NETFUND board of Trustees, CEO, staff members together with other SAGAS under the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and the County government of Narok joined the Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko alongside PS. Dr. Chris Kiptoo to mark the 1st-anniversary celebrations of the reclamation and restoration of Maasai Mau forest, through a tree planting exercise at Senetwet Block 65 of Maasai Mau forest .
The celebrations saw 110,000 indigenous trees planted on 100 ha as part of the ongoing restoration of Maasai Mau. This is part of the 13,400 ha of forest land that was reclaimed in 2019. With efforts to realize national target of 10% tree cover by 2022, NETFUND supports technologies and innovations that contribute to attaining of the 10% tree cover through rehabilitation and restoration of community, private and public forests. As such, NETFUND together with other key partners raised 50,000 of the 110,000 seedlings to mark the celebrations. Among the key partners; Insurance regulatory Authority raised 5,000 seedlings, Kenya Dairy Board 5,000, National Oil Corporation 5,000, Kenya National Accreditation Services 5,000, Kericho Water and Sanitation Company 100, World Wide Fund for Nature .
Kenya adopted a block and Base Titanium Company also adopted a two ha block for restoration for a period of two years.
Speaking during the occasion, Tobiko noted the ecological value of Maasai Mau forest as the upper catchment of major rivers including Mara River, Amalo river, Ewaso Ngiro, Nile, Lake Victoria, Natron, Serengeti, and Maasai Mara parks among others necessitating the Government to protect the forest for the benefit of all, both current and future generations. So far, the local community has appreciated the value of the forest and voluntarily relocated from the forest area and working in partnership with the government to restore the forest.
Whereas the ecological, social, and economic significance of Maasai Mau Forest (MMF) Block to Kenya, Eastern African region, Africa and the World, cannot be overemphasized, the forest has been impacted by extensive irregular and ill-planned settlements and illegal forest resources extraction. It is estimated that between 1970s and 2018 about 19,000 hectares have been lost through illegal settlements and encroachment. This was largely attributed to the ballooning of five adjacent group ranches during the sub-division of their land. The continuous widespread encroachments and destruction of the forest block, presents environmental, economic and security threats.