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Thursday, 21 June 2012

World Day to Combat Desertification

By Dennis Kipkirui

The World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought(WDCDD) is a day set aside by the United Nations General Assembly in 1994. It is an international day held on the 17th June every year. The main aim for this day is to promote public awareness of the issue, and the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) in those countries experiencing serious drought and desertification, particularly in Africa.

The theme of this year is: Healthy soil sustains your life: Let’s go land degradation neutral.
Thomas Gichuru, Director TILT Watering a tree seedling
In Nyandarua County the World Day to Combat Desertification was celebrated in Mairo Ikumi Primary School, Ndaragwa Constituency. The day was marked by a marathon race. Laikipia Rural Voices (LRV) attended the event which was hosted by Tree Is Life Trust (TILT), a Nyahururu based NGO and sponsored by Act Change and Transform (ACT).

 The main areas of operation for TILT is awareness creation, networking, advocacy, natural resource management and community development.

 Marathon races were held in four categories comprising adults, secondary, primary, and juniors. 
Winners were awarded special prizes which promote climate change.In each category, a total of twelve winners were awarded, Six from gents' side and six representing ladies. Male adults were given plastic tanks for water harvesting while females were given energy saving Jikos. 

 In the secondary category, both genders were given solar lamps which use solar power and have different modes of brightness.This was done with the knowledge that most of the learners in the area come from day schools and therefore lack money to buy kerosine. Juniors were given energy saving lamps that use dry cells.

Speaking to the participants in the function, Mr. Thomas Gichuru, Director of TILT thanked the participants for turning up in large numbers. He also challenged them to improve their livelihoods using the information availed to them by the organization.
Pupils of Kio Primary School plant trees to mark the WDCDD
Elsewhere, in Laikipia County, members of public celebrated this day at Kio Primary School in Sipili Division, Laikipia West District. 

Members of the community and school children together with people from all works of life turned up to combat desertification. Pupils entertained the attendants with poems, songs and stand-up comedies which were geared at urging them to conserve the environment. The theme of these genres touched on soil conservation, tree planting and environmental conservation.

Every speaker who rose asked the people to reduce global warming by ensuring that the amount of carbon emitted is cut drastically. “You can only live in a safe and fresh environment if you take matters of environment seriously. Each one of you should strive to prevent soil erosion, plant trees regularly and reduce carbon emission. Trees use carbon for food manufacture and release oxygen which we in turn use. Therefore you can only cut carbon amount by planting more trees,” said Mr. James Kamau the Divisional Agricultural Officer. 

The area Assistant-chief Mr. John Kimaiyo told pupils to plant a tree at every birth day so that by the time they reach adulthood, many trees would have been planted. Residents were also asked to use innovative skills like energy saving Jikos which use less firewood and conserve heat to be used in the rest of the cooking. 

After the tree planting exercise, participants were treated with a movie-watching session where Ng’arua Maarifa Centre showed them several videos on how to conserve water and soil.

 Nationally the event was marked on Sunday the 17th at Tana River County. 

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