Speaking at the function, Ms. Ada Eze, the Managing Director of Total Kenya, said, “The annual Eco Challenge awards scheme looks at the achievements of individuals and small groups and even whole armies of tree planters over the past year. Those recognized at the annual gala night are the best of the best in terms of the number of trees planted and the efforts put into the exercise.”
“The TOTAL Eco Challenge projects consist of small community groups and major corporations. Some are planting in fertile highlands, others are working in deserts. Several are planting just a handful of trees, others are planting millions. But all of them are working with passion and commitment contributing to the TOTAL Eco Challenge’s goal of encouraging Kenyans to plant at least 100 million trees per year, every year.”
“Individuals and organizations planting trees under the Eco Challenge are helping to develop woodlands and forests and to grow a national culture in which every man, woman and child plants trees, whenever and wherever they can.”
“These Kenyans are planting trees in their gardens, farms, schools, factories, along roadsides, villages, towns and cities. Some trees are planted on fertile and barren wastelands, on hills and valleys. All those individuals and companies taking part in this exercise are literally changing Kenya’s landscape for the better, right now and for generations to come,” concluded Ada Eze.
The TOTAL Eco challenge Gala Award strives to honour and encourage as many people as possible take up tree planting as a way of life.