Tessie Musalia has called for the involvement of People with Disabilities (PWDs) in the national forest restoration campaign.
Musalia who was speaking at the National Police College main campus in Kiganjo, Nyeri during the launch of a tree planting campaign for police training colleges in Kenya, noted that PWDs had not been co-opted in the nationwide tree planting exercise which is aimed at attaining a 15 billion tree target by the year 2032.
“As we strive towards conservation of our environment, we should not forget or sideline Persons with Disabilities. They are a vulnerable part of our society and when resources are strained, they bear the bigger part of the negative effects of change. In this regard, we have to involve them in efforts to preserve our environment,” said Musalia.
During the exercise, Musalia together with Deputy Inspector General of Police Douglas Kanja, rallied officers from the Kenya Police Service, Kenya Forest Service and the visually impaired community from Nyeri to plant 3,000 tree seedlings at the Kiganjo Police College grounds.
Speaking at the event, Kanja said that the campaign dubbed Kuzingatia Mazingara Yetu was aimed at mitigating the negative effects of climate change. The DIG of police said that the college had already supported President William Ruto’s Jaza Miti campaign by planting 14,000 tree seedlings last year and plans were underway to double the numbers before the end of this year.
To further support the restoration agenda, Kanja said that all police training colleges throughout the country will set up tree nurseries and act as suppliers of seedlings for police stations and government institutions.
“We have asked police officers to not only plant trees in the training institutions but also in all their duty stations. We have agreed that these particular colleges are going to host big tree nurseries so that other police stations and other neighboring government institutions can actually get readily available seedlings in the next few months,” said Kanja.
According to Ahadi Trust Kenya Chief Executive Officer Dr Stanley Kamau, a similar campaign will be launched in Embakasi A and Embakasi B training colleges. He said that more than 20,000 seedlings had already been set aside for the campaign.
Dr Kamau also asked national and county government stakeholders to consider bringing the PWDs on board in their campaigns. He said that despite their vulnerabilities, they had proven themselves capable of making a positive contribution if supported.
“The PWDs have given their testimony that the trees help them with shade among other benefits. I would also like to urge other stakeholders in the national and county governments to consider bringing on board the PWDs in their campaigns because their disability doesn’t necessarily mean they cannot contribute in other ways,” said Kamau.
Daniel Kagema, one of the visually impaired persons could not hide his joy after being involved in the tree planting exercise. He at the same expressed the commitment of PWDs in supporting community initiatives.
“Before, no one would have bothered to engage the visually impaired persons because it is assumed that they cannot do anything. But today, we have felt appreciated as we joined other Kenyans in complimenting their efforts in planting trees and we pledge our support in other community activities,” said Kagema.