The Irish community in Kenya celebrate St Patrick’s Day by #GreeningSimba

#GreeningSimba launch
#GreeningSimba is launched at the KWS HQ in Nairobi. Photo: Twitter/IrlEmbKenya

To celebrate St Patrick’s Day, the Embassy of Ireland in Kenya has partnered with KCB Bank for a ‘Greening’ initiative which was officially launched at the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) headquarters in Lang’ata last night.

Entitled #GreeningSimba, it highlights Ireland’s presence in Kenya, lion conservation and the hazards of ocean waste.

#GreeningSimba launch
Doctor Vincent O’Neill, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran and Dr Margaret Mwakima at the #GreeningSimba launch. Photo: Twitter/IrlEmbKenya

The centrepiece of the initiative is Taji the Lion, a sculpture made from 1,204 flip-flops that had washed up on the coasts and rivers of Kenya.

#GreeningSimba launch
Taji the lion on display at the Nairobi Safari Walk. Photo: Twitter/KCBGroup

Opening remarks by Irish Ambassador Doctor Vincent O’Neill explained how the #GlobalGreening campaign is designed to bring attention to the Irish relationship with diaspora communities across the globe. He went on to tell guests that in Kenya there are 1,500 Irish expats including missionaries, NGOs and those working in the private sector.

#GreeningSimba launch
Irish Ambassador Dr. Vincent O’Neill makes his opening remarks at the #GreeningSimba launch. Photo: Twitter/IrlEmbKenya

Irish Minister of State, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, who has been in Kenya during the week gave some background to the St Patrick’s Day initiative and reflected on an “amazing” week for him in Kenya.

#GreeningSimba launch
Irish Minister Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran welcomed guests to the #GreeningSimba launch. Photos: Twitter/IrlEmbKenya

Senior KWS warden, Nelly Palmeris, updated guests about the current situation faced by Kenya’s lion population which is numbered at just 1,970 which illustrated the importance of initiatives like #GreeningSimba to raise the profile of the fight to protect these iconic and majestic beast of the savanna.

#GreeningSimba launch
Senior KWS warden, Nelly Palmeris, discusses the battle to saye the dwindling Kenyan lion population. Photo: Twitter/kwskenya

Representing Tourism Minister Najib Balala was Doctor Margaret Mwakima the Principal Secretary from the State Department of Wildlife.

#GreeningSimba launch
Principal Secretary from the State Department of Wildlife, Doctor Margaret Mwakima, speaking at the #GreeningSimba launch. Photo: Twitter/kwskenya

Also speaking at the launch, KCB Chief Operating Officer Sam Makome said: “We have a robust Sustainability Policy that guides the bank’s interactions on internal and external environmental and social matters aligned to climate change, resource consumption and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

#GreeningSimba launch
KCB’s Sam Makome gives his remarks at the #GreeningSimba launch. Photo: Twitter/KCBGroup

“Sustainability is a top global agenda and demands that organizations put in place measures to address critical issues that would ensure the business and the Earth co-exist,” he continued, adding: “At KCB Group we value the environment. It forms part of our business and sustainability strategy for the bank.

“As we commission ‘Taji’ today, in partnership with the Embassy of Ireland and Ocean Sole, we believe that this is the start of something magical between us and our networks,” he concluded.

Taji the lion was donated to the Kenya National Park at last night’s event where it will be displayed along the Safari Walk.