Forestry Training & Finance for 600 Farms in Kenya

by Drylands Natural Resources Centre
Farmers carrying away their new tree seedlings
Farmers carrying away their new tree seedlings

Dear Supporters,

Thank you for your continuing support of the DNRC.

Thanks to your donations, we have thrived as an organization, and met our original goal of helping 400 farmers living in poverty in semi-arid Kenya to learn and apply agroforestry techniques. These farmers are now using drought-resistant trees to improve the health of their soils and the productivity of their land. 

Also thanks to your support, we are now $2,624 short of achieving our original $25,000 fundraising goal, and only $1,624 away from becoming one of GlobalGiving's "Superstar" projects. By becoming a Superstar project, we will gain priority ranking on GlobalGiving and become eligible for new fundraising opportunitines.

Please help us raise the last $1,600 we need to become a Superstar project by setting up a small monthly recurring donation before the end of the year. Monthly recurring donations will be matched 100% by GlobalGiving until the end of 2014. 

Thank you again for your support so far, and please enjoy our update on our work this quarter in the report below.


Quarterly report

In the final three months of 2014, the DNRC distributed a record number of tree seedlings (over 40,000) to eleven village community groups, three schools, and 439 farmers. We also helped each of those 429 farmers prepare their land for agroforestry and tree planting, held social gatherings to strengthen the bonds within and across each of the eleven community groups, and established a kitchen garden at the office to feed visitors and staff and use as a demonstration tool for the local community.


Tree seedling production and distribution

The total tree seedlings in the nursery before issuance during the Oct-Dec rains was 51,265 seedlings. During the rainy season, 40,864 seedlings were issued to 11 village groups:

  • Maiuni: 9,541 seedlings to 82 farmers 
  • Kimandi: 4,550 seedlings to 57 farmers 
  • Ivumbu: 2,990 seedlings to 33 farmers
  • Kyooni: 3,920 seedlings to 46 farmers
  • Kitandini:  865 seedlings to 20 farmers
  • Usalala: 2,128 seedlings to 27 farmers
  • Yiimbani: 1,920 seedlings to 19 farmers
  • Nduuni:  4,160 seedlings to 28 farmers
  • Kalimani:  2,855 seedlings to 40 farmers
  • Kivani:   3,315 seedlings to 38 farmers 
  • Iviani: 4,220 seedlings to 39 farmers

The following nearby schools were also given the following seedlings.


  • Maiuni Primary School (100 seedlings),
  • Lung’u Secondary School (150) 
  • Muthwani Secondary School (150).


The remaining seedlings are being sold on the open market to generate revenue for the DNRC.


Farmer outreach and training

During the quarter, most of the activities under the outreach program were to train farmers, provide support as needed, and then confirm that farmers dug holes properly, and in the right placement, before the rains arrived. We visited 429 farmers multiple times. Each was provided with tree seedlings according to the number of holes dug.


Strengthening bonds within and across community groups

Every year we have the farmers coming together for a party whose aim is to strengthen social fabric within and across each of the eleven communities we serve, through eating, singing, sharing experiences of tree planting, socializing and supporting each other.

This year the party took place on 11th Dec 2014. The party involved a lot of food including slaughtering 3 goats, chapattis and soft drinks. Also a lot of singing and dancing as the farmers celebrated their achievements.


The kitchen garden

We have established kitchen garden in the office to provide vegetables for our staff/visitors meals.

Different vegetables grown next to the office in our new kitchen garden

Farmers enjoying the annual DNRC party
Farmers enjoying the annual DNRC party
Farmers dance to celebrate after planting trees
Farmers dance to celebrate after planting trees
Vegetables in our new office kitchen garden
Vegetables in our new office kitchen garden


Stones are needed to secure water tanks
Stones are needed to secure water tanks

In the past three months, the DNRC has hosted many visitors, propoagated over 50,000 tree saplings, installed sixteen water tanks, and expanded its training programs with local schools. We now look forward to the October rains, ready to plant the saplings we have grown and to use our new office to start income generation programs.

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee team visits

4 students from University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (UWM) led by Professor Dr Mai Phillips, visited from May-July 2014. They were majorly involved in installation of cisterns, working with our farmers and also in collecting data for the DNRC and for Nicholas Syano's PhD research. 

US Rotarians help install 16 water tanks

Rotarians from US came and, working side by side with the community, helped to install 16 cisterns. So far 57 cisterns of 10,000 litres each, have been installed in the community.

Tree nursery: over 50,000 saplings propagated and ready to plant in October

In the beginning of the year we had set a target of propagating 50,000 and we have bypassed it. During the quarter, we continued with propagation of trees and by the end of August we had 51,265 seedlings which are being watered and maintained to attain the required height to be planted in October rains. We also expanded the nursery and got more water storage tanks.We are engaging  more part-time workers to help in the expanded nursery, especially during this May-Oct dry spell. 

Training and follow up with farmers and local schools

The 11 groups we continue to work with and who make a total of 400 households continued to receive trainings both in classroom and also as individuals in their individual farms. DNRC continued to extend her services to three neighboring schools (Lung’u secondary school, Mutwani secondary school and Maiuni primary school) where we continue to work with the schools to establish food forests.Both schools have a total of 681 students and pupils.

Next quarter goals

  • Continue preparing holes for planting in the Oct-Nov rain
  • Expand our kitchen garden in the office
  • Initiate income generation activities for the DNRC, such as greenhouse, chickens and goats in the office

Longer-term goals

  • Power the office through solar energy
  • Build a store for tree products when the funds are available
Jenna from UW-M and farmers help install new tanks
Jenna from UW-M and farmers help install new tanks
Thanks for visiting Jenna and Angelica!
Thanks for visiting Jenna and Angelica!
Visiting Rotarians take a break.
Visiting Rotarians take a break.
51,000 saplings in our nursery are ready to plant
51,000 saplings in our nursery are ready to plant
New Melia Volkensii saplings have thrived so far
New Melia Volkensii saplings have thrived so far
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!


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


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
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 (
  • 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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Organization Information

Drylands Natural Resources Centre

Location: Nairobi - Kenya
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Nicholas Syano
Nairobi, Kenya
$40,884 raised of $60,000 goal
470 donations
$19,116 to go
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