Residents of Mua Hills received 11,000 tree seedlings from Equity, as part of the Bank’s initiative to increase the forest cover in the country. The seedlings, which included 8 varieties of indigenous, and exotic trees, were delivered by Equity Lavington Supreme Branch and issued to the Mua Hills ProfessionalAssociation for distribution to the members and residents living in Mua Hills.
Speaking during the distribution exercise, Engineer Joel Kiilu, Chairman of Mua Hills ProfessionalAssociation said that the activity was borne out of the group’s objective to green the area.
“Mua Hills used to be a very green place, we used to receive a lot of rain, but with time, people cut down trees and we have not been getting as much rain as we would wish to. We are very happy that Equity is the first organisation to respond to our call by donating to us 11,000 tree seedlings to help meet our objective. Many of the residents are going to plant the seedlings in their farms, but we have also issued the seedlings to a number of schools and community land around Mua Hills,” said Eng. Kiilu.
The residents who received a variety of indigenous and exotic trees seedlings were allowed to carry a mix of the two. Eng. Kiilu disclosed that the seedlings were initially meant to be distributed to the members of the Association, but they also received numerous requests from the residents while issuing the seedlings.
“Many of our members had requested for up to 1000 seedlings, but as we continued to distribute the seedlings a lot of our neighbours came over and we said the best thing to do is to share with them. We are most grateful to Equity as they gave us these seedlings free of charge and also delivered the trees and offloaded them. This is an excellent gesture,” added Eng. Kiilu.
Equity, led by the Group Managing Director and CEO Dr, James Mwangi, kicked off a countywide initiative last year to plant 35million trees, on the Bank’s 35th anniversary; one million trees for every year since it began operations in Kenya. The initiative was driven by the Bank’s pursuit to promote sustainable finance by concentrating on People and Planet as it conducts its business. In an effort to conserve the environment, Equity has partnered with Kenya Forest Service (KFS) to promote Farm Forestry Initiatives – this spirit of public private partnerships (PPP) is from the fact that 77 % of deforestation and land degradation is caused by agriculture activities, hence the need to work closely with Forest and Farm Producers to encourage them to adopt sustainable solutions for preserving natural environments.
Speaking during the distribution exercise, James Mutuku, Equity Group Director Treasury and Trade Finance, noted that the tree distribution and planting exercise will continue to be held in many parts of the country.
“This is one of the initiatives where we are providing seedlings to the farmers and the intention is to get our forest cover up again and make our country green again. As you know, Kenya’s forest cover has gone down tremendously and in conjunction with the government, there is an initiative to have our forest cover increase to over 10%,” said Mutuku.
Residents had been sensitized that the Bank would be issuing seedlings and many turned up to collect their seedlings and plant in their farms. Mutuku assured them that the Bank would continue to support them to meet their objective to plant more trees in the area.
“We would like to assure the Mua Hills residents that this is not the last time we are doing this exercise and we encourage them to tend to these trees. It is not just about planting the trees, it is also making sure that these trees are well taken care of, tendered and grow. We also believe that any plot of land, however small should have a tree or two and that is the message we are sending to even the small scale farmers. It doesn’t matter what acreage you have,” he added.
While collecting his seedlings, Professor Mutuku Lewa, former Dean of Chandaria School of Business at USIU and a resident of Mua Hills thanked Equity for providing seedlings.
“This is a demonstration of the best corporate citizenship by a company. In my assessment, Equity Bank is leading and we want to urge a lot of Kenyans and Kenyan organisations to bring more tree seedlings to Ukambani. To see this kind of initiative is something we must thank God for. I am urging members of Mua Hills to join together so that we can even plant trees along the road. Everywhere there is a pathway, we should plant trees,” said Prof. Lewa.