Building community resilience against the devastating effects of climate change
For centuries farmers in Kenya have known the our seasons. They knew when the dry seasons were, they understood when the wet seasons were. They could predict with relative certainty how much rain would fall and when it would fall. It wasn't always easy, but it was mostly predictable.
The Climate Crisis has changed everything. Take the area of Asembo where we work in Siaya County, Kenya
Siaya County has lost the majority of it's tree cover in the last 50 years. This has led to less rainfall, soil erosion and water runoff. Without the water, farmlands struggle to maintain successful crops. Lakes and water sources have dried up which have never dried up in people's lifetimes before.
Why we do it
With no access to clean water families either use dirty water or walk further to get water.
No access to water means more time collecting water with less time in class.
With failing crops, starving farmers are forced to cut trees to make charcoal for money for food making the problem worse.
What we do
Our ‘Adopt a Tree’ Initiative (Miti Mashinani) is a community outreach program to mitigate on the devastating effects of climate change. The initiative seeks to improve livelihoods and build household and community resilience against climate change and to protect the environment for the benefit of present and future generations.
Providing Students with:
Education on building and maintaining sustainable ecosystems
Tree saplings which they plant and adopt to ensure they survive and flourish
Opportunities to adopt trees in their communities to ensure survival of established trees
Adopt a Tree Initiative Overview
The ‘Adopt a Tree’ initiative is being implemented through Junior Primary Schools. The project is targeting approximately 300,000 pupils who will be drawn from 652 primary schools within Siaya County. Siaya County has diverse tree cover of both exotic and indigenous species.
The County has only two gazetted forests in Got Ramogi and Got Abiero among other potential forest sites which are yet to be formally recognized by the government.
The rapid population growth and urban sprawl in Bondo and Siaya towns has been a cause of deforestation in the county arising from over exploitation of forests for agriculture, animal grazing, harvest for fuel wood and logging.
Through the Initiative, each pupil will be supported to identify, plant and/or adopt at least twelve seedlings per year for three years amounting to thirty six seedlings each. The trees will be planted/adopted within their small scale holder subsistence farms owned by family units or within existing homesteads, Schools, Church compounds, playgrounds, parks and any other suitable sites to promote environmental conservation.
Through our partnerships with schools we are able to educate students on environmental conservation. They learn WHY it is important to have a ecologically diverse environment. They understand WHAT they can do to to achieve it. They are taught WHEN, WHERE & HOW to plant trees in their community to ensure their chances of survival and prosperity are maximised.
We have seen our students share this information with their families and friends so the impact cascades through communities.
This education is also an inspiration for students looking for careers in environmental conservation and sustainability.
The Adopt A Tree Initiative has been designed to foster ecological and economic benefits to the local communities. This is vital to achieving long term success.
We plant and adopt a mix of indigenous multiple use trees. These provide fodder, fuelwood and fruit which helps to improve FOOD SECURITY.
We partner with schools in the area to impact a greater area of land. When every child adopts trees in their community we increase canopy cover. This improves rainfall and water retention, improving WATER SECURITY for the community.
Our trees provide vital ecological benefits for wildlife, providing safe spaces and habits for ENDANGERED SPECIES
To help CAPTURE Carbon emissions by supporting tree planting. As trees grow they soak up carbon dioxide. It is estimated that six native trees will absorb about 1 tonne of CO2 per year.
There are 300,000 students in Siaya County. If each student plants and nurtures 36 trees, this will translate to 300,000×36 = 10,800,000 trees consuming approximately 1,800,000 tonnes of CO2 per year
Our Adopt A Tree Initiative has been a great success in the Schools where it has been implemented. Here are some of the success stories so far.
Rarieda Mixed Primary School, Siaya County, Kenya
Our project is being rolled out to the students of Rarieda Primary School. The area of Rarieda has suffered due to drought which has caused crop failure and lack of safe drinking water. There is food scarcity which has caused some communities to cut trees to burn for charcoal which they can sell for cash.
Community Leadership is crucial for any programme success. Our programme at Rarieda Mixed Primary School is being led by the Headmaster of the School under AndGate Foundation guidance. This demonstrates to the students, the teachers and all the community the importance of the programme.
The school has a catchment area of 8,000 square meters where the students live. Through providing each child with education, saplings and ability to adopt community trees, this programme has the delivered great results in conserving existing canopy cover and creating new canopy cover in the area. It is also a model which can be rolled out across the whole of Siaya County immediately.