In 2016, Green Cross Sweden and the Green Belt Movement are continuing their partnership to promote peace through environmental restoration and cooperation to communities in Kenya’s Rift Valley. Their efforts have taken on a new significance this year, with the establishment of a new Peace Park commemorating victims of terror.
Just over a year ago, on 2 April 2015, 148 young people were killed in a shocking terrorist attack at Garissa University. On 26 May 2016, the Green Belt Movement (GBM) and Green Cross led students and lecturers from the Universities of Nairobi and Garissa, Kenya Defense forces, and community members in planting 148 trees in memory of those victims.
Tree planting has been a core restoration activity carried out by GBM and Green Cross Sweden, alongside inter-communal peacebuilding initiatives for children, rehabilitation of the watershed, and sustainable income-generating activities based on agriculture and apiculture. The new Peace Park is on part of the green campus site that will soon become home to the Wangari Maathai Institute of Peace and Environmental studies. The Park space was donated by the University of Nairobi. The project benefitted from the ongoing support of the Folke Bernadotte Academy (FBA) for peace initiatives in Kenya.