Local Initiative, My Green Village, Transforms Kenyan Communities

We are not saying, 'This is Kinyanjui's green village, or this is Thuku Kariuki's green village.'We are saying, 'This is my green village!"

Local Initiative, My Green Village, Transforms Kenyan Communities
Thuku Kariuki after planting a tree

By Daniel Furnad


On any World Environment Day, such as today, most people expect headlines to highlight major environmental conservation projects. For instance, eleven countries have united in the Great Green Wall project, an ambitious initiative set to stretch across the entire African continent. While such large-scale endeavors are commendable, smaller, locally-led initiatives also play a crucial role in restoring the Earth to its former glory.


One such initiative is My Green Village. This fast-growing program encourages local communities to plant trees through celebratory and meaningful local events. These efforts result in the creation of groves of fruit trees, which provide financial benefits to residents, beautify their surroundings, mitigate climate change, and strengthen their connection with nature.


The program is the brainchild of Thuku Kariuki, a Kenyan journalist and documentarian. Kariuki has planted trees in several African nations while documenting valuable personal stories from his travels. 

"I am an environmental enthusiast. When my friends heard about my mini-forest growth campaign, they urged me to do it closer to home. So, I organized the first tree planting event in my home village in Kihuri, Nyeri County. That is how My Green Village was born," says Thuku.


Thuku Kariuki with a friend ready to plant trees

On that inaugural day, about 100 fruit trees were planted. "We aim at planting quality trees, not quantity. For the best results, it's better to care for a few trees until maturity rather than planting many that we can't manage," states Thuku.


My Green Village has now reached over five locales in central Kenya, with the goal of spreading its vision nationwide. The initiative draws a broad cross-section of the community, encouraging volunteerism among schoolchildren, village elders, energetic youth, local farmers, housewives, and even drinking buddies. This practice fosters teamwork and unity as communities work together to achieve their goals.


"The future looks like a green village. My Green Village is here for everyone. The reason I started My Green Village was for everyone to own it. We are not saying, 'This is Kinyanjui's green village,' or 'This is Thuku Kariuki's green village.' We are saying, 'This is my green village!'" he says.


To ensure the initiative's success, Thuku revisits these areas regularly. "The project is like a living organism; constant care and love keep the trees thriving," he asserts.


Thousands of people take pride in contributing to their countries' tree-planting goals. For example, Ethiopia aims to engage its citizens in restoring 20 million hectares of degraded land by 2030. Similarly, many Kenyans feel connected to Wangari Maathai's legacy and her dream of a greener Kenya. Additionally, President William Ruto has set a directive to plant 15 billion trees by 2032.


With initiatives like My Green Village, hundreds of people in small rural villages across Kenya are creating their own environmental legacies—groves of fruit and indigenous trees that they have helped grow.


Hats off to Thuku Kariuki and his scores of volunteers on this World Environment Day, who are making Kenya and Africa greener.