The annual Mara Day Celebrations held on 15th of September every year shall be held in Molo sub-county, Nakuru County in the Republic of Kenya. This year’s celebrations will be guided by the theme “Towards Sustainable Mara River Ecosystem” translated in Swahili as “Kuelekea Ikolojia Endelevu ya Mto Mara” and the theme acknowledges the ongoing process of different actors in promoting sustainable conservation practices of the Mara Ecosystem.
The 10th Sectoral Council of Ministers for Lake Victoria Basin meeting of 2012 in Kigali, Rwanda adopted and declared September 15th as a significant date set aside for the Mara Day Celebration.
The guiding objectives of the Mara day celebrations since the Kigali declarations were to create awareness among all key stakeholders of the importance of the Mara River basin and its resources; recognize and involve the contributions of different private and public sectors in the management of Mara river basin and its resources, and to promote public and private partnerships of Mara’s water and biodiversity resources.
The 11th Mara day celebrations aims at creating the shift from awareness to ownership by the private sector and civil society actors and creating a need for a forum of state and non-state actors to drive forward the Mara ecosystem management.
The 11th Mara day celebrations are anticipated to be full of pomp and color as it comes after the Covid-19 restrictions that limited physical gatherings and saw last year’s celebrations held virtually.
The key activities expected to take place in the build-up and during the celebrations include planting of 3500 seedlings, amateur sporting activities such as athletic runs and football matches, essay writing competitions, and awarding of, and recognizing conservation champions.
The Mara Day Celebrations are held on a rotational basis between the Republic of Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania and this marks the 6th time Kenya is hosting the regional celebrations.
It is also a landmark celebration for Nakuru County hosting the event for the first time after being awarded a city charter and the fact that Molo is upstream of the Mara River basin, makes it legible to hold the regional celebrations. A series of meetings have been held in line with preparation of 11th Mara Day Celebrations.
On 30th August 2022, a team comprised of LVBC, Kenya National Government, Nakuru County Government conduct site suitability assessment mission to determine among other things, Nakuru’s readiness in terms of logistics, and availability of service providers, among others, for the 11th Mara Day Celebrations. “Overall, Nakuru is ready and suitable for the 11th Mara Day Celebrations,” LVBC Site Suitability Report of 31st August 2022 noted.
The key message in the theme is 11th Mara Day Celebrations to acknowledge ongoing process of different actors in promoting integrated and sustainable conservation practices of Mara Ecosystem. This year’s celebrations will be consistent with the EAC Treaty (1999) as thereafter revised, the Protocol for the Sustainable Development of the Lake Victoria Basin (2004), the 6th EAC Development Strategy and the LVBC Strategic Plan (2022-2026). The 11th Mara Day Celebrations will seek to operationalize article 7(a) of the EAC Treaty focusing on promoting a people-centered EAC regional integration and, article 71(f) on the ´dissemination of information on the Community to the stakeholders, the general public and the international community,’ (EAC Treaty, 2010).