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World Student Community for Sustainable Development (WSCSD)

The Adopt-an-Ecosystem initiative is aimed at mobilizing and engaging students in conserving and restoring water and forest ecosystems within and around their universities. Through the initiative, WSCSD affiliate student associations – adopt a forest and/or a river ecosystem and commit to undertake their monitoring and conservation.

The initiative hasbeen developed and piloted by the organization’s chapter in Kenya, the WSCSD-Kenya. For more information about the initiatives, visit WSCSD-Kenya’s website at http://wscsd-kenya.wscsd.org

Adopt an Ecosystem entails two distinct initiatives:

1. “Adopt a Forest” Initiative

 Adopt a Forest initiative was launched during the 2013 UN International Day for Biological Diversity to engage university students in a structured and systemic conservation of forest resources. It entails campus afforestation and adoption of a nearby forest by each student association in member universities for long term conservation. The initiative supports the establishment of tree nurseries in each university to supply the seedlings needed for campus forestation activities as well as replanting the adopted forests and in neighboring communities.


  1. To contribute towards restoration of national forest cover to the recommended 10%
  2. To exploit underutilized on-campus land resources
  3. To engage underutilized on-campus human (student) resources
  4. To promote green entrepreneurship amongst students and student associations


  1. Campus Tree Nurseries: Establishing a student-owned tree nursery in every university. Each university buys seedlings from the student -run tree nursery for greening the campus. Proceeds used for the day-to-day operations of the student association.
  2. ‘Fresher’ Campus Afforestation: Each first year student plants a tree at a designated spot within campus during the orientation week and commit to nurture it till graduation.
  3. Student-led Forest Ecosystem Management and Conservation: Each student association adopts a preferred forest ecosystem, undertakes its long-term conservation and restoration with the support of external stakeholders while creating awareness and involving the communities living adjacent.
  4. Carbon Offsetting: Each university commits to offset carbon emissions accrued from travel by its top management through planting a number of trees equivalent to their yearly emissions

For more information, download the following documents:

2. “Adopt a River” Initiative

 This is a ‘people-driven’ wetlands monitoring and restoration project that entails adoption of a nearby river by university/college/high school student groups, community youth groups and other interested institutions. These groups are expected to monitor the pollution levels of adopted rivers over time, identify sources of pollution and take local action to restore and conserve them. The  project  is  also expected  to  result  in enhanced  enforcement  of  environmental  regulations by the responsible government agencies  to  ensure  healthy  wetlands.


  1. Enhance knowledge on and spur interest in community led ecosystem conservation among youths.
  2. Promote the use of citizen science in monitoring the status of wetlands
  3. Make learning of biology, especially the dichotomous key more interesting and hands-on for secondary school students
  4. Steer restoration of polluted rivers through youth owned social enterprises


The health of the rivers and general quality of their water will be measured using the Mini Stream Assessment Scoring System (miniSASS) Version 2.0. This is a simple, user-friendly community river health bio-monitoring tool. It uses the composition of macro-invertebrates (small animals) in the river and is based on the sensitivity of the various animals to water quality.


  1. Stakeholder Mobilization
  2. Identification of Universities/Colleges, Secondary Schools and Community Youth Groups
  3. Identification and Mapping of Sampling Points
  4. Development of Training Manuals
  5. Procurement and Distribution of Sampling Equipment
  6. Training of Participants
  7. River Monitoring and Uploading of Data on MiniSASS
  8. Ecological Restoration

The Initiative is currently being piloted within the Nairobi River Basin before scaling up to other river ecosystems in Kenya and beyond.

For more information, download the following project documents: