Thwake staff engage in social afforestation drive aimed at restoring ecosystem
In a move aimed at empowering communities living around Thwake Multipurpose Dam through social afforestation program, a section of staff recently carried out a massive tree planting exercise targeting schools, dispensaries and local administration offices.
The exercise which took place between, June 9-11, 2021 saw close to 300 tree seedlings distributed to seven primary and secondary schools, three local administration camps and a dispensary.
Thwake Multipurpose Water Development Program (TMWDP) which is jointly funded by the Government of Kenya (GoK) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) and being implemented in four phases by the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation, has anchored a strategic community afforestation program, which is an innovative idea of getting farmers and the rural communities around Makueni, Kitui and parts of Machakos to appreciate and partake in matters conservation, through socio-economic advocacy programs incorporating gender, equality and social inclusion.
“We are today engaging different schools in this social afforestation drive. We want to instill the importance of environmental conservation among these learners. It is critical that we create catchment for rainfall since this area is semi-arid,” said Faith Nzimbi, an Environmental Engineer, working for the Contractor.
The United Nations blue print on sustainable future – dubbed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – is at the core of Thwake Multipurpose Water Development Program’s processes and procedures on issues of environmental degradation, sustainability, climate change, and water security.
“Climate change is real and that’s why we need to properly conserve our environment. Kenya is a signatory to the SDGs and we want to achieve at least 10 percent tree cover. We must reverse the climate change for normal weather pattern,” added Alex Tarus, an Environmentalist working for the Consultant.
Construction of Thwake Dam is part of the wider Thwake Multipurpose Water Development Program (TMWDP) with the current phase being the first. The program is also in the process of rolling out Corporate Social Responsibility programs including rehabilitation of classrooms – which the team visited – and sinking of community bore holes.
The construction is being carried out by the China Gezhouba Group Corporation (CGGC) – an international Chinese contractor and supervised by Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC) Consulting engineers.
Its completion is high on government’s priority as it advances the Big 4 agenda alongside meeting the objectives of the Vision 2030 on water security. It is also expected to provide water to 1.5 Million people spread over Makueni, Kitui and Machakos counties, support irrigation of 40,000 hectares and generate 20 MW of hydropower to the grid and provide regulation of flows on River Athi downstream of the dam for flood control and drought mitigation.