ITF’s #20milliontrees campaign got off to a flying start last night. More than 80 people attended the launch event in London including campaign partners, a delegation from the Kenya High Commission, business leaders and members of London’s Kenyan community.
The evening was opened and closed by the London International Gospel Choir, who set the mood for the evening with uplifting performances of Aint no Mountain High Enough and Proud.
The event was hosted by environmental journalist and broadcaster Lucy Siegle, and the campaign was officially launched by Mr Lazarus Amayo, Kenya High Commissioner, who expressed gratitude to ITF and its partners for choosing Kenya for the launch of its centenary campaign. But he reminded the audience that reforestation in Kenya was also of benefit to the whole world.
Paulino Mugendi, founder and chair of ITF partner Mount Kenya Environmental Conservation, made his first visit to the UK so he could speak at the launch. He described how volunteers from MKEC will undertake the huge logistical task of cultivating, transporting and planting out the first five million trees on the slopes of Mount Kenya Forest.
ITF Vice Chair Roger Leakey, a world expert on agroforestry, explained how using trees in agriculture is helping break the cycle of land degradation and poverty by helping communities to improve soil fertility and increase crop yields. It turns out that, perhaps surprisingly, increasing human population can actually lead to greater forest cover – because smallholder farmers are increasingly aware that planting more trees is in their interests.
Last night was a celebration and it is very encouraging that ITF’s biggest-ever initiative has made such a good start. But it was also a call to action – and now begins the task of raising the £4m needed to make “20 Million Trees for Kenya’s Forests” a reality. We would greatly appreciate it if all our supporters could spread the word about #20milliontrees – and support the campaign either as an individual or a company. Find out more and Donate
Thanks are due to everyone who helped to make the London launch so successful.