The Makueni Union of Journalists (MUJO) has broken away from traditional reporting roles, adopting an innovative approach to engage and educate communities in the region about the impending El Niño rains predicted by the weatherman.
MUJO, led by the Chairman Michael Mutinda, has embarked on a mission to sensitize local communities, starting in the Barazani area of Sultan Hamud, which has been grappling with adverse effects from uncontrolled sand harvesting, including extensive damage and soil erosion leading to deep gullies.
“As journalists, we are committed to promoting public awareness campaigns, aimed at educating locals about the dangers associated with El Niño rains and the necessary precautions. This is just the beginning; we have more initiatives in the pipeline,” Mutinda explained.
The Chairman also noted that given the area’s history of recurring flooding, they have chosen to focus on raising awareness about the impending dangers, should the weather predictions materialize.
Among the preventive measures they advocated for are encouraging residents in landslide-prone areas to relocate to safer zones.
The County Director of Disaster Management, Martin Kitavi, announced the availability of three evacuation centers for those who might be affected.
Furthermore, he cautioned the residents are against unregulated sand harvesting, which has been causing detrimental effects in the region.
Kitavi also advised them on the hazards posed by overgrown trees during the rainy season.
In addition, the journalists donated tree seedlings to the local community, emphasizing the importance of tree planting to combat soil erosion, improve air quality, provide shade, and mitigate the impact of El Niño rains.
Local Chief Joshua Nthenge commended the journalists for their proactive approach, urging other professionals to follow their lead.
He also stressed the importance of ensuring children’s safety when crossing rivers and educating them about the dangers of playing near water bodies.
Gregory Musyoka, a retired teacher and resident, highlighted the vulnerability of approximately six primary schools during the rainy season and calls upon the county government to construct sand dams for soil conservation and provide more tree seedlings for comprehensive environmental preservation.
MUJO’s efforts garnered support from various organizations, including the Sand Conservation and Utilization Authorization, Makueni County Government, Red Cross, Kenya Forest Service, and NDMA.
To conclude their community engagement, the journalists engaged in a friendly football match with local clubs, showcasing their commitment to promoting not only awareness but also unity and collaboration within the community.
By Lydia Ngoolo
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