Willy Kanyeki is a young and energetic employee who has been with Wildlife Works Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project for seven years, and our permanent greenhouse supervisor for four. During his childhood, Kanyeki was passionate about planting and watering trees, and hoped to study Environmental Science as a career. Though he could not proceed with his education due to lack of funds, he did not let go of his passion, and was optimistic that he could do something for the environment irrespective of his academic background.
Inspired by what Wildlife Works does to conserve the environment in his home area of Kasigau, Kanyeki decided to volunteer at the our greenhouse back in 2005. During this time, Kanyeki proved to be a very dedicated and hard-working volunteer, and was eventually employed permanently. After working in the greenhouse for a few years, he was promoted to his current position as greenhouse supervisor.
Along with growing a wide range of produce like mango, lime, avocado, passion fruit, and oranges, Kanyeki and his team regularly buy tree seedlings from local communities to plant and distribute around the project area. Once at the greenhouse, the seedlings are planted in polythene tubes that contain forest soil mixed with manure. Plants are watered daily, and maintained to prevent the plants from attaching themselves to the soil. This proceeds for a period of three months, after which the seedling is six inches long and ready to be distributed and planted.
Kanyeki is most passionate about distributing the trees to local schools and communities. The trees are assigned to individuals or clubs who monitor their growth and development, and then provide feedback to Kanyeki and his team every four months.
As Kanyeki puts it, the main aim of distributing the trees to schools is to encourage the future generation to conserve the environment. “Trees provide clean air and without trees we will destroy the ozone layer which will cause global warming,” says Kanyeki, with a lot of emphasis.
When asked how Wildlife Works has changed his life, he told us that before being employed, he was unable to provide for his family. He is now able to support his family, and pay the school fees for his two children. In addition, he says, “I have learned a lot, in that I can now interact with diverse people from different backgrounds which was very difficult for me before.”
Kanyeki is looking forward to the day when the five communities surrounding the project area will be flourishing with trees, and everyone will be determined to plant at least five trees per week.