ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT AND ENERGY CONSERVATION
Goal: To facilitate the creation of a clean and safe environment and promote sustainability
Like much of Kenya, rural areas face numerous environmental challenges. Though natural springs dot the hillsides, keeping them clean and safe is an ongoing challenge. Many springs require long treks to fetch water, and some dry up in the dry season. The high demand for firewood has led to deforestation, which in turn has created soil erosion and the decline of indigenous trees. Meanwhile, smoke inhalation from cooking is associated with a high incidence of respiratory illness.
To attain a clean, secure and sustainable environment by 2020; the organization through this program offer strategies to secure and manage the environment issues through implementation of environmental initiatives and ensuring that sustainable exploitation, utilization and management of natural resources is strengthened and that the benefits are shared equitably.
Land and environmental degradation is one of the most serious challenges affecting the country causing an estimated annual economic loss of USD 390 million or 3 percent of the country’s GDP. In addition, land degradation leads to socio-economic problems such as food insecurity, insufficient water, regular loss of livestock, limited agricultural development and out-migration, especially from rural areas.
Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services: Kenya is endowed with an enormous diversity of ecosystems and wild species of flora and fauna that constitute biodiversity assets as well as the home to five hot spots of globally important biodiversity and 62 Important Bird Areas (IBAs).
Forests: Forests have important environmental benefits including water catchment conservation and also act as carbon sinks. This mitigates against and provide adaptation to climate change. The area under forest and tree cover was estimated at 4.4 per cent in 2012 by the government of Kenya. Gazetted forests cover 1.24 million hectares out of which 141,000 hectares are industrial exotic plantations which supply wood materials to the forest based industries. In addition, the country has 9.3 million hectares under farm forestry and 37.6 million hectares covered by woodlands and bush lands in ASALs. Further, there are 60,000 hectares of mangrove forest which is important for fisheries and shoreline stabilization among others.
Wildlife: Kenya’s known wildlife assets include 315 mammals, 1,133 birds, 191 reptiles, 88 amphibians, 180 freshwater fish, 692 marine and brackish fish, 25,000 invertebrates (21,575 of which are insects), 7,000 plants, and about 2,000 species of fungi and bacteria. Kenya is ranked third in Africa in terms of mammalian species richness with 14 of these species being endemic while 51 mammals have been classified as threatened. The country is famous for its diverse assemblage of large mammals like the African elephant, black rhino, African lion, cheetah, leopard and buffalo. The existing protected area (PA) system takes care of the most famous of wildlife herds, but fall short of conserving the wealth of Kenya’s flora and fauna. Over the last 40 years, the country has lost almost a half of the wildlife population especially outside Protected Areas (PAs) and experienced increased incidences of Human Wildlife Conflicts (HWC).
This wildlife population decline and HWC are mainly attributed to encroachment by human settlements and expanding agricultural and livestock development activities that have resulted in the loss, fragmentation and degradation of wildlife habitats. In addition, other causes of wildlife population decline include natural attrition, climate change, bio-piracy and over exploitation. Nonetheless, wildlife based tourism contributes about 70% of the gross tourism earnings, 25% of GDP and 10% of total formal employment, underpinning its importance to the economy.
Green Energy (Solar and Wind Power):
RHD recognized that improved energy efficiency, increased share of renewable energy, and cleaner and energy-efficient technologies are important for sustainable development, including in addressing climate change. Wind turbine and solar panel arrays can deliver clean energy, while integrating efficiency into the plan cuts the energy renewable need to generate it. Renewable energy is an essential element of a low carbon economy. Around the world, energy systems are moving toward a vision of renewable energy sources distributed over the homes and buildings they serve.
From rooftop solar arrays to biomass generators, these technologies harvest the abundant energy in nature and convert it to clean energy to power rural societies. Environmental conservation and management of natural capital is pivotal to the socio-economic development of the economy hence this calls for sound management and governance structures in the sector. This consideration is even more critical in light of commitments at the RIO+20 Summit held in Rio de Janeiro in 2012.
RHD mission for Solar and Wind Power Projects is to facilitate social and economical empowerment in the poorest and most marginalized communities in the occupied Kenyan rural territories through material support and capacity building. The core of our activity is the provision of basic energy services for off-grid communities using solar and wind in a way that is both environmentally and socially sustainable.
These energy services include the required hardware and the local capacity to maintain and install existing and additional systems. Although the money and know how come from the outside, the ownership of the project is local in that the entire decision making is done by the community's local committee where when aim to channel our programme support.
Based on local meetings in which community members prioritized their concerns, we have supported the rehabilitation of community springs, the installation of rainwater harvest systems, the construction of sanitary latrines, and the planting of indigenous seedlings, building of gabions. In addition, our most recent proposed projects seek to harness the potential of solar cooking and lighting in a region with plenty of sunshine. We are looking forward to working with any affiliate donor (s), so that we can provide training and solar cookers to more than 1,500 families and through a piloting a solar lighting projects to other regions.
Current Issues and Challenges
- Climate-related extreme weather events such as drought, flood and landslide;
- Increased waste generation and unsustainable disposal particularly in urban areas;
- Degradation of water catchment due to human settlement, agricultural activities and encroachments;
- Unsustainable land management practices that threatens the quality of the environment goods and services;
- Increased human wildlife conflicts affecting conservation and community livelihoods;
- Increased competition and conflicts of natural resources;
- Inappropriate disposal of e-waste;
- Over-reliance on non-renewable and traditional sources of energy; and
- Low levels of Research and Development and funding,
RHD Programmes and Projects (Environment)
- Strengthening Environmental Governance
- Waste Management and Pollution Control
- Rehabilitation of rural rivers
- Rehabilitation and Protection of the Water Towers
- Forest Conservation and Management
- Forestry Research and Development
- Wildlife Conservation and Management
- Promotion and Piloting of Green Energy
- Water Resource Management Programme
- Rehabilitation of Storm Water Drainage System
- Land Reclamation
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