Launch of Birthday Tree Planting Campaign

Participants pose for a group photo after the launch of the campaign.

ON Friday 29th June 2020, the long-awaited Birthday Treeplanting Campaign was launched at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa in Lang’ata. The event was graced by students from three partner schools namely; Huruma Girls and Our Lady of Mercy. Others that graced the event were school administrators, Sisters, and Brothers. The event held in CUEA’s Missio Hall kicked off at 10:30 am with a word of prayer from Sr. Mary Sebastian of JPIC-FA. 



Birthday celebrants cutting the cake.

Another guest speaker Fr Hermann Borg, Chairman, Mother Earth Network said that the alarming rate at which deforestation is being carried out in Kenya is truly shocking because of the climate change it has brought about and its adverse impacts such as drought, prolonged flooding, and displacement of wild animals. Further emphasizing the need to plant more trees, he said that we not only need to plant trees but as well as caring for them until maturity to ensure a sustained growth.

On her part, Sr. Rose Macharia from the Sisters of Mercy said that she was happy about the campaign and appreciated the participating students for their attendance in large numbers. In her speech, she said that our careless actions bring about natural disasters that arise out of deforestation and implored the students to deeply reflect on the kind of earth they would want to live in and to leave behind for the future generations. Sr. Rose added that the earth is God’s gift towards us and so we should take good care of it. She also gave an example of Rwanda and how it is taking the lead in greening Africa and challenged the participants to emulate them.




Fr. Hermann Borg giving a speech at the campaign launch.

The campaign coordinator Mr. Steven Kezamutima warmly welcomed the participants to the campaign launch and he asked them to join him in this cause by encouraging their peers to do the same. He challenged them to a treeplanting contest by taking photographs of trees they have planted and sharing them on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

Birthday celebrants were called out to the stage and birthday song was sung to them by the audience led by Sr. Mary Sebastian. Later on, a birthday cake was cut and served by the celebrants as a sign of celebrating the gift of life. Afterward, the participants engaged in treeplanting activities by planting more than 50 tree seedlings. Some tree seedlings were offered to participants to take them and plant them at their schools and homes. 

Sr. Mary Sebastian joining the participants in planting the trees.

In an interview with Mr. Steven Kezamutima the campaign coordinator, he said that the campaign will be observed every month but in different institutions. He revealed that the next event will be held at Alliance Boys School in Kikuyu in July at a date to be determined later. He implored everyone who cares for the earth to take part in this campaign which he emphasized that it is meant to unite all Kenyans of different religious and ethnical background and as part of the Interfaith Dialogue activities. 

The different partners that collaborated with JPIC-FA on this campaign were; Capuchin TV, Mother Earth Network, 350.org, Missionaries of Africa, Radio Waumini, and CUEA DRC, Rwanda, and Burundi Students Association. 



Over the years, JPIC-FA has been on the ground and implements JPIC programs in partnership with its grass-root stakeholders who include Franciscan religious orders present in the eastern African region, the secular Franciscan Order and the Franciscan Youths. These stakeholders have engaged themselves in different JPIC works depending on their capacities and the local needs. Some of the activities we undertake are:

  • Membership mobilization and formation into the Franciscan Order (Youths, SFOs)
  • JPIC animation (sensitizing and mainstreaming JPIC work)
  • Forming partnerships and networking in JPIC work
  • Advocating and lobbying for human rights (children’s rights included)
  • Caring for environment through tree planting, street clean-up (solid-waste control)
  • Peoples’ economic empowerment through initiation of IGAs/IGPs.
  • Organic farming as a way for caring for environment and financial sustainability
  • Capacity building in leadership and management
  • Palliative care for HIV/Aids patients (Home-Based Care)
  • Resource mobilization and asset acquisition for JPIC-FA partners (YOUFRA)
  • Youth and children ministry (OVCs, Counseling, Catechetical instructions)
  • Liturgical participation in Christian worship
  • Prison ministry especially for death row inmates
  • Education ministry (Basic and Primary Education and Catechetical formation).

