Since its inception in 2007 as part of the Treeflights air travel carbon offset scheme, this project has grown into a unique community forestry initiative that aims to help the people of Bore in Kenyas Coastal Province find sustainable ways to conserve their existing tropical forest. 300 participating members are organised into a co-operative that work together to plant the trees and implement other associated development projects. A 15 member management committee, led by Project Manager – Alex Katana, coordinates all aspects of local project development and ensures that all sectors of the community are fully engaged and that decision making is democratic.
Our learning from 5 years experience in this rural subsistence community is that tree planting is more likely to be successful if it is conducted as part of an overall community based sustainable development strategy so in recent years the scope of the scheme has widened beyond trees to include education, womens rights and the development of alternative livelihoods.
The project has an annual target plant of 50,000 trees of 6 species.
All of which reduce deforestation and benefit the entire, 5000 strong community in a variety of other ways.
SOCIAL ENGAGEMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
- Avoid defoestation
- Create alternative and medicine sources
- Offset CO2 levels
Kenya’s Coastal Province is a region that is developing relatively rapidly.
Mombasa, Kenya’s second most important city, is the main port for a number of east African countries and the entire coast is undergoing a significant boom in tourism. Whilst welcome in many respects, this economic development is leading to very rapid deforestation.
The default income source for poor forest communities in this area is charcoal burning which inevitably leads to loss of forest.
The shanty towns of Mombasa provide a continuing and growing demand for charcoal to fuel domestic cooking needs so impoverished farmers have little choice than to cut down their forest to make this fuel.
Local Communities Involvement
Local Communities Involvement
Since the central element of this project is the fact that the local community plant all the trees on their own land, the precise choice of where and how the trees are planted is the responsibility of the farmer concerned. This means that we are not creating large mono-cultural plantations but rather small scale orchards whose location is entirely at the discretion of the individual farmer.
The farmers are organised into a co-operative called the ‚Bore Green Umbrella‘ which is made up of work groups of ~25 farmers, each of which delegate a leader to the co-operative committee. The lead organiser of the project, Alex Katana liaises between us and the co-operative and between the co-operative and the wider community of Bore. This delegated, democratic organisational structure means that even the poorest most inarticulate member of the scheme can have a say in how it is run.
The initial choice to plant cashew trees was made by us but only in consultation with the community. In 2006 cashew trees, though commonplace at the coast, were unknown in this isolated community so there was a period of learning for the farmers regarding their planting and successful cultivation. Now the project is massively oversubscribed and in our latest distribution of trees we were unable to meet the full demand from farmers wishing to participate. The subsequent diversification into other species (and their choice) is entirely in the hands of the community.
Country’s General Context
Kenya is one of the fastest developing countries of Africa and is a regional hub within east Africa. These two factors have led to a rapidly rising population which in turn has led to wide scale deforestation. The biodiverse Coastal Forest that at one time would have stretched all the way down Africa’s eastern seaboard has now been
severely reduced in area.
The national government in Kenya is well aware of the value of their forest resources, as are many of the forest communities. Unfortunately the poor subsistence farmers who populate most of
the country have little alternative other than
exploitation of these resources. Climate change is making
the situation even worse as increasingly the rains over
much of the north and east of the country are becoming intermittent.
Other Related Activities
– Purchase of existing tropical forest as protected forest reserves (8 Hectares and growing).
– Provision of computers and community internet connection at local primary school.
(5000 people in Bore now have their first access to the Net.)
– Implementation of community water supply and irrigation system.
– Provision of community donkey carts for small scale local haulage.
– Provision of community (solar) phone charging facility
– Provision of solar panels to local school to facilitate night lessons for the poor children who work during the day.
– Provision of solar lanterns to 50 families to help them work in the night on small businesses and studying.
How to visit
This project is located in the community of Bore which is in the Marafa District of Kenyas Coastal Province. It is a 2 hour drive inland from the coastal resort of Malindi which is 60 miles north of the regionally important port city of Mombasa.