Monday, January 20, 2014

The strength of a woman in conservation

By Bett Kipsang'

The world is now faced with unprecedented effects of climate change. Environmental degradation due to human activities coupled with laxity to replenish the tree cover is worsening the problem. Communities have been sensitized to plant trees, but the lessons and magnitude of the problem is perceived differently by individual community members. 

Jane Wangari watering her seedlings
Jane Wangari Muchiri 66, from Sipili in Laikipia County has developed a passion and determination to earn a living by conserving the environment. 

She has curved a niche for herself as an expert in seed collection and establishment of tree nurseries.  Jane is so passionate in pursuing her goal of tackling the environmental challenge. She works for endless hours, even if it means going without food. “Sometimes I fail to eat, not because there is no food but because sometimes I am so tired and exhausted after work, that i just go straight to sleep’’ she said.

Jane has set up a large tree nursery right within her homestead. The magnificent sole venture now has fifty thousand (50,000) tree seedlings of all kinds both exotic and indigenous species. Exotic species sells between ten (10) and twenty (20) shillings, while indigenous species goes for between fifteen (15) and thirty (30) shillings. 

Jane expects to earn up to half a million shillings by selling all the seedlings. In spite of this rich economic potential, Jane is grappling the challenge of water scarcity. The seasonal dam in her farm is the may source of water. ‘‘Water in the dam are almost drying up and I will be forced to buy the commodity from vendors, the cost is too high and I sometimes watch helplessly in dismay as my seedlings dry up from the sun’’ she said.

Jane’s tree nursery has become a tourist attraction site; hundreds of visitors throng her homestead every year to learn from her as they marvel at her passion and determination to conserve the environment. 

The Ng’arua Maarifa center published a story about Jane’s nursery last year and it has been read far and wide. Jane has told the Ng’arua Maarifa Centre that a team of potential customers who read the story came all the way from Narok County to place an order for seedlings from her nurseries. 

However, her customers cum visitors had a very huge order and they could not buy immediately, since they needed seedlings enough to fill a lorry.
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