date and time icon Mon, 30 Oct 2023

ENU Conservation project Mikoko Pamoja has been named 'Person of the Year' by the UN in Kenya

A world-leading conservation and restoration project, which was set up in Kenya in partnership with Edinburgh Napier University, has won a United Nations honour.

Mikoko Pamoja was given the UN in Kenya 'Person of the Year' award, with officials at the organisation describing it as ‘a beacon of hope’, illustrating how local actions can resonate globally. Although not an individual, it was deemed fitting to recognise the initiative as a community effort.

Established more than a decade ago by ENU, the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) and Scottish charity the Association for Coastal Ecosystem Services (ACES), Mikoko Pamoja is owned by people who live in the Gazi Bay area.

They manage 117 hectares of local mangrove forests, supporting their livelihoods by protecting the shoreline, supplying fuel, wood and fish and offering a habitat for wildlife.

The project, which translates as ‘mangroves together’, has prevented deforestation and saved thousands of tonnes of CO2 emissions. Meanwhile, selling carbon credits raises crucial funds for conservation and local projects.

Edinburgh Napier University Professor Mark Huxham, who co-founded and continues to support it, said:

“I am delighted to see this honour bestowed on Mikoko Pamoja and the people of Gazi Bay.It recognises the hard work of the community there to conserve their natural mangrove forests.

“This benefits local people, but also the global environment, given the ability of mangroves to trap and store carbon. The project represents a unique collaboration between a local community, the Kenyan government and scientists and volunteers from Scotland and around the world.”

Project coordinator Kassim Juma (pictured), was among the project team who collected the award from the UN’s office in Nairobi, as well as co-founder Dr James Kairo, lead scientist with the KMFRI.

Dr Stephen Jackson, the UN Resident Coordinator, said:

"Mikoko Pamoja efforts underscore the delicate balance between human needs and environmental conservation, emphasizing the power of community engagement and innovation.”

Mikoko Pamoja Project  coordinator Kassim Juma with Person of the Year UN Award