Mar 10, 2020

New Permaculture Design and Wildlife Welcome Rain

Helping to Plant
Helping to Plant

In our December 2018 update, we let you know about how a volunteer group from Greece constructed a tree planting and water conservation project at a local school here in Samburu County.  In January of this year, as hoped, these volunteers returned!  Together we completely transformed a barren 2-acre plot at a local church into a beautifully implemented Permaculture design.  In addition to planting approximately 300 trees, nitrogen-fixing and soil-building plants, and a shaded garden, we have created a water conservation system including swales, catchment ponds, and underground water storage.  This design is being very well cared for by keen and committed people and we have already seen an explosion of growth within these grounds.  With time, this system will become self-sustaining.  We are so thrilled about this project and are eager to continue implementing similar designs around the community.

This newly designed area has been put to the test with a much out of season rain.  Though this very wet weather is delightful for the vegetation, it has also brought massive swarms of locusts; the worst locust plague Kenya has seen in over 70 years.  We have recently witnessed the first swarm to come to our area.  It passed by a couple kilometres from Sadhana Forest land, lasting hours and moving like a giant cloud of dusty, brown smoke.  The locusts surely damaged crops but had little effect on the food-bearing trees we have planted over the last 6 years.

Happily, we would like to add that with all the extra water and vegetative growth, we are seeing more and more very welcome wildlife.  On the campus of Sadhana Forest Kenya, over 70 species of birds have now been identified along with a number of families of the tiny antelope species dik-dik.  The endangered Grévy's zebra is now frequently being sighted in the area near the land in addition to the ever-present common zebra, hyenas, jackals, antelopes, and even two lions have been seen nearby (on the other side of our very secure fence!).

Keep a lookout for Sadhana Forest Kenya featured in an upcoming GlobalGiving article. A very heartfelt Thank You to our dedicated volunteers, our generous donors, and the ever-supportive GlobalGiving community.  If you are interested in providing us feedback concerning our project, finding out more about our activities or area of operation, or would like to volunteer with us, please contact us here or email us directly at Kenya@sadhanaforest.org.  We also strongly encourage you to provide feedback at the end of this report.

Ashe Oleng! ("Thank you very much" in Kisamburu)

Freshly planted tree and water catchment
Freshly planted tree and water catchment
Dec 17, 2019

Rain, fences, and children help trees thrive!

Children Planting
Children Planting

We are so happy to report plenty of recent rainfall! We’ve been taking advantage of these wet times that provide better growing conditions, by focusing on getting lots of trees planted. After an exceptionally dry year, it’s almost shocking to now see so much green. The feelings of unease and despair during the drought has turned into an even stronger confidence in our choice of tree species to plant, as they are proving to truly be hardy and drought resistant; Moringa stenopetala in particular. We’ve found that they really thrive when planted close together, so in individuals’ home gardens we have been creating mini plantations of Moringas. Everyone has continued to use their leaves in cooking and some schools are now forming environmental clubs to plant and care for trees on their own. It’s heartwarming and so encouraging how eager the children are to engage and learn about the trees and how to care for them. When they see us in the area they come running from their homes to get involved!

Another recent focus of ours has been in tree protection. For those who lack the resources to build a secure enough barrier to keep out the animals, we help by training on how to construct a better fence; providing supplies and labor whenever we can. We’re really seeing particularly inspiring development at the homes that have plenty of trees planted in safe enclosures. The families are encouraged by their trees’ growth and they are now seeing that tree-planting is so much more than just getting the tree in the ground. They are looking forward to the months and years to come, committing to their trees’ care and protection for a future of food-security in their own backyard.

Thank you to everyone who donated on #GivingTuesday! Although that matching campaign is over now, there is still an opportunity during this giving season to reinforce your donation dollars. If you begin monthly giving before December 31st, 2019, your first donation will be matched at 100%! Monthly recurring donations provide us a sense of stability and confidence going forward.

Thank you to our volunteers and the GlobalGiving community. If you are interested in providing us further feedback concerning our project, finding out more about our activities or area of operation, or would like to volunteer with us, please contact us here or email us directly at kenya@sadhanaforest.org. We also strongly encourage you to provide feedback at the end of this report.

Ashe Oleng! (Thank you very much in Kisamburu)

Sep 19, 2019

Experiencing Climate Change in Samburu

Moringa Seedling
Moringa Seedling

Traditionally, Samburu people have relied on predictable weather patterns to decide the course of their livelihoods; mainly herding and to a lesser extent farming. This is ever more challenging as we have experienced significant shifts in weather patterns; extended drought during the anticipated rainy season and sporadic rainfall during expected dry times. This has prompted discussions in the community about climate change and what can be done to mitigate the adverse effects and preserve the Samburu lifestyle in an environmentally friendly way.

At Sadhana Forest Kenya’s Community Agro-Forestry Learning Centre, we are being approached everyday for trees and education. This is absolutely wonderful! We are seeing the community taking initiative to gather knowledge to independently plant trees at their homes and schoolyards. They are empowering themselves and encouraging each other and they know that we are here at Sadhana Forest to support them with advice, seedlings, and a helpful hand. In turn, we feel even stronger about the work we do. Being a very small field team, we are thrilled to have so many advocates and ambassadors in the community.

Rain has come on and off for the past few months and recipients’ trees are doing really well. Recently, there have been enormous harvests of Moringa stenopetala leaves. Most families who have these trees are harvesting so much that they are cooking with the leaves several times a week. This will surely improve their well-being given the nutritional value of Moringa and that currently 42% of children in Samburu are considered stunted (their growth and development are impaired) due to malnutrition. We’re looking forward to planting even more trees around schools as to also improve the nutrition and variety of school lunches.

Sincere thanks and gratitude to our volunteers and the Global Giving community. If you are interested in providing us further feedback concerning our project, finding out more about our activities or area of operation, or would like to volunteer with us, please contact us here or email us directly at kenya@sadhanaforest.org. We also strongly encourage you to provide feedback at the end of this report.

Ashe Oleng! (Thank you very much in Kisamburu)

Samburu Woman
Samburu Woman
 
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