Prof. Julius Tanui, acting director-general of Kenya Water Towers Agency was one of the awardees that received insignias during the 57th Jamhuri Day held in December 2020. The insignia was delivered to him on Tuesday 8th June by the Environment and Forestry Principal Secretary Dr Chris Kiptoo. While delivering the award to Prof Tanui, Dr Kiptoo congratulated him for his exceptional service in water towers conservation. Prof Tanui received the Presidential award in the category of Elder of the Order of the Burning Spear (E.B.S.) for his innovation of Heuristic Model in Natural Resource Management which was also the subject of his PhD research.
During the period in which Prof Tanui has been the acting director-general at the Agency, recovery and rehabilitation of 52,000 acres in Maasai Mau Forest was successfully done. So far, 2 million trees have been planted against a target of 10 million launched by CS Keriako Tobiko in 2019. Despite earlier criticism, the project has born fruits as residents living downstream appreciate the increased volume of water flowing in rivers especially the Mara River. Maasai Mau and the entire Mau Forest Complex breathe life into the Masai Mara and Seregeti National Reserves. The major wildebeest migration across Mara River dubbed the 8th Wonder of the World greatly depends on water from the Mau Complex Water Tower. The annual scenic event is classified by UNESCO World Heritage as one of the most impressive nature spectacles in the world.
The award was also attributed to the launch of national bamboo demonstration site that Kenya Water Towers Agency established last year at Kaptagat forest in Elgeyo-Marakwet County. This followed the cabinet’s approval of bamboo as a scheduled crop paving the way for commercial bamboo growing. The demonstration site will act as education centre for farmers across the country in best bamboo practices.
Others awarded at Agency are Bahati Keranga (Director, Corporate Services) and Esther Wangombe (Board Director representing PS for Water & Sanitation) who received Elder of the Order of the Burning Spear (EBS) and Esther Wangombe (OGW).
Orders, decorations, and medals of Kenya are awarded by the President of Kenya in recognition of outstanding or distinguished services rendered to the nation in various capacities and responsibilities. Awards are made by the president upon the advice of a National Honours and Awards Committee in the president’s office. Individuals are nominated for awards by district committees, government ministries, religious organizations, non-governmental organizations, or individuals. The Chief of the Order of the Golden Heart is the highest honour awarded by the government.