Great news from Makueni County! The fight against climate change just got a major boost as the International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN) teamed up with the National Drought Management Authority (NDMA) to develop restoration plans in five Wards. They’re part of the awesome Towards Ending Emergencies (TWENDE) Programme that aims to tackle climate change head-on.

So, in the meeting was held in Makindu town where ICUN Project Officer Joan Kebenei spilled the beans. She shared that the restoration action plans, driven by the local community themselves, will be put into action over the next five years. And as expected, Thange, Ivingoni/Nzambani, Makindu, Nguu/Masumba, and Nguumo wards are the lucky ones benefiting from this fantastic initiative.

Now, here’s the best part: ICUN is not just offering moral support; they’re putting their money where their mouth is. They’ll be providing funds to ensure those restoration action plans actually happen. Plus, they’re linking these plans to restoration enterprises, making it a win-win situation for both the environment and the communities involved. How cool is that?

The TWENDE Programme has identified two specific dry land value chains for the groups taking part: fodder and honey. By focusing on these areas, they’re not only making a positive impact on the environment but also supporting the livelihoods of the local communities. And you know what? The funding for this whole shebang comes from the Green Climate Fund (GEF), which shows the international support this initiative has garnered.

Joan Kebenei, who’s also a Landscape Coordinator, couldn’t contain her excitement. She proudly mentioned how ICUN received accreditation from GEF, and that’s no small feat. She expressed her confidence in the groups involved and assured them that loans would be provided. The best part? These loans won’t have any interest attached, ensuring a fair and sustainable approach for all.

To make these restoration projects a roaring success, Kebenei emphasized the importance of collaboration with the Livestock Department and the existing recognized groups. By tapping into their expertise and networks, the TWENDE Programme aims to achieve long-lasting impact and empower the local communities. It’s all about working together for a brighter future!

Oh, and here’s an interesting tidbit. Kebenei pointed out why they decided to offer loans instead of grants. Turns out, grants often lead to mismanagement of funds, with members dividing the money among themselves instead of using it for the intended project objectives. So, the loan system ensures accountability and responsible use of the provided funds. Pretty smart, right?

But wait, there’s more good news! The TWENDE Programme isn’t just limited to Makueni County. It’s being rolled out in other counties too, including Taita Taveta, Kajiado, Meru, Tharaka Nithi, Marsabit, Kitui, Isiolo, Garissa, and Tana River. Together, these counties have set an ambitious target of restoring a whopping 550,000 hectares of land. Talk about making a big impact!

Though the exact amount of funding for the 11 ASAL (Arid and Semi-Arid Lands) counties wasn’t disclosed, the sheer scale of this undertaking is undeniable. The collaboration between ICUN and NDMA serves as an inspiring example of what can be achieved when we all come together to address climate change and restore our degraded land.

Alice Mwongeli Munyao, the Acting NDMA County Drought Coordinator (CDC), couldn’t contain her satisfaction either. She mentioned how they’ve received valuable input from the communities in the five Wards and how they’re working hard to fine-tune the action plans and fill any gaps. The dedication and effort put into this project are truly commendable.

Although the TWENDE Programme faced a few delays in its original timeline, Munyao assured everyone present that the issues causing those hiccups have been resolved. Now, it’s full steam ahead towards a greener and more sustainable future.

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