The media council of Kenya has adopted a mangrove forest in Maya Island at the tail end of the Kilifi creek.
The media regulator on Thursday partnered with Beyond the Story, a journalist led media association to plant over 5000 mangrove seedlings.
Speaking in Maya, Kauma sub county in Kilifi, Media Council of Kenya coast region coordinator Maureen Mudi acknowledged the efforts of the community and journalists in Mangrove restoration in Kilifi creek.
“As media council we have been encouraging journalists to report more and the environment and climate change. We have been greatly impressed by these journalists because apart from reporting, they are also partnering with the community in activities that mitigate the effects of climate change,” she said
Mudi said the council would adopt the northern block of the Maya mangrove forest.
“This is now our forest and we will be doing some monitoring through beyond the story organization to make sure the seeds we have planted today grow to maturity. We will also be coming to do periodic planting within this forest so that we can meet the government’s target of planting 15 billion trees by 2032,” she added
Maya has three blocks of man-made mangrove forest, namely Eastern, Northern, and Southern mangrove vegetation.
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Mudi said journalists need to be trained on how carbon credit works so that more community groups can benefit.
The mangroves cover about ten hectares of land in Maya.
Marafiki Mangrove Conservation Group Chairman Caxton Chivatsi welcomed the partnership between the media and the community in the mangrove restoration efforts.
Chivatsi said for the last thirteen years, the Maya community has been passionate to increasing mangrove forest cover with a keen target on selling carbon credits.
“Most of these areas you see covered in mangrove today were bare some years back. People invaded the forest to harvest mangroves especially at night. We took it upon ourselves to restore the forest. We want to see the benefits of this forest and I can report to you that already the fish numbers are increasing. This area now is a breeding zone for some fish species and other marine creatures,” he said
He further said the community is fighting to make sure all the eight available mangrove species in the area do not become extinct.
“Initially we had nine species but one has become extinct. There are two species that were almost being wiped out but we are working to make sure we plant more,” he added
Chivatsi said the Northern block will now be called MCK mangrove vegetation block.
“We are doing this as an honour and partnership. It is not easy to see journalists leave their cameras to join the community in restoration activities,” he added
Maureen Ongala, who leads Beyond the Story organization said the activity will equip journalists with the information they need to report on the matter.
Ongala said by joining the community, journalists not only get information but experience things firsthand.
“When you visit the community just to collect news then you do not get the real feel. We want to be part of this community by partnering with them in their endeavours,” she said
Ongala said though the organization plants other trees in different areas, they have taken a keen interest on mangroves due to their ability to sink carbon from the atmosphere.
Beyond the story programme officer Yaa Juma said the organization has lined up several activities that would make sure the community does not over depend on the mangrove forest.
“We want to establish an apiary within the forest so that as they work on selling carbon credits, they also harvest honey which fetches good prices. If the community can make money without cutting a single mangrove plant then as an organization we will be very happy,” he said
Last month the organization planted 10, 000 seeds in Maya.