Reflecting on 2022

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23 January 2023
Kandi

The past year has flown by for me, but looking back, my heart is filled with gratitude, joy and hope for the future. Being the GLF’s 2022 Forest Restoration Steward has contributed enormously to these fond memories.

Since I was officially announced as a Restoration Steward on the International Day of Forests (21 March) last year 2022 (super timely), my days have been filled with the new opportunities and program activities that came along.

Our field visit to Kuku Ranch, run by last year’s Drylands Restoration Steward, Charity Lanoi, was such an encouraging experience as I realized it was possible to create an impact no matter how incompetent I felt at the time. It was also a great pleasure meeting members of the GLF team: Anna, Eirini and Salina. I also had the opportunity to meet with my mentor, Khalil, 2022 Drylands Restoration Steward Adrian Leitoro, and Charity. Moreover, we had a beautiful time in the wilderness at Chyulu Club.

Group photo during our field visit to Kuku Ranch, -Kajiado County, Kenya.
 

Through the GLF, Wageningen University & Research and the Landscape Academy, I have expanded my knowledge on facilitating multi-stakeholder collaborations in landscapes, landscape leadership, tree diversity and quality tree seed.

Adrian and Kandi after receiving their certificates on tree diversity and quality tree seed training at the ICRAF Campus in Nairobi, Kenya.

The bimonthly Restoration Steward meetings held were also a place to share my progress and learn and unlearn from the other Stewards and mentors. This is my eighth blog so far, and the program has given me a platform to tell and showcase my restoration efforts and journey. All of my social accounts have grown by more than 400 followers combined, allowing me to expand my impact both locally and globally.

As part of the GLF network, I learned about my strength in public speaking and gained  opportunities like serving as an MC and host at the GLF Africa 2022 Digital Conference, as well as part of the jury and announcing the winners of the GLF Africa Photo Competition. I also featured on episode 2 of the World Forest Voices podcast, the African Storytelling panel at GLF Africa, and  the Youth Forestry Policy Days, where I shared my perspective on the role of youth in restoration. Lastly, another great opportunity has been helping develop the GLF’s Restoration Education curriculum.

The ‘Restore Mama Earth Program’ with my organization, Light On A Hill, which has been my main focus of impact through the year, has seen tremendous growth. |We established a green space that hosts an eco-friendly learning space, a greenhouse, an organic vegetable garden and a tree nursery. I have managed to educate 312 children in Kiirua, held one community activity as we convened 120 people at the launch of the green space that, promotes organic horticultural farming both in our vegetable farm and greenhouse.

Our tree nursery hosts fruit and exotic tree seedlings (avocado, passion, macadamia, plum, cypress and Croton megalocarpus). We’ve held two community clean-ups, planted 308 tree seedlings  (cypress, croton and grivellea), 634 sunflower seeds, 32 bougainvillea, 22 hibiscus and 13 rose flower seedlings, and collected and recycled more than 130 glass bottles for art. Finally, we distributed 400 grevillea tree seedlings to Mama Day School pupils and teachers as it closed for the end-of-year break.

Teacher Jecinta  distributing tree seedlings to Mama Day pupils.
Green classroom Kandi constructed under Loah in partnership with GLF.
Elsy (Mama Day cateress), Ken and Kandi after harvesting spinach from the organic garden.
Green capsicum in our greenhouse.

I have really cherished my journey as a Restoration Steward with the GLF in 2022 and the lessons, impact, growth and motivation I gained to continue my restoration efforts.

Restore Mama Earth champions, Ken and Kandi in Mama Day’s forest after planting trees.
Restore Mama Earth Champions, Gordon and Ken with grevillea seedlings before heading to Mama Day’s forest.
 

A big thank you to the Global Landscapes Forum! Asante Sana! 🙂

Kandi

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Supporting partners 2023

Supporting partners

The Restoration Stewards program provides funding, mentorship and training to deepen the impact of youth-led restoration projects. The year-long program is run by the Youth in Landscapes Initiative (YIL) and the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) under the banner of Generation Restoration to support and highlight the work of eight young restoration practitioners and their teams in 2023.

During the program, the Restoration Stewards and their teams are  supported to further develop their project and serve as ambassadors at both global and local levels. Globally, the Restoration Stewards share their journeys in a series of vlogs and blogs documenting their stories of inspiration and challenges and participate in different international events to showcase their work. Locally, they are sparking a restoration movement, mobilizing local communities and creating pathways to connect, share, learn, and act for livelihoods and landscapes.