Kijabe Environment Volunteers (KENVO) is a community-based organization engaged in developing sustainable nature conservation programs in the Kikuyu Escarpment Forest. KENVO was formed in 1994 and officially registered in 1996. The major goal of KENVO is to promote conservation of the Kikuyu Escarpment ecosystems, while supporting community livelihoods. KENVO works in a number of key areas including capacity building, forest restoration, youth empowerment, promoting ecotourism, and research.
KENVO has helped improve the livelihood of communities, reduce threats on biodiversity and develop youth leadership. It collaborates with key stakeholders such as government departments, research institutions, private sector, and other development agencies to inform, educate and build the capacity of communities to embrace appropriate conservation practices in a sustainable way.
The biologically rich southern Aberdare forests – the Kikuyu Escarpment forest – and other natural resources will be conserved in whole for their biodiversity importance and support to livelihood of the local community.
KENVO strives to conserve natural habitats in the Kikuyu Escarpment and their biological diversity, by working with local communities and partners to implement conversation projects, in addition to providing conservation information and education.
- To raise community awareness on the value and importance of the local forests, biodiversity and other natural resources through environmental education and awareness campaigns
- To initiate and promote both rural development and environmental-friendly income-generating activities that link community survival to environmental conservation
- To gather information through research on local natural resources and traditional knowledge that augments scientific work in biodiversity conservation
- To ensure that the local forests’ rich biological diversity is conserved with strong support and active participation from the local communities
Kijabe Environment Volunteers (KENVO) is a non profit making community-based organization formed by members from the local community living adjacent to the globally important Kikuyu Escarpment forests. The idea of the group was conceived in 1992 after the realization that the surrounding forest was becoming degraded due to environmentally destructive practices. Two of the founder members by then had joined the local universities and acquired some knowledge on forests and natural resources. They hatched the idea of a youth group in the form of a ‘think-tank’ which would address environmental issues as a core, but also other wider social issues affecting the youth within this society.
A ‘community think-and-do-tank’ the Kijabe Young Volunteers was created in 1994 to implement the awareness campaign, and it was subsequently officially registered as Kijabe Environment Volunteers (KENVO) in 1996.
A few others joined the group and worked together to conduct a study which established that limited community awareness (of the forest’s value) and poverty were key factors leading to forest degradation. This work prompted the initiation of an awareness campaign on the value and importance of the forest to the adjacent community. Subsequent research has confirmed that most of the solutions to forest predicaments indeed lie with members of the local community themselves.