Combatting climate change in action: MSM alumni tree planting event in Kenya


Together with its Kenya alumni chapter, MSM organized a tree planting event in Kenya on 2 April 2022. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the Kenya Forest Research Institute (KEFRI) supported the event and highly appreciated this initiative taken by the MSM Kenyan alumni.

The MSM alumni chapter in Kenya planned this tree planting event within the outskirts of Nairobi, as part of a social networking activity.

Gilbert Kandie, MSM Alumni Chapter Head in Kenya and the driving force behind the event, explains the importance of this initiative for the MSM alumni as well as for Kenya in general: “In the previous alumni activities, we have assisted the less fortunate by visiting children homes. The choice of a tree planting event by the alumni was aimed at giving back to society where this was a community service. Secondly this activity would bring alumni together to network during this outdoor activity. Thirdly, the significance of this event was that together with our MSM officials and the alumni we were contributing towards a climate change initiative which is a global concern and striving towards Kenya’s national 10% forest cover goal that is to be achieved by 2022.”

MSM was represented by Hermina Kooyman, Manager Enrollment and Career Services, and Denise Dupont, Student Services and Alumni Officer. 

The Kenya Forest Research Institute (KEFRI) collaborated with the alumni under the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MEF) in providing the necessary technical support: right indigenous seedlings, preparation of the site and mobilizing resources to work with the alumni during the tree planting event.

We live on one globe, and it is our responsibility to take care of it by participating in conservation activities such as tree planting

Gilbert looks back at a very enjoyable and meaningful event: “The event was full of experiences. There was a lot of bonding between the participants. With everyone getting down to growing approximately 10 tree seedlings, the entire team planted over 300 seedlings in less than 2 hours. Then we got the physical health benefits, participants being able to bend and kneel to get the work done was a good exercise. We also received important lessons given by the KEFRI staff who are the experts on how to ‘grow’ trees. The greatest lesson was that we live on one globe, and it is our responsibility to take care of it by participating in conservation activities such as tree planting. As the team leader of the MSM Kenya Alumni Chapter, I was thrilled by the active participation of everyone who braved the chilly morning cold with ‘jungle’ attire to give back to society. Our mere act of extending forest cover in a small way shall forever be remembered by future generations.”

Gilbert concludes with thanking the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the Kenya Forest Research Institute: “I thank them for providing the necessary environment. It is my hope that our collaboration will grow to include areas of capacity building on courses offered by MSM for the mutual benefit of the two countries.”

MSM and the MSM Kenya Alumni Chapter would like to thank in particular Dr. Christopher Kiptoo, Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Mr. Alfred Gichu, Conservation Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Dr. Joshua K. Cheboiwo, Director KEFRI and Dr. Eston Mutitu, Regional Director/Chief Research Scientist KEFRI.

During the afternoon the alumni enjoyed a presentation by Dr. Julius Gatune Kariuki and Fridah Munene from the MSM Expert Center on Emerging Economies (ECEE) about the various MSM projects in Africa in general, and in Kenya in particular. The alumni were very interested to learn about these projects and confirmed that they would be very willing to work together in these areas.

In addition, Hermina provided updates about the MSM alumni platform and services as well as about the chapter opportunities in general.

The alumni further discussed the next steps for the chapter and future activities that focus on giving back to the community and on sustainability.

We hope that this will be the start of many such alumni initiatives in the future.