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Items filtered by date: May 2020

    The PACJA family did it again, using their kindness to tackle the effects of the killer Covid-19, this time in Gabon. The Gabonese platform of PACJA, Network of civil society organisations for the green economy in Central Africa, continued its campaign to support and raise awareness among the rural populations hardest hit as the Covid-19 pandemic progresses. While leading a food and other aid distribution team valued at $15,000 to those most affected in Ngounié Province, Gabon, on Saturday, Roscevac executive president Nicaise Moulombi said anyone could do anything, however small, to help the needy. He said that his heart was bleeding for the suffering, in particular that of Mouila on Lot 3 of the multinational OLAM. The team, accompanied by the coordination team of Roscevac Mouila, led by Marie Paule Badjina, who is also the second vice-president of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council of Gabon, also offered food kits and protective equipment individual at the hospitals of Ndende and Mouila. More aid was distributed to local Catholic and Protestant churches, targeting the heads of its various establishments. The aid was delivered under the watchful eye of Benjamin Banguebe, the governor of the province of Ngounié, who once again hailed Roscevac's stated commitment to genuinely support the populations of his province since the spread of his tentacles in Mouila. Mr Banguebe assured the president of Roscevac that the rest of the food kits made available to his institution would reach the target populations throughout the province. Ncaise called on the Gabonese to do their part in the fight against the new coronavirus, according to government instructions, saying the country will eventually overcome.

So far, 1,934 Covid-19 cases have been reported in Gabon, of which 12 victims have perished. There have also been 459 recoveries. The country has so far tested more than 6,000.

On 13 May 2020, the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) mobilised communities to plant giant bamboo seedlings across the Mt. Kenya East region. At least 100,000 tree seedlings were distributed and planted in strategic areas, particularly riparian areas, to help build resilience against the effects of climate change.

The activity, which was a pilot of a larger project – the Mt Kenya East Regeneration Partnership - seeks to strengthen nature-based ecosystems, and is expected to be scaled up to other areas in collaboration with PACJA's membership.

The tree planting was launched in a webinar that hosted several participants from around the world and is in line with Kenya's contributions to the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) where the country seeks to achieve 10 per cent tree cover.

Speaking when the exercise was launched virtually and streamed live on local TV and radio stations, Dr.  Mithika Mwenda, who is also the PACJA Executive Director, said the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic had turned everything upside down was not an excuse not to continue the fight against the climate emergency.

Business, education, political and environment stakeholders and the local community that were involved in the exercise that is expected to spread to other regions, hailed the efforts by the team that conceived the idea and ensured its implementation.

“We want to see this kind of action, not just talk. We want to make tree planting part of us. This is a god way to conserve the environment while at the same time giving the local community economic muscle because of the goodness of bamboo tree,” said Cecilia Mutembei, a local woman who was glad to have had the opportunity to plant several trees on a riverbank near her farm.


Speaking at a primary school in Meru County, where the seedlings donated by several organisations, PACJA included, had been kept, Dr. Mwenda lauded the like-minded organisations such as Bidco Oil Company, the county governments that had put in place policies to help mitigate effects of the climate crisis and increase adaptation.

“We are grateful that the Bidco Oil Company, the Mugwe Community, Caritas Kenya, AWECA as well as the county governments are actively involved in this initiative to conserve the environment while at the same time improving the economic status of the locals, because bamboo tree serves both purposes so well,” added Dr Mwenda.

Governors H.E. Muthomi Njuki (Tharaka Nithi County) and H.E. Kiraitu Murungi (Meru County), speaking through their representatives, emphasised the role of the county governments in environmental conservation, catchment rehabilitation, especially promotion of the right varieties of trees in alignment with the Water Forum Resolutions 2019.

Gacheri Muthuri, who is the Chair of the Mugwe Community Development Organisation, urged communities to play their role in ensuring their surroundings were safe dwelling places by planting as many trees as they could.

PACJA has been actively mobilising communities such as SMEs, women's groups, youth groups, to mention a few, to take up climate action in the grassroots. This saw a huge turnout for the tree planting exercise. The Alliance has also supported many communities in several countries by providing resources as well as linkage to local and county level governments, government agencies such as the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), among others.

