Over the last 3 years, RODI has been actively involved in mass tree and growing in 5 counties: Kiambu, Nyandarua, Machakos, Nyeri and Laikipia in Kenya with support by ECOSIA, a search engine that plants trees, through GLS Future Foundation for Development. The initiative aims at contributing to global reforestation efforts, restoring lost forests, repairing damaged ecosystems and mitigating & adapting to climate change among communities
Trees form a high percentage of the earth’s natural cover that provides habitat for multiple species of birds, insects and other animals; they prevent soil erosion as well as acting as a carbon sink. Over the past years, human activities in clearing trees for agriculture, farming, mining, industrialization and creating cities, has reduced forest cover by 80%. Restoring the forest cover is one of the most cost-effective and logical ways we can counteract climate change.
Planting trees is one of the best things a community can benefit from in terms of attaining and sustaining a conducive environment to live in. Trees provide food and homes for wild animals, shade for the forest floor (and for people!), and oxygen for the atmosphere not to mention the fact that trees get rid of carbon dioxide (a major greenhouse gas) in the process of releasing oxygen.
The project framework is based on 3 pillars/objectives
- Mass tree planting in public spaces and communal land – The objective targets planting diversified tree species (indigenous and exotic) in public spaces and communal land such as in schools, degraded forests, national parks and hills etc.
- On-farm agro-forestry and mass tree planting of diversified species– This aims at improving the livelihoods of farmers through on-farm tree planting, adoption and integration of agro-ecological practices in the farming and tree planting systems such as production and use of bio-fertilizers, soil and water conservation, natural resource management in the agro-forestry systems. This will contribute to improvement of soil structure and fertility, increasing crop diversity, productivity and creating income generating opportunities through tree based value chain development.
- Engaging the next generation in environmental stewardship– this involves engaging school pupils and students in environmental tree planting and management. The project will be based on the theme “Trees and children – Growing up Together” Each child is to plant and nurture his or her trees at school and at home.
The initiative targets to plant and grow 400,000 trees of different indigenous species on-farm, in public spaces and communal land the the period May 2023 to May 2024. The set target is assured since we have already established systems and structures for tree nursery management across the 5 counties.
The initiative is being driven by the spirit of growing trees, with a monitoring period of 3 years to ensure survival rate of over 90%
Since 2021, the initiative has supported growing of 320,000 tress in Machakos, Kiambu, Nyeri, Laikipia and Nyandarua, with over 90% survival rate of trees achieved.
The following are the expected outcomes over the next years:
- Increased knowledge and skills in tree nursery and seedlings management -The participation of community members and school community in the entire process will help them to gain knowledge and skills in nursery management and indigenous knowledge in natural resource management, raise own on-farm seedlings and utilise the trees for enhanced food production, income generation and environmental conservation.
- Increased tree cover in communal and farmers’ land through mass tree planting and management- The initiative will also go a long way in contributing towards achievement of the national 10% tree cover.
- A sustained culture of tree planting among the young generation- By targeting schools, the Initiative will inspire children/pupils the foundation of current and future generations to improve their environment as well as livelihoods. Project activities will nurture and promote interest in management of natural resources and tree planting among children and their parents. The project will saw a seed and a culture of tree planting trees as an important aspect of environmental conservation. Teachers will also incorporate some of the skills and knowledge in teaching and training, management of school gardens which is well integrated to the competence based curriculum model of education. Using a Whole School Approach that RODI promotes, the initiative will target the school community made up of pupils, teachers, parents and the school ground. This way it will be easy to foster a culture of environmental stewardship among the school community. As a result, school community will become aware of the role they can play in protecting the environment through personal involvement.
- Increased revenue and income sources through tree based value chains- The initiative will focus to identify and support development of tree-based value chains that motivate farmers to grow more trees on their farms with emphasis on tree species that have multiple benefits and good for nature conservation. Such value chains will include processing and value addition of Moringa and fruit tree products, bee products, medicinal herbs and livestock feeds etc.
- Increased food production- To enhance ownership and sustainability in tree planting and maintenance, emphasis will be put on community empowerment in terms of food production, income generation, energy for cooking, fodder for livestock etc. Tree planting and management is one of the best ways of environmental conservation, fighting poverty, food insecurity and malnutrition. Any successful human development is dependent on the environment and failure to acknowledge this relation ultimately reduces the benefits communities receive from the environment, threatening their livelihoods.