Conserving Mount Kenya Though Social Media – Background Information

With a towering height of 5 199 m, Mount Kenya is the second highest mountain in Africa after Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro (5 895m). The mountain is situated the central region of Kenya about 130 km from Nairobi, the capital. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has three main peaks which are clearly seen even from a far off distance. The closest summit is Lenana (4 895 m), followed by Nelion (5,188 m) and then Batian which is the highest point at 5 199 m.

Mt Kenya is a darling of local and international climbers due to its rich biological biodiversity. It has eight different natural forest types and a variety of wildlife six of whom are species of large mammals of international conservation interest — elephants, black rhinos, giant forest hogs, the bongo and black fronted duiker.The mountain is also a source of fascination for many people because of its glacier-clad summits which are unusual considering its close proximity to the equator and attracts more than 15,000 climbers annually.

The mountain is also the country’s largest water tower whose underground lakes and a large network of rivers supply water to more than two million people living in the surrounding areas. It also provides about half the flow of water into the Tana River – Kenya’s largest river, which produces 50 per cent of the hydropower generated in Kenya.
Mt. Kenya is also the source of the Ewaso Nyiro River, the only river supplying water to the arid Laikipia and Samburu area to the north of Kenya. In a nutshell, Mount Kenya Forest alone is estimated to provide more than 40% of the country’s water requirements.

But deforestation – a major contributing factor to global warming – is threatening to destroy the globally recognized tourist attraction and Kenya’s major water tower. According to research compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), seven of the 18 glaciers present atop Mount Kenya in 1900 had disappeared by 1986 and the remaining eleven glaciers had lost between 60% and 92% of their area. The report further added that the total area covered by glaciers was only 0.4 sq km in 2000 compared to 1.6 sq km in 1900 – representing a 75% loss since the turn of the century. The severe extent of deforestation of the Mt. Kenya forest and other fringe forests has further aggravated the situation and scientists predict the glaciers could could be wiped out soon if urgent measures are not taken.

One way to help reverse the impact of deforestation on the delicate ecosystem of Mt Kenya is through extensive tree planting. To have such an initiative being sustainable, it would have to be with the participation and involvement of the local community. Planting trees is no doubt one of the most effective way of slowing down the rate at which the glaciers are ,melting as trees help to reduce global warming by ‘cleaning the air’. They do so by consuming carbon dioxide – a gas that helps to cause global warming. Various conservation organizations are already actively involved in tree planting initiatives around Mt. Kenya and their efforts are already starting to yield good results.


One such organization is the East Africa Wildlife Society whose Tupande Pamoja programme works with local Community Based Organizations to plant trees in the Mt. Kenya forest. Over the last two years the initiative has brought together local communities to plant thousands of trees that are slowly bringing to life a forest that was once almost no more.

Greatly inspired by the work already done by the East Africa Wildlife Society’s Tupande Pamoja Programme, Africa Point – an Africa specialist online travel agent – has already donated to the Tupande Pamoja programme 5,000 trees. However, the company estimates that to achieve an adequate afforestation, more people need to join hands and plans to drive the planting of at least 100,000 trees.

As a result, Africa Point has launched a massive campaign to create awareness of the sorry state of Mount Kenya and to bring on board as many individuals and corporate partners to this worthwhile cause. The company is particularly interested in roping in young Kenyans who, according to a recent TNS study, are spending more and more time on the Internet, especially on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. The study further reveals that an estimated 6.69 million Kenyans have access to the internet and over 1 Million Kenyans are on Facebook alone.

For this reason, Africa Point & Tupande Pamoja have turned to social media as a great engagement tool to create public awareness about the need to conserve Mount Kenya while at the same time giving young Kenyans a chance to participate in the massive tree planting campaign. Africa Point, together with its partners will donate a seedling to be planted in Mt Kenya forest for every social media mention made in raising awareness about the need to conserve Mt Kenya. For every Facebook ‘Like’ or ‘Tweet’ that a person makes in raising awareness about the initiative on the official campaign page at (, Africa Point will donate one seedlingon their behalf.

With over 6 Million Kenyans online, Africa Point & Tupande Pamoja strongly believe they can bring on board 100,000 social media ambassadors to help raise awareness about this worthy cause within a period of two years and subsequently plant 100,000 trees in Mt. Kenya Forest over the same period of time.
With a rising number of Internet users in Kenya, this campaign – the first of its kind in Africa, should hopefully successfully usher in a new era of tapping into the power of social media to drive environmental conservation. This will no doubt start with Mt. Kenya, a critical asset for Kenya.

For more information about the Africa Point Mt Kenya Tree Planting Social Media Campaign, one may contact Mr Gaita Wamucii at +254.20.2737133 or
[email protected].

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