The teams chose the giant bamboo tree because it is a fast-growing plant and provides several benefits, particularly with many advantages for the environment and livelihoods of communities.

According to environmentalists, the bamboo tree can resist pests more than any other plant besides not being on top of the food list for deer, rabbits and several other mammals.

“The tree is also rarely bothered by insect pests, with the exception of bamboo mites, which may be a problem in dry climates,” reads a statement sent out to newsrooms by PACJA.

The bamboo tree has been found to absorb greenhouse gases and release oxygen into the atmosphere, as well as prevent soil erosion. Its other uses range from medicinal, infrastructural, textile, utensils, musical instruments and food. 

The exercise launched yesterday targets riparian and watershed areas degraded over the years, in order to stabilise riverbeds.

John Kariuki, who represented the Bidco Oil Company in the webinar said in spite of what is happening (COVID-19 pandemic), “we must continue to take care of the environment”.

He said Bidco would plant a million bamboo trees in the Mt Kenya region. 

On Wednesday, 13 May 2020, at 10.00am EAT, PACJA in liaison with our Kenya national platform, the Kenya Platform for Climate Governance (KPCG) will host a webinar whose focus will be a conversation on the value of bamboo tree planting as part of efforts to build sustainable environmental ecosystems during and post-COVID-19. The session, which will also include a digital tree planting kick off with participation from several community based organisations (CBOs) and corporate organisations from the Mt. Kenya East Region. Key partners for this drive include the County Government of Meru, the County Government of Tharaka Nithi, Bidco Africa, WERU TV, Mugwe Community and AWECA.

Speaking at the session will be H.E. Muthomi Njuki, Governor Tharaka Nithi County, Government and H.E. Kiraitu Murungi, Governor Meru County and Hon. Gacheri Muthuri, Chair, Mugwe Community Development Organisation. 

Value of bamboo tree planting

As the world continues to reel from the impacts of COVID-19, we cannot lose sight of the climate change crisis whose impacts have ravaged communities for years. Efforts to build sustainable environmental ecosystems must therefore continue, the current challenges notwithstanding.

Bamboo, which is a fast-growing plant in the grass family provides several benefits, particularly with many advantages for the environment and livelihoods of communities. Despite bamboo being the largest member of the grass family, the tree has a thousand species which are found in diverse climates, cold mountains and hot tropical regions.

The tree is very versatile and there exist more than a thousand different types of bamboo with a varied range of heights, colours and growing habits. Some prefer shade while others thrive in bright sunlight. Hardy varieties may tolerate the winter chill to -20℉ (-29℃), while some types cannot tolerate a light frost. There is bound to be a perfect bamboo for any particular climatic condition. The bamboo suitable for Kenya and is being promoted under the Mt. Kenya ecosystem regeneration partnership is Dendrocalamus Asper (Giant bamboo for higher altitude areas) and Oxythenentera Abyssinica (Lowland and dryland variety). It also can resist pests more than any other plant. Bamboo is definitely not on top of the food list for deer, making it one of

the best reasons for gardeners to grow this tree. Rabbits and other mammals also tend to stay away. Bamboo is also rarely bothered by insect pests, with the exception of bamboo mites, which may be a problem in dry climates.

Environmentally, bamboo absorbs greenhouse gases and releases oxygen into the atmosphere. It is also a renewable resource that may help save the world’s dwindling forests. A hardwood forest isn’t replaced for many decades, but bamboo, among the world’s fastest-growing plants, can be harvested in one to five years, depending on the species. Further, due to its extensive root

system, prevention of soil erosion is a valuable bamboo benefit in many soil-depleted areas. In this tree planting project, bamboo will be specifically planted in riparian and watershed areas degraded over the years, in order to stabilise riverbeds. Its other uses range from medicinal, infrastructural, textile, utensils, musical instruments and food uses. 

