The Friends of City Park (FoCP) began the year on a high note. A half-day workshop on the 18th of January introduced 11 new volunteer board members to the work FoCP had been doing since 1996. The new board filled with enthusiasm immediately set to go to City Park and carry out a Safety Walk & Strategy Meeting on the 2nd of February. After a brief walkabout the Park a few points of action were noted during the strategy meeting:
- Putting up a fence in the most vulnerable areas
- Lighting specific areas
- Training of youth in the Park area to become guides at the Park
- Vegetation control to reduce perceived or actual hiding spaces and to open up sightlines.
In February Kenyatta University did a courtesy visit to City Park coordinated by Dr. Najma Dharani, lecturer and a Friend of City Park. Students participated in the maintenance of the 2-year-old reclaimed triangular section at the entrance of City Park along Limuru Road. Elections were also held in February and the FoCP Chairperson, Secretary and, Treasurer were elected. The board then decided to organize itself into two sub-committees being:
- Land and Legal
- Safety and Security.
Work with the FoCP board carried on well, then the lockdown was announced. This inspired a collaborative effort in April; FoCP and House of Friends made facemask donations to City Park staff. Technology proved to be instrumental as we began conducting our board meetings through different platforms such as Zoom and Google Meets.
In June following a directive from the President of Kenya, the Ministry of Environment through the Kenya Forest Service took over the management of City Park. City Park became abuzz with activity. Friends of City Park was regularly consulted by different Government agencies who required information. We shared this information through:
- Offering our Guidebook to the different heads of department represented at the KFS ceremony,
- Our board members shared their expertise e.g., providing and explaining detailed maps of the park, tagging of rare and endemic species when the Kazi Mtaani crew begun clearing the overgrown areas.
- We participated in the different workshops and meetings that were held by the Task Force. The Concept Master Plan that had been produced by FoCP was used as a guide in developing a comprehensive plan for the restoration of City Park.
After the Lock-down measures had been lifted, the free Sunday Yoga sessions began again in October. Friends of City Park also began to hold differently themed visits to the Park until the end of the year.
2021 is at hand and just like the 60+hectare urban green space that is City Park it holds mysteries which we can’t wait to explore. The Friends of City Park would like to welcome you, reader, to support the work FoCP does. This starts with becoming a member.
By: Karimi Kimathi