The different stakeholders that JPIC-FA works with include…

  • Franciscan Youths (YOUFRA)
  • Secular Franciscan Order (SFO)
  • Franciscan Religious Orders (FRO)
  • Regular Franciscans Congregations (RFC)
  • Franciscans International (FI)
  • Comprehensive Course on Franciscan Missionary Charism (CCFMC)
  • Damietta Peace Initiative (DPI)
  • Mother Earth Network
  • 350.org
  • Missionaries of Africa/AGEH
  • Edmund Rice Advocacy Network
  • Uwiano Platform for Peace
  • Center for Social Justice and Ethics – CUEA
  • Capuchin TV
  • Radio Waumini
  • CJPC Ngong


JPIC-FA has made tremendous achievements across the regions with the support of its stakeholders. Our achievements and challenges are shared across board through our continuous ministry in the Eastern African region. Different JPIC stakeholders are in different place and involved in different JPIC ministries. Such successes include:

  • Successful propagation of Franciscan spirituality and inculcation of JPIC values (agenda)
  • Successful mobilization of many stakeholders in the JPIC ministry (youth, SFO, religious)
  • Broad and positive engagement in partnership and networking of JPIC stakeholders and partners in the eastern African region.
  • Successful establishment of JPIC programs, projects and activities in diverse socio-politico-economic environment in the Eastern African region.
  • Successful implementation of diverse JPIC program projects and activities (lobbying and advocacy, propagation and protection of human rights (children’s, women’s, inmates’…)) and championing good governance and rule of law.
  • Environmental care through tree planting, street clean-ups and plastic waste control, organic farming and promotion and conservation of biodiversity.
  • Peoples’ empowerment through capacity building and establishment of sustainable IGAs/Ps (Microfinance, farming, recycling of waste materials such as plastic, clothing…) thus improvement of their living conditions, welfare and quality of life.
  • Provision of education for human capital development leading to self-reliance and national development.
  • Provision of care, support and protection to vulnerable people especially orphaned and vulnerable children, widows and widowers, HIV/Aids patients, materially poor, prisoners… leading to restoration of their human dignity.
  • Facilitating creation of inner peace among injured persons and communities through spiritual nourishment, psycho-social care and support services.
  • Inter-religious dialogue leading to positive influence on people of other faiths bringing about inter-religious tolerance and harmonious coexistence.
  • Participation and support to the mainstream church in evangelization work through catechesis, youth and children ministry, and call to religious and consecrated life.

JPIC-FA and its membership have encountered challenges…

The JPIC-FA has had many success stories as pointed out in the previous paragraph. However, JPIC-FA has had some challenges too. They include the following:

  • Lack of or poor collaboration and cooperation among JPIC-FA stakeholders due to lack of awareness of existence of each other and overall coordination of their activities.
  • Lack of recognition and support by some Franciscan and some mainstream church
    leaders such as superiors and parish priests thus little commitment and little allocation of resources (especially human) to JPIC work.
  • Lack of recognition, appreciation and support by some conferences of bishops (in some countries of the region) thus difficulty in establishing and carrying out JPIC work.
  • Discrimination of some JPIC stakeholders by some Franciscan orders thus perception of them as not bonafide Franciscans, based on whoever formed them.
  • Lack of full participation in JPIC program by some key stakeholders (Franciscan
    religious orders and the SFOs).
  • Lack of appropriate leadership and management systems for running the JPIC
    program (overseeing, planning, coordinating JP).
  • Lack of financial sufficiency and independence in JPIC-FA and among many of its
    stakeholders (donor dependency…).
  • Lack of alignment of civil justice systems and values with JPIC values, systems and
    concept of justice thus big obstacles to justice, peace and integrity of creation work.
  • Lack of sufficient facilities in some regions from where JPIC work can be coordinated and some of it conducted from.

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