Last week was the annual Global Soil Week in Berlin and Kenya was amazingly well represented from international NGOs to local NGOs and government officials, the turn out was great.
This year’s event was mainly dorminated by Kenyans in all spaces, from Keynote speakers to activity hosts.
First up was Joseph Ole Simel, Executive Director, Mainyoito Pastoralist Integrated Development Organization (MPIDO). A Kenyan expert and activist for Indigenous Peoples Human Rights for over 20 years, especially on land and natural resources. He is a board member of several networks and many organizations locally and internationally, such as board member of the UNDP Civil Society Advisory Committee. Joseph Ole Simel was the African Representative for the Indigenous Peoples Global Summit on climate change and is currently a member of the Global Coordinating Group (GCG) representing the Africa Region for the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. Mr. Simel was part of the panel discussion on “Soil. The Substance of Transformation“. You can watch it below.
Ms. Evelyn Kihiu, was also at the event but although she’s a Kenyan, she was there representing the Center for Development Research (ZEF) in Bonn where she currently works as a junior researcher. She presented on the Economics of Land Degradation in Kenya.
From the Kenyan government we had the Principal Secretary for Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Ms. Sicilly Kariuki. She was the Keynote speaker speaking on the way forward for Kenya in regards to legislation and governmental support for the issues that were discussed and presented at the event.
The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) from Kenya showcased a project, Soil data: Modelling and good datasets in landscape planning, during the Lunch Break Forum. The project’s objective was to to demonstrate the value of good-quality soil data in conducting landscape assessments for flows of water, nutrients and subsequently ecosystem services. The CIAT further hosted several discussion panels in which they had representatives from their Kenyan offices. However, it was evident that the organisation was an international NGO without a single native Kenyan representing the Kenyan office.
Other organisations from Kenya present at the event were:
- the Division of Environmental Policy Implementation (DEPI) in the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) that was represented by its Director, Ms. Mette L. Wilkie;
- and International Center for Research in Agroforestry (ICARF) represented by Mr. Todd Rosenstock.
The Global Soil Week is an annual event dedicated towards achieving responsible land governance and sustainable soil management worldwide by offering platforms for discussion and space for debate amongst diverse stakeholders and actors. This exchange generates contextualized knowledge with a practical relevance.