It's been three months since we successfully completed the GlobalGiving Challenge and earned a permanent place on the GlobalGiving network. We've now raised over $9,100 from 87 donors--from friends, family and colleagues, as well as academics, development practitioners and corporate donors. All of us at the DNRC are humbled to receive such a strong outpouring of support. On behalf of the entire team and the 150 farmers we serve: thank you.
So what have we been doing apart from raising funds? Well, it's been a busy 90 days in the field for Nicholas and his team. The Makueni district of Kenya, where we operate, is a semi-arid equatorial zone that has two rainy seasons - the drizzly and unpredictable "long rains", which usually begin in March and run through May, and the "short rains", a steady downpour that begins in late-October and runs until December. These two seasons provide over 90% of all precipitation that farmers receive all year; if our tree saplings were to have a good chance of becoming fully-fledged trees, they needed to be planted immediately once the rains began.
The first rains fell on the evening of Friday October 14th. After five months of training farmers and carefully nurturing saplings through the dry summer, it was time to get some trees planted! The next day Nicholas, our Nursery Manager Lucas Munyao and our Outreach Coordinator Daniel Mwenda began distributing 10,000 saplings to 150 households. (See pictures above and below of the Tree Nursery and excited farmers coming to collect their saplings!)
Farmers had designed their plots and dug the necessary holes beforehand, so it was simply a matter of getting the right saplings to the right people. We had 17 tree species for farmers to select based on their existing crop mix, farmer needs, and the species' different agro-ecological benefits. Our farmers are divided into 5 different groups of approximately 30 households, based on geography: Maiuni, Kyooni, Kalimani, Kivani and Ivumbu. Tackling the groups one-by-one (each of these areas is about 30 minutes walk apart), our team worked through the groups and successfully had all saplings in the ground by October 25.
We will continue working with these farmers over the next few months to make sure they are cultivating their saplings properly and doing everything they can to help them prosper. We'll continue training sessions in agroforestry and natural resource management, while recruiting more farmers and building up our accounting, IT, and monitoring and evaluation systems. We'll be hiring an additional staff member in January, who will be responsible for inventory, accounting, and project management. We are still working towards our eventual fundraising target of $25,000. Our next and most immediate goal is to raise an additional $2,000 over the next three months so we can establish an office for our growing team. Please help us take DNRC to the next level by telling your friends, family and colleagues about our work - we have only five months until the next rainy season, and we aim to be serving twice as many farmers by then!
Again, thank you all for your continued interest and support. If you have questions, suggestions or thoughts, please don't hesitate to contact us anytime.
Chas, Daniel and Nicholas
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