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Meru and Nanyuki Community Reforestation, Kenya

Empowering 61,000 farmers across 2,000 villages to build sustainable livelihoods through community reforestation activity

Project overview

  • Region: Africa

  • Project type: Agricultural, Forestry and landscapes

  • Standards: CCB, VCS

This community reforestation project based in the foothills of Mount Kenya combines hundreds of individual tree planting activities and enables local communities to improve access to food and create additional sources of income beyond subsistence farming. It enables members, who are smallholder farmers, to voluntarily plant trees on their land only to the extent that they can afford to, as they still use the majority for subsistence agriculture. In addition to generating revenue from the sale of carbon credits, the project provides training and facilities to improve crop production, grow trees as sources of food and medicine, and use wood more efficiently as fuel.

Sustainable Development Goals

In addition to delivering approximately 42,000 tonnes of emissions reductions annually to help take urgent action to combat climate change (SDG 13), the project delivers multiple other sustainable development benefits. These include:

  • No Poverty: Agricultural training improves household crop yields and creates marketable commodities such as fruits, nuts, and honey.
  • Zero Hunger: Nearly 50% of farmers have increased their food supply thanks to training on conservation farming. Yields increased between two and 10-fold with these agricultural improvements. In addition, 10% have planted fruit and nut trees after education about growing fruit trees and the importance of species that can provide other non-timber forest products – such as neem and moringa – which provide natural medicines and insecticides.
  • Gender Equality: 42% of the members of small farming groups are women. Women are given access to leadership training and groups are encouraged to use a rotating leadership structure. This allows women to take on levels of managerial responsibility they may not have previously had.

Read More information to find out how the project delivers other sustainable development benefits.

  • Good Health and Wellbeing for People: Small group meetings offer education around the importance of water purification and socio-economic problems such as HIV/ AIDS, bringing awareness in health and hygiene issues to over 60,000 people in the area. The project also provides assistance with the building and use of fuel-efficient stoves, more than 20,000 of which have helped minimise indoor air pollution and the associated health implications for families exposed.
  • Quality Education: By implemented a two-way communications network the project has substantially increased the number of adults who have relevant skills for decent jobs. Communications include newsletters, weekly meetings in small groups, monthly meetings for small groups to receive training, periodic seminars at national levels, and a monitoring system based on hand-held computers and GPS.
  • Clean Water and Sanitation: Tree planting, particularly in the land near waterways, contributes to the improvement of the water catchment areas by improving the supply, consistency and quality of the water available. Additionally, educational training around the importance of water filtering is helping to raise water hygiene and safety awareness.
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth: The data collection of carbon sequestered is conducted by trained local employees, called Quantifiers, who are often project members themselves. Approximately 60 Quantifiers, 10 auditors and eight leadership committee roles have been created, and further roles are becoming available as the project expands. Training provided to assist in alternative income generating activities such as beekeeping and wood product marketing is helping build the overall economy and diversify products that can be sold to outside markets.
  • Life on Land: Through the planting of trees, which provide shade that enables grasses to grow under the canopy, the project reduces soil erosion and surface water runoff as well as improving infiltration into the soil. It also improves the connectivity of wildlife habitat between natural forests. The area, which is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, contains dozens of rare and endangered species. This project reduces the pressure on these high conservation value areas. In addition, deadfall from trees planted will reduce the need for tree wood from outside of the project.  
  • Reduced Inequalities: The rotating leadership structure of the small groups empowers women and the undereducated.

Nearly 50% of farmers have increased their food supply through conservation farming, and over 10% have planted fruit and nut trees.

Currently there are over 63,000 group members and over eight million trees have been planted.

At the turn of the 20th century, Kenya had a forest cover of well over 10%. Today, this has been reduced to less than 2% due to deforestation.

Eunice’s Story

Eunice recently attended a seminar held for farmers to learn about the benefits of the community reforestation project, and the impacts of reforestation in their community. Since attending the seminar, Eunice has decided to form a small group with her neighbours to plant trees like avocado and gravaria. She’s already started to apply some of the conservation farming techniques she has learned, and is planting a new bed of maize.

"It's great to be involved in a project that goes beyond just buying tea, to work with the communities through some of the issues they're facing into the future."

Ian Brabbin, Taylors of Harrogate