Jun 24, 2019

Growing Healthy Trees in a Drought-Prone Climate

Students, Teachers, and Volunteers with New Tree!
Students, Teachers, and Volunteers with New Tree!

Thank you to all who helped us gain a spot in the Climate Action Fund!  This means that for one year we will have steady financial support from this campaign.  That makes a huge difference for us here at Sadhana Forest Kenya as we haven’t always known when the next donation might come in.  Find out more at: Climate Action Fund

These last few months have largely been focused on tree care.  It has been extremely dry here so we have been delivering water to families who have planted trees around their homes.  We found that, due to the drought conditions, some tree plots needed a complete overhaul.  March to May is typically a wet time, but the rains have only just begun this month so we’re eager to see how the trees come along.  We are very inspired by how many trees have survived such harsh conditions.  This is proof of the importance in planting native tree species that have adapted to and survive through drought.  Other species may grow more enticing fruit, but they just don’t survive long enough to ever produce in our harsh local climate.  The Moringa stenopetala trees are hugely successful!  We've perfected our methods of propagation and germination in the nursery, and once planted out in the community, the seedlings are growing very quickly.  Many people are harvesting the leaves of the Moringa, and the trees that are a few years old are already producing seed pods, so we are teaching people how to harvest and cook them.  This is very exciting!

At the end of last year, we reported on a tree planting and water harvesting project that we implemented at a local primary school.  Now, six very dry months later, it is doing very well!  We’re now looking for more opportunities at schools and in the community to do similar projects: very securely fenced areas of large-scale planting with water conservation structures.  There set-up of such projects is more labor and resource intensive, but it is an excellent model for the long-run.  Trees thrive and the landscape vastly improves.  Also, we love the opportunity to team up with schools and get the kids involved!  We will begin subsequent projects in the next few months.

A heartfelt thank you 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)

Strong Healthy Young Moringa Tree
Strong Healthy Young Moringa Tree
Mar 28, 2019

Moving Forward and Inspiring Youth

Laundry Day
Laundry Day

In the first two months of this year, we have revisited each tree planted in 2018. Doing so enables us to collect data, offer supplementary training to our recipients, and tweak the method of planting. This monitoring and evaluation aids us in truly seeing what we’re doing right and where we need to improve. During times of drought, these activities are where it’s best to focus our efforts. Also, without rain, it is crucial to deliver water to freshly planted trees. Despite a continuous struggle with our unreliable vehicle to transport the water and ourselves to the sites of the trees, we are happy to report an 83% survival rate for 2018 trees monitored after three months!

We have observed more frequent droughts with less recovery time in between. Because of the lack of rain, recently many nearby crops have failed, wells dried up, and we have found that people are traveling from ever farther distances to access the water we supply free of charge here at Sadhana Forest Kenya. On Sundays, women and children carry their laundry up to 5 kilometers and spend the day outside of our Community Agro-Forestry Learning Centre washing and conversing. Resinoi, our front gate attendant, relays to us the gratitude that everyone has for this water supply; sometimes it is the only clean water available for dozens of kilometers and, for some people, not having it might mean death.

Regardless of the hardship of drought, we are surrounded by a loving, supportive Samburu community with an eagerness to learn and improve the situation. Recently, after a tree planting and training session at a school, a group of local students presented some of our techniques and ideas at a Science Fair in nearby Maralal. They were particularly interested in the concept of bio-mimicry and how it can relate to tree planting in dry areas. We are so excited to have inspired the local youth!

A big thank you 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)

Dec 28, 2018

Growing and Thriving with Volunteers

Korean and Kenyan Students
Korean and Kenyan Students

At Sadhana Forest Kenya, a major reason why we thrive is because of our volunteers.  Since October, two large groups helped to make considerable development in our local community.

First, we hosted a traveling high-school group from Korea.  The Moringa stenopetala trees that they planted at three different local schools will significantly improve the availability of nutrition in the schools’ lunches.  The Kenyan and Korean students worked side by side and befriended one another through sharing song and dance.  This lively and personable group of students hosted a Family Day for our community.  The event was an enriching cultural exchange; our local friends presented songs and traditional dances and our international visitors performed theatre, song, and body percussion.

During their stay at the Sadhana Forest Kenya Community Agro-Forestry Learning Centre, the Korean students were immersed in our eco-friendly lifestyle.  In addition to practicing water conservation and learning to use our dry-composting toilet system, they prepared tasty Korean meals using our solar-powered kitchen for cooking and our wood-fired oven for baking.  It was a delight to host such a motivated, hard working, and enthusiastic group of youth and the experience was equally as fulfilling for them and the community.

Soon after our Korean friends departed we had a group of 22 Greek volunteers.  They came specifically to implement a tree planting and water collection project at a local Primary school.  This school is one of the poorest, having no access to water and no food to offer meals for students.

Our Greek volunteers did life-changing work.  On the school grounds, they built an outdoor classroom and implemented a large-scale design of swales, catchment ponds, and food-bearing trees; well fenced from grazing animals and using many of our fast-producing, highly nutritious Moringa seedlings.  Three water tanks were installed to catch rainwater from the school roof as well as from the roof of the newly constructed classroom.  The water will be used by the school for watering the trees as well as for drinking, cooking, and washing, while one tank will be piped outside the school grounds for use by the community.  This was an extremely significant project that was carried out very successfully.  We hope to be able to do similar projects at other local schools.

Aside from these large group visits, we’re moving forward with our day-to-day work quite well with lots of seedlings popping up in the nurseries. In the next few months we plan to revisit each tree that has been planted since the beginning of Sadhana Forest Kenya.

As always, we are ever so grateful for the support of 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)

Visiting Korean Group
Visiting Korean Group
 
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