Category: Climate Change & Environment

Category: Climate Change & Environment

KENYAN UNIVERSITIES AIM TO BE “GREENEST IN THE WORLD”

In Kenya, over 70 universities are being called on by the UN Environment Programme and the Kenyan Government to work together and transform their campuses to be the “greenest in the world”. This comes as Strathmore University in Nairobi has put in place one of the greenest campuses in Africa and is offering its support to other Kenyan universities.

“Universities across Africa can run on the power of the sun and set new standards for sustainability,” says Professor da Silva of Strathmore University. “But it’s just not on the roofs of our campuses that we need to take action. We also need to support students to take action in support of the planet in their personal lives.”

Strathmore University set up its own 600-kilowatt photovoltaic grid tie system about five years ago and is not only enjoying free energy from the sun but also selling the excess to Kenya Power under a 20-year contract.

Another initiative on campus involves “green buildings” which utilize natural lighting, water evaporation cooling systems and rain water, making them much more affordable to run than conventional buildings. Students and faculty members are also working together on projects around plastic recycling and using food left-overs to produce natural gas.

Strathmore University students, pictured here with the Flipi-Flopi boat made of recycled marine plastic, organized a garbage clean up in their community. Photo by Canaan Owuor, Strathmore University student.
Support is now growing to re-establish the Kenya Green University Network in the country with network members including 18 Universities, such as Karatina University, University of Nairobi and Kenyatta University. At a recent meeting, they

committed to a new plan of action including greening campus operations while also enhancing student engagement and learning.

Apart from the desire to go green, many universities are seeing the shift to adopting green technologies as a way to reduce costs and further sustainability. Strathmore University and Karatina University were selected to lead the effort to commit universities to going green.

Working closely with the Ministry of Environment and the National Environment Management Authority, UN Environment will be hosting a Kenya University Summit in the coming months, calling on other Kenyan universities to join the network.

“Kenyan universities not only define the learning and careers of the next generation, they can also shape their behaviours,” says Juliette Biao, Africa Director for UN Environment. “We look forward to supporting the Green University Network to inspire Kenya’s students and to become a point of reference to other universities on the continent.”

Representatives of 18 Kenyan universities met at the UN compound in Nairobi in June 2019 to agree a new plan of action including greening campus operations while also enhancing student engagement and learning. Photo by Carina Mutschele.
Professor Abutho from Karatina University says: “The [Kenya Green University Network] meeting was timely and has helped me establish relevant contacts to support Karatina University’s solar energy project. Karatina University is at a very advanced stage to implement this project and intends to go 100 per cent solar in the near future.”

The Green University Network in Kenya draws on the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment’s Arusha Declaration “to strengthen environmental education and training and develop an action plan for Africa” and the lessons from Kenya will be shared at a ministerial meeting in South Africa in August.

“I’m particularly happy about the proposed green campuses plan and incorporation of environmental studies into the curriculum,” says Daystar University student Chris Waweru. “This will help students gain the awareness, knowledge and skills needed to impact the environment, thus fast-tracking the movement to a greener and cleaner Kenya.”

Kenya’s envoy to France appointed IFAW board member

Kenyan Ambassador to France, Prof Judi Wakhungu, has been appointed to the Board of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) – a leading global wildlife conservation and animal welfare organization.

Prof Wakhungu is the immediate former Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.“We have had the pleasure of working with Prof. Wakhungu for many years and she has been present for some of ifaw’s biggest milestones in East Africa, including the signing of the lease agreement for land in Kitenden with the community at Olgulului Ololarashi Group Ranch,” says Azzedine Downes, IFAW’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

“We share an equal dedication to and passion for wildlife and are thrilled to welcome her to our Board of Directors.”

During her tenure from 2013 to 2018, she enacted substantive binding laws for the protection of the environment in Kenya including the Climate Change Act 2016 and the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act 2013.

In 2016, Prof Wakhungu championed the largest ever destruction of ivory and rhino horn in recent history by burning Kenya’s entire stockpile of over 100 tonnes of ivory and rhino horn.

In 2017, she facilitated the enactment of a nation-wide ban on the use of plastic polythene bags.

Prior to her appointment as Cabinet Secretary, she was the Executive Director of the African Centre for Technology Studies (ACTS) in Nairobi, from 2002 to 2013.

The ACTS is the Nairobi-based international inter-governmental science, technology, and environmental policy think-tank that generates and disseminates new knowledge through policy analysis, capacity building, and outreach.

She spent several years at the Pennsylvania State University, where she served as an Associate Professor, Science, Technology, and Society, and as the Director of the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Institute.

Prof Wakhungu is also a member of the Giants Club, which brings visionary leaders together to support the protection of elephants.

Founded in 1969, IFAW rescues wildlife and conserves habitats on land and at sea in over 40 countries.

Its primary mandate in East Africa is wildlife security and habitat protection, securing 26,000 acres of wildlife habitat to safeguard an elephant migration route between Amboseli and Kilimanjaro National Parks and through a project dubbed tenBoma.

IFAW is also working to protect these elephants from wildlife crime across the greater landscape