I went green and blossomed
When she received the Wangari Maathai Scholarship Fund in 2013, Abigail Ndinda did not end her efforts there. The Sh850,000 cash award winner who was recognised for her efforts in environmental conservation has to date influenced other young people who have taken up the cause.
The award started in 2012 in honour of the late Prof Wangari Maathai sought to reward young women aged between 18 and 25 with environmental conservation projects they have started or have been involved in and how those initiatives have impacted people in their communities.
The fund has helped her pay for her university education as well as channel her efforts to activities aimed at conserving the environment. “I am now in my last semester of study and the scholarship has catered for my school fees, accommodation and upkeep expenses," she says.
Through Matiliku Environmental Youth Group that she formed in December 2008 and registered in May 2009, Ndinda has expanded the group’s tree nursery to include indigenous tree seedlings as compared to the previous years where they concentrated solely on fruit tree seedlings.
Through the group, members have been able to acquire loans for various economic activities. “We currently have around 5,000 indigenous seedlings. We are also organising a market clean up in my home market, which will be done soon,” she disclosed.
The 30-member youth group has grown since 2013 but the members put a limit in membership in order to ease its management. The group’s membership was initially open and anyone could join with a Sh100 registration fee. “We could be more but we had to limit the number to ease the groups management.
We sell the seedlings at Sh20 each and the money is used to give loans to members then the profit is shared among members.” So far, Matiliku Environmental Youth Group has loaned Sh20,000 to the members, something that helps them be self-reliant.
The Clinical Medicine student at the Mount Kenya University has also led a group of students from the university in a number of environmental activities such as tree planting. Besides, she is organising a programme in population, health and environment.
She is working with the second recipient of the Wangari Mathai Scholarship Fund and a Non Governmental Organisation known as KID. Ndinda adds that the fund has opened opportunities for her such as meeting prominent people concerned with environmental issues. Last year she got a community service award from MKU.