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This is a draft of the constitution of KEEP, which will be updated with the final version shortly.

Kakamega Environmental Education Program (KEEP)

Draft constitution prepared by: Leonard Likhotio (Member)

Declaration

We, the members of the Kakamega Environmental Education Program (KEEP), aware of our ethnic, cultural and religious diversity and determined to contribute towards the conservation of Kakamega Forest and exercising our right to determine the form of governance of our organization, have agreed to pass this document as the constitution of KEEP to govern its operations for the smooth running of the organization.

1.     INTRODUCTION

Kakamega Environmental Education Programme (KEEP) is a community-based organization registered by the Ministry of Culture and Social Services in 1999. The group will offer environmental education to the local schools, out of school youths and the community at large. In doing this, the group will work closely with the Forest Department, Kenya Wildlife Service and other conservation-based non-governmental organizations (including community based organizations) working within and around Kakamega forest. The group will recruit membership virtually around the entire forest and will have offices at Isecheno and branch offices at any other branch that will be established in future.

Kakamega forest is the only remnant in Kenya of the Guineo-Congolian forest type - a dense rain forest that in the past millennium stretched across the entire expanse of Central Africa. The forest is biogeographically unique, not only in Kenya but also worldwide. It is a globally important site for biodiversity conservation and listed as an Important Bird Area (IBA). In addition to being an island of immense biodiversity, the forest also shows a high level of endemism.

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1.4             Name

The name of the organization shall be Kakamega Environmental Education Program, thereafter referred to as KEEP in short or abbreviation.

 

1.5             Definitions

Environmental Education, in this context, shall refer to the process of learning about the environment so as to work with it and not destroy it, that is, learning how to sustain the environment, (Muthoka, M., Rego, A., & Rimbui, Z.).

Environment is generally considered to include physical factors of the surrounding (land, water, atmosphere, climate, sound, odor, taste etc), biological (plants & animals), social factors of aesthetics (monuments, historical sites etc), and includes both the natural and man-made environment.

Environmental Management includes protection and conservation and the sustainable use of various elements or components of the environment.

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2.     Aim and objectives of KEEP

  2.4             Environmental Educational and Awareness

KEEP will offer environmental / Conservation education to local schools, will expand to involve out-of-school youths and the wider peri-forest community. The main objectives of the environmental education and awareness program are as follows:

To create a generation that is aware of its environment hence be actively involved in its protection and improvement.

To offer an opportunity to students to acquire the necessary knowledge for protection and improvement of their environment.

To sensitize young minds of the problems facing the environment hence offer an opportunity for participating in finding solutions to these problems.

To ease pressure on Kakamega forest by teaching and demonstrating energy - saving techniques (e.g.) fireless cookers, energy conserving stoves etc), nursery management practices and on-farm agro forestry.

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2.5             Income generating activities

KEEP will establish income-generating projects with a view of easing pressure on Kakamega forest caused by unsustainable use of the forest resources. The specific objectives shall be:

KEEP will act as a gateway to the community around Kakamega Forest through which many projects will be initiated.

Through collaboration with other local C.B.O’s to promote and replicate conservation programs to other organizations, with a view of creating awareness.

Improve the welfare of the members and the surrounding communities though their participation in income generating activities.

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3.     Membership

KEEP will draw its membership from the local community living around Kakamega forest, Kenyans in general (whether citizens or residents), and the entire world of people interested in seeing the prosperity and conservation of Kakamega Forest and general conservation of the environment.

One will become a member by submitting a written application to indicate interest, and upon payment of registration fee. There are three categories of membership as indicated below:

Full membership- Kenyan citizens shall pay KSh. 500 while residents shall pay KSh. 1000 (this category includes those who live in Kenya or will stay in Kenya at least for a period of one year. This can be proved by the production of a Kenyan National Identity Card, or a valid work permit or residents’ identity card.

Friends of KEEP- one shall become a friend of KEEP upon payment of KSh.1500 and filling a registration form. (This category includes those members who live outside the country.)

Corporate membership- an organized community group, institution or company shall become a corporate member upon payment of KSh.5000. (this category is reserved for organized groups.

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3.4             Cessation of membership:

One will cease to be a member on his/ her own wish by writing a resignation letter, failing to renew their membership once it expires or by gross misbehavior and failing to abide by the laid down rules and regulations. The organization reserves the right to either admit or reject one’s application to become a member. The executive committee shall, upon discussion in an identified meeting, cancel the membership of an individual or a number of people, if their continued membership is deemed negative towards the general well being of the organization.

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3.5             Rights of members

All members shall be entitled to the following rights:

  • A copy of the organization’s newsletter once it is produced.
  • Participation in KEEP’s activities hence contributes to its well being.
  • Use the resource center and the library for studies, research and general leisure/ entertainment activities.
  • Use the available resources to advance their knowledge in nature and natural ecosystems.
  • With consultation with the assigned officers, the member can borrow some of the items and assets of the organization, as will be approved by the concerned office.
  • Shall be invited (by writing or other notification) to attend all general meeting and assemblies as called by the office.
  • Shall have rights to vote on any issue being voted for during general or special meetings.

