Drylands Natural Resources Centre

Our mission is to combat soil degradation and poverty in Kenya's drylands by enabling farmers to invest in reforestation using drought-resistant indigenous tree species.
Jun 23, 2014

June 2014 - DNRC Hosts Permaculture Design Students

UWSP Students and Community Install Water Tanks
UWSP Students and Community Install Water Tanks

Dear Friends and Supporters,

I hope you're well and enjoying the summer! In this report I'd like to talk to you about our work with a partner NGO, the Permaculture Research Institute of Kenya (PRI-Kenya), and share some pictures from a 4-day course we held with them at our new office.

On June 5th-9th the DNRC hosted a group of Kenyan and American students (from the University of Wisconsin - Steven's Point) as part of a Permaculture Design course hosted by John Sheffy of the University of Wisconisn and PRI-Kenya.

PRI-Kenya is an organization dedicated to promoting permaculture research and practice across Kenya. It was co-founded by our Executive Director Nicholas Syano, who now chairs the board of the organization. The DNRC works closely with PRI-Kenya to gather and share useful learnings across NGO and community projects across Kenya. Please check out the links below to learn more about the organization.

John and his students joined the DNRC to learn about our seed propogation techniques, to see how we manage our nursery, install a water cistern, and to meet with some of our farmers. After a successful water cistern installation, they shared a celebratory lunch with hundreds of new friends, who treated them to some authentic Kamba dancing!

Outside of this, the DNRC has continued its work on the ground, and we are working hard on new efforts to increase our melia and moringa production, including a new partnership with Kuli Kuli Inc. ,which we will announce in July. 

We are still actively fundraising to equip our new office, install solid accounting and IT systems, and support our growing staff. If you have any money or time to spare, please consider donating or sharing our work with friends and family. 

Thank you again for your ongoing support and interest. It really is much appreciated.


Everyone Gathers For Lunch Outside Our New Office
Everyone Gathers For Lunch Outside Our New Office
Massive Attendance Shows How Our Program Has Grown
Massive Attendance Shows How Our Program Has Grown
Post-Lunch Entertainment, Kamba-Style!
Post-Lunch Entertainment, Kamba-Style!


Mar 25, 2014

Q1 2014 Donor Update - New DNRC Office Built!

DNRC Office Almost Finished
DNRC Office Almost Finished



A. Announcing the First DNRC Office!

From 2007 until this month, the DNRC and its staff operated out of Nicholas Syano’s house and remote locations. Now, we finally have our own land and office building. This is a huge step forward for the DNRC, and our staff and the local community could not be happier. Our staff can now work more productively, and we can more easily host members of the community, academic researchers, and other visitors. The office will enable us to expand our impact, improve our operations, and maintain better communications with the local community.

The office was constructed with the financial and legal support of our partner organization, CCR, and with the help of many community members. It will be ready for use at the end of March.

Although the basic facility is now complete, we still need to furnish the office, install solar panels to power computers and lights, and install a water cistern to harvest more water for our tree nursery. 

Cash of in-kind donations for these furnishings would be much appreciated - if you would like to donate a specific item, please write to Daniel Pike at danieljamespika@gmail.com.


B. Training and Outreach Activities: 400 Farmers Visited and Trained

During this quarter, the 400 farmers working with DNRC were visited and trained in their individual farms on care and management of their trees. This was done by our training and outreach person, Fedelis Nzisa Charles. Fedelis also trained them on the application of biopesticides. In Feb. 2014, Nicholas Syano together with the other DNRC staff held a joint training of all the members at Maiuni Primary school.


C. Tree Nursery Activities: On Target For 50,000 Seedlings This Year

During the quarter, the nursery team lead by Lucas Munyao was able to propagate 14,480 different tree species and potted 32,000 pots for transferring the saplings. This is on target to achieve 50,000 seedlings during the year. Other activities included watering the seedlings and preparing nursery materials like soil gathering and mixing with manure.


D. Focus for Q2 2014: Harvesting and Selling Tree Products

1. Finishing, furnishing and  moving in to the new office

2. Continued seed propagation in the tree nursery

3. Reaching and training the 400 farmers now working with DNRC

4. Design and preparation for our first tree harvest in late 2014. (By harvesting high-value tree products in an environmentally sustainable manner, we aim to generate significant revenue for the DNRC and over two hundred member farmers)

5. Grant applications and fundraising to support harvest design and new monitoring and evaluation teams

DNRC Staff Excited About Their New Office
DNRC Staff Excited About Their New Office
Joint Training for Farmers
Joint Training for Farmers
Nicholas Syano
Nicholas Syano's Tree Care and Management Training
Dec 24, 2013

2013 Year in Review and Plans for 2014

Mutwani Secondary School Students
Mutwani Secondary School Students' Food Forest

Dear Friends, Family, and Supporters,

2013 has been a year of healthy growth and improvement for the DNRC.

We thank you for your continued support, and ask you to help us to continue growing in 2014. As the year comes to an end, please consider making a recurring donation yourself, and share our project with friends, family, and employers who might also like to support our work.

Our results for 2013:

  • Increased the number of subsistence farmer-families we serve from 300 to 400.
  • Increased the capacity of our tree sapling nursery, which now produces 42,000 new saplings per rainy season, over a wider range of tree and plant species.
  • Installed 33 water cisterns - providing clean, potable water to 33 families - though our partnership with the Rotary Club.
  • Established food forests (a woodland ecosystem with edible trees, shrubs, perennials and annuals) at five local primary and secondary schools (see attached picture).
  • Hosted a five-day field course in permaculture, in partnership with Nyambani Village (http://www.nyumbani.org/).
  • Hosted visitors and interns from GlobalGiving, the University of Wisconsin, and Wageningen University in the Netherlands.
  • Expanded our staff, welcoming Fedelis as Outreach and Training Manager.

Our goals for 2014:

  • Complete construction of our new office by March 1st.
  • Expand nursery capacity to 50,000 saplings/season.
  • Continue to build our partnerships with Nyumbani, the Rotary Club, and thre University of Wisconsin.
  • Introduce effective income generation programs for our 400 farmers, many of whom now have maturing, 5-year old woodlots that they can begin to sustainably harvest for fuel, fruit, and medicine.

I attach a field report from Executive Director Nicholas Syano, which provides a more detailed look at our activities and accomplishments in the last three months. One of the highlights was our end of year party, in which hundreds of farmers and their families, as well as local teachers, government officials, and community members, ate, danced, and celebrated together, proud of the work they are doing together to restore their ecosystem and build their community.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions, ideas, or requests at any time now or in the future - 

Thank you again for your support and best wishes for the holidays and the year ahead,

Daniel Pike

Project Manager 
Drylands Natural Resources Center

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