Mazingira Challenge is a youth-based program in environmental activism which brings together students from higher learning institutions to raise awareness on problems in conservation and build a network of students to participate in environmental related issues and support innovations that enhance conservation efforts in Kenya.This program has been adopted by Kenya Forest Working Group (KFWG) which is a multi-stakeholder network organization whose membership comprises of individual, government and non-government organizations both locally and internationally. It covers wide range of environmental topics including Forestry, Wildlife, Wetlands, Water and Climate Change among other emerging issues. This initiative was started in 2009 and has run for 6 years. There are different categories of competitions that students are involved in which include; Essay, Poem, Art, Innovation, Public Speaking and Quiz Challenge. There are reward, certificates and trophy for the participant(s) in each category. The overall university to win the Quiz Challenge which is the main challenge is awarded a university trophy. The initiative seeks to draw attention to forest and related biodiversity conservation by the current generation of the youth, create awareness and mobilize people especially the youth to participate in forest oriented activities. The specific objectives of the Mazingira Challenge include; to promote environmental awareness and enhanced conservation efforts across institutions of higher learning through various events and competitions, to promote environmental innovations and talents by encouraging creativity in institutions of higher learning on environmental issues, to promote environmental conservation through rewarding institutions, clubs, individuals and groups who best observe and showcase their efforts to aid conservation and to mobilize and create awareness among individuals, communities, the United Nations system, civil society and private sector among other players to participate in the reforestation programs. Since the inception of this program mainly private organizations have been sponsoring the event and governmental and non-governmental organizations which have sound mind on environmental conservation. The University of Nairobi has participated annually since 2010 in the Mazingira Challenge through the club Chiromo Environmental Awareness Club (CEAC). In this year’s Mazingira Challenge, the University of Nairobi showed a towering performance after dominating in the six categories. This saw the university battling it out in the finals with Kenyatta University for the coveted trophy. After a battle of wits in the environmental conservation between the two giant universities, the University of Nairobi proved to be the best. Evans Abondo Dailash Lagat and Alma were the contestants for the quiz challenge. The great teamwork and hard work saw the contestants swiftly climb to the top position. It was an overwhelming moment amidst cheer and excitement as they gallantly walked to the podium to receive the Mazingira Challenge Trophy. The eloquent, smartly dressed Mr Joel Kinanga, later branded as “Archimendes” after his great speech, emerged the winner in the Public Speaking category after he spoke with conviction and persuasion encouraging all to embrace environmental conservation. UnelkerMaoga, won the essay category. Her face enlightened with joy and her heart filled with peace as she received her trophy for the best essay in all the ——– participating universities. She deserved it. Davis became position two in the poem category. His talent in poetry is of great importance as he appreciates nature in rhyming syllables. Michael Musyoka made a presentation about the importance of using media as a tool to communicate all the good and vices in the environment. His presentation which was in the innovation category became position three. Any of the poetic, essay and presentation work done by CEAC is available and can be accessed. CEAC has done it again for the year 2015 under the leadership of Martin Musyoka. He has been vigil and tenacious and it has been fruitful. Bravo to the team that rally behind him, all CEAC officials and members. Much appreciation to the associate members of the club for their continued support to the club. The administration has been unwavering towards providing an enabling environment for the club, much thanks to Prof.Aduda and your able members of staff. Our dear Patron Prof Nathan Gichuki and Dr. Sigana and all associate memebers of staff not herein mentioned, your words of encouragement has seen us through and the tap on the shoulder has gave the club hope to trudge on to make our environment a better place to live in.
Narrated By, Nyaga Fredrick Odhiambo, CEAC official.