Leaving a Legacy


Misalimu Bakari is a shining example of the Green World Campaign School Program in Kenya. Every year, students at Mbweka Primary School take home at least two trees to plant in their homesteads. Through their partnership with the Green World Campaign, students successfully raise trees from seeds to mature organisms. The GWC provides training and tree growth materials to patrons and students alike, so schools can be incubators for a new civil society in Kenya - a civil society concerned about the welfare of their forests and capable of growing trees to replace those cut for firewood and timber.

Even at her tender young age, Misalimu is a leader in environmental preservation and restoration.

When asked what activity she likes best in the school club, Misalumi says, “Planting trees. It attracts the rain and we get medicines.” She’s taken 10 saplings home with her, planting them inside her family’s land and caring for them until they surpassed even her own height. Though the trees she’s planted make very good timber, she finds it hard to cut them down, having cared for them so long.

In the next few days, Misalimu will take her exams to determine if, and where, she will go to secondary school. “Wherever I go, I will talk to students and teachers in my new school and show them how to plant trees,” she says. She wants to become a doctor after finishing college, but adds, “I want to be out of my country, maybe to Tanzania. But, they don’t know [about trees] there. If I work there, I will teach them to plant trees, to take care of trees.”

Misalimu says the biggest challenge to growing trees in at Mbweka Primary has been the lack of a water tank. Without it, they’ve had to wait on the rains to plant - rains increasingly unpredictable due to global climate change.

However, because her school is now part of our reforestation effort around the Pungu Watershed, sponsored by the Walt Disney Company Foundation, they recently received a water tank and other advanced nursery materials.

Misalimu won’t be able to see the long-term impact of the water tank because, regardless of her exam results, she will leave Mbweka Primary soon. But her legacy will surely remain and encourage the children she has been leading to plant even greater numbers of trees using their new equipment. And, with her knowledge, leadership, and will, it is likely that Misalimu, will spread the message about the importance of trees throughout her lifetime.

Imagining thousands of children like her, spreading the same urgent message, coupled with the knowledge about how to replace what’s been lost, one can begin to envision the legacy of an entire generation of tree planters.

BlogMarc Barasch