4.     Officials of the organization

The organization shall have the following offices, whose bona fide holders shall be elected either in general meetings or appointed in acting capacity to fill vacant positions:

Chairman or chairlady
Vice chairperson
Secretary                      * Vice secretary
Treasurer                      * Organizing secretary
  • Arranging and calling meetings
  • Facilitating group’s development
  • Leading and instilling discipline among the members
  • Taking disciplinary actions on misbehaving members
  • In charge of the overall running of the organization
  • Encouraging members
  • Sorting and solving problems arising in the organization
  • Organizing the activities of the organization
  • Signing cheques with other officials who are signatories to the account; and minutes of the meetings
  • Representing the organization in meetings
  • Chairing all group meetings
  • He/ she shall stand in for the chairman in his/ her absence or on delegation
  • He/ she shall assist the chairman in the running of the organization
  • In charge of all the organization’s records and minutes of meetings
  • Reading minutes of previous meetings
  • Should handle all correspondence of the organization
  • Maintain records and inventories accurately
  • Maintaining all communication to and from the group
  • Ensure that information reaches all the members in good time especially where action is needed
  • Circulate minutes of meetings to all the officials in good time
  • Signing cheques with other signatories of the account
  • Representing the organization in meetings
  • Receive all the revenue coming to the organization
  • Handle all the purchases of the organization
  • Maintain financial records of the organization
  • Prepare a financial report at the end of every year
  • Reading the financial report to members at the general meetings
  • Assisting the auditors when auditing the accounts
  • In charge of the organization’s finances
  • Disburse funds in cases of payments or requests for imprests
  • Advising the executive committee on financial matters
  • Maintaining the organization’s inventory
  • Signing cheques and vouchers together with other signatories
  • Organizing education programs in schools
  • Liaising with teachers and/ or patrons to arrange for practical activities
  • Drawing termly programs for members visiting schools
  • Maintaining the Organization’s yearly calendar
  • Visiting the schools involved in the education program to check for progress

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6.     General and special assemblies

All general meetings shall be called and headed by the chairman of the organization. A general meeting shall be given at least fourteen (14) days notice and shall commence once the attendance is at least a third of all the members. During the meeting, only registered members shall vote on any issue and sheer majority through voting shall pass a point.

One Annual General Meeting shall be called every year. Other special general meetings shall be called only when an urgent issue that needs attention of a general meeting arises.

 

6.4             Powers and functions of the general assembly

The meeting shall discuss, vote and pass issues concerning the organization. The meeting shall read and review financial report. It will conduct elections for office bearers. It will also evaluate the progress of the group, arrange programs and decide on new projects.

The meeting also has powers to make or amend the constitution and other by-laws concerning any aspect the members feel require to be amended.

 

6.5             The executive committee

This shall comprise of all the office bearers and the heads of various departments and two or three members nominated by the office. The executive committee meeting shall be presided by the chairman of the organization or his/her vice on delegation. The committee shall meet four times in a year except only where there arises an urgent issue that requires immediate attention and delay could otherwise affect the organization negatively.

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6.5.1        Functions and powers of the executive committee

This shall serve as the regulatory organ of the organization discussing plans of action to be implemented by the various departments as well as the office. This is charged with the responsibility of assisting the office in the day-to-day operations of the organization. The executive committee shall also handle disciplinary matters concerning members of the organization. However, when an issue has not been discussed exhaustively in the committee meeting, it can be decided over by the office or postponed for another meeting.

 

6.6             Special and emergency meetings

These shall be called when there are urgent issues to be discussed and those that cannot wait. Sometimes these might just involve the officials or a few available members.

 

6.7             Finance Sub-committee

The sub-committee shall comprise of nine (9) members dealing in financial departments. These include general\ executive secretary and the executive treasurer. The executive committee shall elect the other seven members who are mainly involved in financial matter e.g. sales persons, welfare treasurer and they will elect their own chairperson.

At least one third of the members of finance committee shall have technical knowledge in financial matters.

The functions of the finance committee shall be:

  • To supervise and manage the financial affairs of the organization
  • To ensure responsible stewardship of resources and assets belonging to the organization.
  • To consider and take care of the organization’s finances.

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7.     Rules and regulations governing the organization

(a).       Members
(b).       Officials
(c).       Property of the organization

(d).       Departments of the organization

Education
Editorial
Entertainment
Visitors’care
Nursery & Reforestation
Welfare

Cooperative

The Executive Committee in collaboration with the heads of the respective departments will formulate the rules and regulations governing the organization and its various subsidiaries. Once this is done, they shall be attached to this constitution as rules and by-laws of the organization and will be legally binding. The provisions made below are mere guidelines subject to amendment(s) as need may arise.

(e).       Trips, outings and activities of the organization

The organization may organize educational outing or activities outside the normal classroom walls. Members may also on their own accord organize for similar occasions meeting their own expenses. Whereas KEEP is committed to the security of all its members and adequate care and precaution shall be taken into account, the organization shall not assume responsibility for any accidents, loss of life or property or injury that occur during these trips or outings.

Private trips made by members to any destination shall only include school children (minors) upon arrangements with the office or parents/ guardians of the said minors. Otherwise this shall be referred to as private trips and the organization should not be dragged into them.

(f).       Representation of the organization

Only the chairperson or his/ her delegated and authorized personnel shall speak on behalf of the organization. Any other unauthorized personnel speaking or signing documents on behalf of the organization is deemed to so at illegally hence liable for disciplinary measures to be spelt out by the Executive committee depending on the magnitude of the offence.

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8.     AMMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION

Subject to the provisions of this constitution, the executive committee and the general meeting may in exercise of its constituent power amend by way of addition, variation or repeal any provision of this constitution in accordance with the procedure laid down in this article.

A member or official in writing prior to the annual general meeting may initiate an amendment of this constitution. The amendment shall be made upon receiving two-thirds majority vote in the AGM.

This working document shall come into force once it has been signed and accepted by at least a third of the registered members if and when there are no complains or reservations by any member. However, incase of any such dispute(s), the document shall come in force upon being passed by at least two-thirds majority of the registered members.

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