• Inter Religion interaction in improvement of peace.

  • Using Environmental conservation to mobilize peace for the sake of Peace.

  • Justice, Peace and Integrity through Youth Engagement

  • Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Franciscans Africa

Copyright 2023 - Custom text here

News & Blog

Franciscans in Kenya Answer President's Call for National Tree Growing Day

On Monday, November 13, 2023, the President of the Republic of Kenya declared a special national holiday dedicated to tree planting, a call that resonated deeply with various groups across the country. Interior Cabinet Secretary Prof Kithure Kindiki officially announced the public holiday on November 7, 2023, aligning with the government's ambitious goal to plant 15 billion trees by 2032.

President Dr. William Samoei Ruto personally led the national tree-growing exercise in Kiu, Makindu, Makueni County, with Cabinet Secretaries set to take the lead in similar exercises across different counties. Encouraging public participation, Environment Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya urged Kenyans to plant at least two seedlings each during the exercise, emphasizing the use of the 'Jaza Miti' mobile application to document tree-growing activities.

The Franciscan Family Association of Kenya actively participated in environmental initiatives across various regions in the country. In Nairobi, members, including Franciscan religious brothers and sisters, along with secular Franciscans, congregated at Elizabethan Sisters in Karen. The event was supported by the Mother Earth Network in collaboration with JPIC Franciscans Africa, and hosted by Elizabethan Sisters.

(Franciscan Brothers and Sisters during the national tree planting day on november 13th ,2023 at  Elizabethan Sisters)

During the gathering, a total of 100 avocado seedlings were planted, with some planted on-site and others distributed to be planted in neighboring communities. The collaborative effort involved numerous congregations and faith movements, such as the Dimesse Sisters, Elizabethan Sisters, Little Sisters of St Joseph, Little Sisters of St Francis, OFM Brothers, Order of Secular Franciscans, Franciscan Youth, AMECEA Secretariat, and the Laudato Si’ Movement.

(Left:  Ashley Kitisya from Laudato Si movement  and Steeven Kezamutima from JPIC-FA pose for a photo during the national tree planting day. Right Miss. Ashley and Br. Herman planting an avocado seedling)

For the Little Sisters of St Joseph, the occasion coincided with a leadership reflection and transition within their congregation as they conducted their chapter meeting. To commemorate this significant moment, they planted five trees – two mangoes and three avocado trees – in the garden of the Savelberg Retreat Center Listen to Sr Rose from LSSJ

On the other side, our JPIC Franciscans Africa volunteers joined the Climate Yes movement in growing trees at Emakoko primary school in Ongata Rongai, Kajiado  county where they have set up a tree nursery with 1,500 seedlings  on october 10th 2023 and they have managed to raise more than 1000 tree seedlings of indigenous acacia and croton which  do well in the areas of kajiado county are are hoping to distribute the seedlings to the schools, churches and communities Emakoko next year. Climate Yes, which  is a youth environmental organization, has a plan to raise 20,000 seedlings every year and distribute them to local communities and learning institutions as a way of creating awareness on the need to take care of the environment and mother earth in whole.

(JPIC-FA volunteers potting acacia seedlings at Emakoko primary school climate yes kenya tree nursery during the national tree growing day)

              (JPIC-FA volunteers pose for a photo with members of climate yes kenya 

The commitment to caring for creation resonates deeply within the Franciscan charism, and the call by President Dr. William Samoi Ruto only served to reinforce what is inherently embedded in the Franciscan DNA.

The dedication to caring for creation resonates deeply within the Franciscan charism, and President Dr. William Samoi Ruto's call only served to reinforce what is inherently embedded in the Franciscan DNA.

The Kenyan Government's call held significant meaning for Franciscans, especially considering that November commemorates the declaration of our Seraphic Father St. Francis as the Patron Saint of Ecology on November 29, 1979, by Pope John Paul II.

Pope Francis, in paragraph 17 of Laudato Si, has emphasized the need for eco-conversion, stating, "The external deserts in the world are growing because the internal deserts have become so vast. …For this reason, the ecological crisis is also a summons to a profound interior conversion."

On that day, millions of trees were planted, but the connection to the gospel of creation may not have touched many hearts. Some people may plant trees merely in response to the Kenyan Government's call, without fully embracing the urgent need to respond to both the Cry of the Earth and the Cry of the Poor.

In this context, Franciscans commenced the day with a Eucharistic mass celebration led by Fr. Carillus Onyango, an OFM friar, co-celebrated by Fr. Hermann Borg, OFM, and founder of Mother Earth Network.

During his reflection, Fr. Carillus took us back to a time of environmental harmony and connected it to the current reality of a destroyed environment with people remaining neutral and indifferent in crisis situations, emphasizing the Franciscan charism and the call to care for creation Listen to Fr Carillus Onyango.

Fr. Herman Borg provided a historical background of his journey and Faith groups, highlighting that the Faith action we witness today began many years ago. Organizations like Mother Earth Network, JPIC Franciscans Africa, Laudato Si Movement, and others are making a positive impact in various parts of Kenya  Listen to Fr Hermann Borg  .

Fr. Paul Igweta of AMECEA expressed satisfaction that, after many years, the government has responded to the call by Pope Francis and brought it to life, hoping that the spirit continues Listen to Fr Paul Igweta

Steeven Kezamutima, Programs Manager at JPIC Franciscans Africa, inspired participants with more opportunities and platforms for tree growing, emphasizing learning opportunities and incorporating climate action into religious pastoral approaches, Listen to Sr Hellen Cherop from Dimes Sisters 

   Little Sisters of St Joseph growing mangoes and avocados at during their chapter meeting 

The step taken by the Kenyan Government is appreciated. Caring for creation is not a one-day event but a continuous action involving education, adoption of eco-conversion, mentality, and lifestyle change. As the Kenyan government calls on everyone to take action, it is high time for all citizens in Kenya, Africa, and the world to realize that we are interconnected. Regardless of titles, careers, social status, wealth, or poverty, the climate crisis does not discriminate.

Pope Francis aptly expresses this interconnectedness in Laudato Si paragraph 138: "It cannot be emphasized enough how everything is interconnected. Time and space are not independent of one another, and not even atoms or subatomic particles can be considered in isolation."

Fr. Carillus, the main celebrant of the day, concludes, "Mainly we work to make God’s creation look good like it was looking on the day of creation."

It is our hope that many people in Kenya were inspired by the President's move and will continue growing trees, especially on celebration days such as birthdays, weddings, graduations, funerals, sacraments, and any family or social gathering.

               (Photos taken  on 13th november 2023 during the national tree planting /growing day)



Search our site

f t g m

Our core values

  • Prayer
  • Respect
  • Integrity
  • Animation
  • Collaboration
  • Transparency
  • Professionalism

Our vision

To envision a society where Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation are lived and
promoted as gospel values and in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi.

Get in touch

P.O. Box 15155-00509

Portiuncula, Franciscan Centre,

Lang'ata, Nairobi, Kenya.

Tel: +254 20890190

Email: jpicfa@gmail.com