By valarie Omondi,

Safaricom and Kenya Forest Services have signed a collaboration framework towards growing five million trees in public forest reserves through an ‘adopt-a-forest strategy.

Environment CS Soipan Tuya lauded the move saying it goes a long way in helping the country combat the impact of climate change.

The CS urged the private sector to help adopt other degraded forests spread across the country.

The framework commits to the reforestation, protection, and conservation of 5,000 hectares to support efforts of achieving 30 per cent national forest cover.

The partnership was signed at Kinale Forest, where Safaricom PLC staff, Kenya Forest Service, the local Community Forest Association and invited guests planted 10,000 trees.

“This partnership with Kenya Forest Service will help us on our journey to become a net-zero carbon emitting company by 2050 and will transform lives by supporting the livelihoods of local communities.

“As a technology company, we will also develop and implement innovative ways of monitoring and tracking restoration activities in the adopted forests,” said Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa.

Ndegwa said plans are underway for the giant telco to go net zero by 2050.

Among the plans include using solar in its masts spread across the country, thereby avoiding the use of diesel.

Degraded forest areas in Kinale, South Marmanet, Kakamega, Kieni, Ontulili, and Kimondi forests and mangrove forests in Lamu County have been identified for reforestation and conservation, which will cover over 2,000 acres in the targeted forests.

“collaboration with Safaricom is among our plans for environmental conservation. In line with the government’s agenda, we aspire to plant about 15 billion trees in the next 10 years and more private sector partnerships and support from individual Kenyans will be crucial in achieving this goal,” said Alex Lemarkoko, the acting Chief Conservator of Forests, Kenya Forest Services.

Safaricom has planted over 1 million trees in collaboration with KFS since 2019 with over 6,000 community members being positively impacted.

As part of its Net-Zero efforts, the five million-tree initiative will offset up to 26 per cent of Safaricom’s carbon emissions once the trees have grown to maturity

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