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Teen with affinity for all things green

Love Child @PeopleDailyKe

Tell us who you are, where you come from and what you are doing currently? My name is Lily Jepkorir Tanui from Baringo county, Eldama Ravine constituency, though I currently live in Uasin Gishu.

I am an 18-year-old environmentalist following the footsteps of the late Wangari Maathai. I did my Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education exams last year and I am currently engaging in tree- planting activities across the country as I wait to join campus.

At your young age, you are already a Yale University Young Scholar 2016 alumnus. How do you feel about this achievement?

I’m happy and I want to thank everyone who helped me make it to Yale. Travelling to the USA at the age of 16 is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Together with other delegates from all over the world, we learnt about sustainable energy and environment conservation.

How did you find your way to Yale University for Young Global Scholars and what is your ‘Take-home’ from this experience?

I surf the Internet a lot; this is where I found out about the Yale Young Global Scholarships programme. I wrote an essay on why I wanted to be selected for the programme. I was accepted.

Who inspired you to be an environmentalist and why do you think people should conserve the environment?

My dad, Shadrack Moimett, inspired me. He is a nutritionist and the founder of Koibatek Herbal Clinic. He really loves and cares for the environment.

I am also inspired by the late Wangari Maathai who worked selflessly with other women across the world to reverse deforestation in the country. If we take care of environment then the environment will take care of us.

We are who we are because of the environment and I think that is the only reason people should conserve the environment.

Is this what you want to do for a career?

Yes. I would like to pursue environmental engineering in campus. I want to be remembered as the girl who spent all her life to conserve and champion for a clean environment.

Your parents were worried about your performance in school because of your involvement with environmental initiatives, but you scored an A- in your KCSE exams last year. How did you balance the two?

I thank God for my grade. I must say it wasn’t that easy balancing academics and co-curricular activities. I was the Environmental Director in my school, Bunyore Girls High School as well as the chairperson of the Environmental Club, which I founded. I was also involved in drama and music festivals. I achieved all this through self-discipline and doing the right thing at the right time and right place.

You’ve already planted more than 3000 trees through your Green Future Movement. Tell us a little about that?

I planted 1,500 trees when I was in school through my club. I formed the Green Future Movement soon after I came from Yale University to champion for environmental conservation. I planted an additional 1,500 trees when I came back into the country.

What do you think the government should do to conserve the environment?

The government should channel most of its energy to environmental conservation. Members of Parliament should table a bill that will see the establishment of the National Tree Planting Day, just like India did.

Can you imagine a country with a population of over 40 million having everyone plant a tree! I wish our First Lady Margaret Kenyatta could champion for this just like she did with the Beyond Zero Campaign.

The government should also give out trees for free just like the way books are issued in schools for free. This will increase the number of people willing to protect the environment by way of planting trees.

You are the Uasin Gishu environmental ambassador. Tell us more about this and what kind of support do you get from the county government?

First, I would like to thank Uasin Gishu Governor Jackson Mandago for appointing me the county Environmental Ambassador.

My position in the county has enabled me plant more trees and get interactions with many leaders across the country. I work closely with the county ministry of environment in tree-planting activities in churches, schools and hospitals.

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