To register for the webinar click here

Session Programme






Welcome and opening remarks

Statement on the event, objectives, stakeholders’ introduction and credentials of the speakers

Dr. Mithika Mwenda, Executive Director, PACJA


Remarks by KPCG, Mugwe Community, Caritas Kenya & AWECA


Meryne Warah, Coordinator, KPCG

Morris Kirimi, Coordinator, Caritas Meru,

Hon. Gacheri Muthuri, Chair, Mugwe, Chair, AWECA


Statement from by Meru & Tharaka Nithi County Governments

Role of the County in environmental conservation, catchment rehabilitation, especially promotion of the right varieties of trees (eg Bamboo) in alignment with the Water Forum Resolutions 2019

H.E. Muthomi Njuki, Governor Tharaka Nithi County


H.E. Kiraitu Murungi, Governor Meru County


Vote of thanks

Salutation to speakers and participants, guidance on the next steps

Hon. Gacheri Muthuri, Chair, Mugwe Community Development Organisation





Africa has been asked to focus more on its health infrastructure as well as the unending effects of climate change to be able to manage emergencies and crises of the Covid-19 magnitude now and in the future.

This came out in a key note speech by Dr Ibrahim Choji, the Chair of the Board of Trustees at the PACJA’s Nigeria platform Climate and Sustainable Development Network (CSDevNet) in Nigeria. The speech also covered the recent happenings on Earth Day in Nigeria.


Choji at the same time took pride in the many acts of kindness shown by people from all walks of life, with PACJA staff actively involved, saying this was a sign of a united front against the deadly disease that was first discovered in Wuhan, China last December.

“The current situation strengthens our belief in the importance of health infrastructure and climate resilience to safeguard human wellbeing as well as the environment and economy upon which we depend,” said Dr Choji.

The platform took the opportunity yesterday to send messages of sympathy to families affected by the novel coronavirus in and outside Africa.

“We particularly acknowledge the sacrifices made by health care workers and others ensuring other critical services remain available throughout the crisis,” he said.

Choji commended the Nigerian government for its quick response to the crisis, adding: “This has also demonstrates our ability as a Nigerians to respond rapidly to imminent dangers, as we must also do to combat other unprecedented threats to our countrymen and women, such as climate change, accelerating biodiversity loss and growing national inequalities.”

The nexus between the climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic has been a hot topic recently, with a webinar recently held by PACJA highlighting how the two expose Africa’s underbelly when they strike.

Speaking during the Webinar, Dr Mithika Mwenda, the organisation’s Executive Director, said time had come for the world to give the climate crisis the attention it deserved. “These two kill so many people. It is a twin crisis for Africa, which is still grappling with several other issues, including poverty, lack of infrastructure, inadequate literacy, disease, hunger, and now flooding,” he said. 

The same sentiments were echoed by Augustine Njamnshi, the coordinator for the African Coalition for Sustainable Energy and Access (ACSEA), who wondered why suddenly there was money to mitigate the Covid-19 effects, yet climate had been killing masses.

Dr Choji, while observing Africa’s precarious situation considering the problems that were already bedevilling it before Covid-19 struck, said CSDevNet was committed to continue working closely with governments, private sector and other non-State actors to further strengthen national and regional frameworks for sustainable and resilient health infrastructure and to scale up the implementation of Nature-Based Solutions.

PACJA, through CSDevNet, and in collaboration with WelfareAid Initiatives, Nigerian Civil Society Framework for Paris Agreement and SDGS (NCSFPAS) is currently providing solutions and leading the way by creating awareness on the Covid-19 and donating some hand washing facilities across Nigeria.

“This is in line with our commitment to unifying and coordinating isolated civil society efforts on sustainable development in Nigeria in order to ensure people-centred response mechanisms are accorded desirable attention and relevance as climate resilience is increasingly mainstreamed into national poverty reduction and sustainable development strategies and actions,” said Choji.

He expressed hope that with partnerships, the course of the pandemic could still be changed, “even if that means addressing fear and inaction”.

Choji added: “As we mourn all those who have lost their lives and the many families who are suffering, we must show solidarity with the most vulnerable – the elderly, the sick, those without reliable healthcare, and those on the edge of poverty.”


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