GBM Blog

The Green Belt Movement Leads Field Excursion to the Aberdares for MyCOE/SERVIR East Africa Workshop Participants

January 15, 2013 - 11:00AM
Published by Grace Wanene

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Specialist, Peter Ndunda, with the MyCOE/SERVIR East Africa Workshop Participants.

This blog was written by Candida Mannozzi

On Saturday, December 15th the Green Belt Movement (GBM) trained 17 teams of university fellows and mentors totaling 45 participants from nine African countries in best practices for participatory conservation work with a local community and the application of mapping and GPS methods to plan, monitor and report progress of reforestation sites.

The participants were selected for the 2012 MyCOE/SERVIR Fellowship Program in East Africa and are pursuing research proposals focusing on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security in East Africa.

This field excursion followed a week of laboratory instruction in remote sensing, Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and other mapping skills led by Professor Jimmy Adegoke of the University of Missouri-Kansas City with additional support from the staff at the Regional Centre of Mapping Resources for Development (RCMRD) and the RCMRD’s SERVIR staff.

The field excursion included a morning spent in the GBM reforestation site at Gathiuru in Mt. Kenya practicing GPS skills and various methodologies for measurement and monitoring biodiversity, biomass and forest restoration. Later the participants were driven to the GBM-supported community in Tumutumu, where community leader Lydia Gathii welcomed them and served them local foods grown by the community in a sustainable manner. The local community showed the visitors examples of their  work in improving their food security on their small farms. By visiting the Tumutumu tree nursery group, the fellows and mentors were also able to observe the community’s work on climate change adaptation and mitigation.

It was a very informative and educative visit to Tumutumu.

 “The community in Tumutumu is leading and living a real enjoyable life and if they can get food every day, enjoy peace and security and enjoy the health the environment is affording them then what else does one need?” (Professor Simon Onywere, Kenyatta University)

Yesterday's field trip was an incredible outing by all accounts. I am sure we all (fellows, mentors and resource persons) returned to Nairobi inspired and challenged in more ways than one. Many thanks to Peter Ndunda and his assistants Joseph Munyao and Nancy Neema for putting such an excellent programme together for us. Our deepest gratitude, of course, goes to Lydia and the grand ladies of Tumutumu. In the brief time we spent with them, they taught us more about sustainability than we can ever learn from years of sitting in any classroom anywhere in the world.

“Kudos to them and to the Green Belt Movement!” (Professor. Jimmy Adegoke, University of Missouri-Kansas City)