A local community group in Mombasa County’s Mdengerekeni area on Saturday planted mangrove trees along Mtwapa creek to celebrate ’16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence’.
Speaking dduring the Mangrove restoration exercise, Otieno Obiero from Ajenda Kenya said the exercise was not only to plant trees but also sensitize the community on GBV.
“We decided to celebrate the ’16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence by planting mangrove trees,” said Otieno Obiero.
Otieno said there were various forms of violations against women and young girls in the community.
Among the various types of GBV, the community mentioned early marriage, rape, defilement and physical assault as some of the violations being experienced in Mdengerekeni.
“They have given an example of a man who was arrested a few days ago for having an affair with his daughter,” said Obiero.
After the GBV sensitization session, the community proceeded to plant mangrove trees along the Mtwapa creek.
Speaking during the exercise Khadija Umazi Mchonyi, the chairperson of Venus Mangrove Plantation Conservation, said the group planted more than 300 mangrove trees.
“Today was about GBV and planting trees. These trees will help in improving and conserving our environment. They will also provide food for the fish and other animals,” said Khadija Umazi.
Even though they have been facing challenges, the 23-member group, which was formed on 6th March this year, has so far planted more than 80,000 mangrove trees along the creek.
“We are facing several challenges; we do not have an office; we do not have equipment, currently we only have the two spades we used during the exercise; we do not have funders or sponsorships; and we also need a transportation vessel to cross to the other side of the creek to get seedlings,” said Umazi.
Meanwhile, the group’s assistant secretary Jay Ndoro Mwadzame said since the formation of the group, there have been fewer incidents of cutting down of mangrove trees and charcoal burning along the creek.
He said the group has been a major contributor in mangrove conservation in the area.
“This project is about mangrove conservation but initially we had bee keeping and fish rearing which turned out to be quite expensive. We will go back to that once the group is financially stable,” said Mwadzame.
Tirus Makumi works in a Civil Society Organization. He says they learnt of the plight of the Mdengerekeni community from other non-governmental organizations and decided to carry out the mangrove restoration exercise.
“There used to be a lot of fish in Mtwapa Creek but after the cutting down of mangroves, the numbers decreased posing a challenge to those who depended on fishing as their source of income and turning them to cutting down of the trees to sell to those building houses and for home use,” said Tirus.
“Today we have planted over 300 seedlings. It will not end with the planting, we will also be monitoring their progress and growth through the Venus Mangrove Plantation Conservation group,” he added.