We are thrilled to report that Sadhana Forest Kenya has massively increased its water transporting capabilities. Our new water truck carries 5400 litres – that’s 9 times what we were previously able to haul! Until now, it was an ongoing challenge getting water to trees and gardens beyond the Community Agro-Forestry Learning Center (CALC) where we pump ground water using solar and wind power. We can now greatly expand our activities, rain or shine. Not only are the growing food-forests sure to be watered but we are also able to provide some water for households, which is especially crucial during harsh droughts when women and children walk many kilometres to carry water home.
We are very fortunate that cases of covid-19 have remained low in Samburu County. So, proceeding with caution, we have continued to provide follow-up care and expansion to the food-forest style kitchen gardens previously planted at homes around Samburu; as well as adding many new ones! We have also kept very busy caring for our tree nurseries to always have plenty of seedlings ready for planting – for Samburu households as well as for foresting our demonstration plot here at CALC.
After 10 months of children being out of classrooms due to the covid-19 shut-downs, local schools have recently re-opened. We are looking forward to the coming months when we’ll safely get back to collaborating with them on planting projects and training events. Also, when possible, we will pursue outreach such as tree-planting training and permaculture design implementation in new villages that are now more accessible due to our upgraded transport.
FYI: Earth Day 2021 is on April 22nd and this year’s theme is “Restore Our Earth”. So get out there and plant a tree!
We are so grateful to everyone who supports the work of Sadhana Forest Kenya, such as donors, volunteers, and the people at GlobalGiving. If you are interested in providing us feedback concerning our project, finding out more about our activities or areas of operation, or would like to volunteer with us, please email us at email@example.com. We also strongly encourage you to provide feedback at the end of this report.
Thank you to everyone who donated on “Giving Tuesday”. Together, you helped us raise over $4500 for the Samburu people! Those funds will go directly towards the goal of long term food security in Samburu County. Now here’s a bit about what we’ve been up to recently at Sadhana Forest Kenya.
Although we have fewer volunteers at this time, we have not slowed down on our important work but we have shifted our tactics in order to make the best use of this unusual dynamic. Not being able to travel too far from home has presented the opportunity to further develop infrastructure at the Community Agro-Forestry Learning Center. That includes increasing the output of our tree nurseries to ensure a variety of species are always ready to plant. Excitingly, we have begun to harvest seeds from some of our earliest planted trees.
We really miss collaborating with schools since the covid-19 closures, but we’re so grateful to be able to provide similar learning opportunities and practical experience to children safely at their homes. They are keen to get involved with planting trees and gardens as well as the subsequent care. It is encouraging to see this enthusiasm and to know that they will always have this knowledge – for their futures and to pass on to those who come after them.
With more rain recently, has come a burst of growth in the area and we are continuing to see great success with the intensive Permaculture plots that we have implemented. We will keep checking in on those as well as creating new ones. Depending on factors such as the size of the family’s land, these projects range from small kitchen gardens with a few food-producing trees to extensive Permaculture designs with over a hundred trees. When it comes to providing water for these gardens, we can only hope that the rain continues and we know to prepare for the inevitable drought. We are currently organizing the means to deliver substantial water to the surrounding community, free of cost.
FYI: To help grow our monthly support base, GlobalGiving is offering a 200% match on all new monthly donations set up between now and Friday (Terms and Conditions). This is a great way to make your donation go further!
As always, we would like to thank all of you for supporting the vital work of Sadhana Forest Kenya and we are grateful to GlobalGiving for this wonderful platform with which to reach you. 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 email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also strongly encourage you to provide feedback at the end of this report.
Lekita lives in a nearby Samburu village called Nengerpus with his wife, their five boys, his mother, and one of his brothers and his wife and baby. In his youth, Lekita spent most of his time away from home making a living as a herder without the opportunity to go to school. However, Lekita was able to slowly build a house, open a small restaurant, and start farming beans and corn. When Sadhana Forest Kenya arrived, volunteers brought business to his restaurant, which he has since expanded. Now Lekita’s wife oversees that business and he works with us here at SFK. He enjoys helping in all areas he’s needed; from mulching and watering trees to overseeing the free phone charging station!
Lekita says that his life has greatly improved since the arrival of SFK. His home is now surrounded by trees that provide shade and protection from strong winds. He is better able to care for his family and plan for the future. Lekita is full of gratitude and hope. He is an absolute asset to Sadhana Forest Kenya and we are thankful to him for his great contribution to our work. When asked what message he would like to spread with this newsletter, Lekita said:
“If I could say one thing to everyone reading this, it would be to respect the trees! Wherever you are, plant trees!”
Thank you to everyone who supports Sadhana Forest Kenya in all the ways you do. 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 email us at email@example.com. We also strongly encourage you to provide feedback at the end of this report.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Because of your continued support, Sadhana Forest Kenya, again, finished in the top place of GlobalGiving’s annual Climate Action Campaign. With 521 donations and $3000 in matching funds from GlobalGiving, we received a total of $15,909 for Long Term Food Security for Samburu! Gaining the top spot means that Sadhana Forest Kenya is now one of five Climate Action Leaders in the year-long Climate Action cohort. This will give SFK crucial visibility as well as additional funding over the course of the year. We could not have done this without every one of you! For more on the Climate Action Fund, check out: Climate Action Fund
Thankfully Samburu County is one of the seven Kenyan counties (out of 47 total) with no reported cases of Covid-19, but we cannot know for how long this will last as numbers of cases continue to rise elsewhere in Kenya. Although our travel for supplies is restricted and we are lacking volunteers we have thus far been able to keep up our work without too much interruption.
Over the last few months, we have implemented small food forest style kitchen gardens at a few community members’ homes. These small but mighty food forests are well fenced, with a variety of food-bearing tree species as well as crops such as beans, pumpkins, potatoes, sunflowers, tomatoes, and greens. So, not only do these gardens provide some immediate food, but they will also contribute nitrogen and eventually biomass to the soil. Additionally, each garden incorporates important water conservation structures: bunds, swales, and catchment ponds. The homes chosen for this project are families who have previously received SFK trees and took great care of them. This demonstrated investment, along with the strong setup of these gardens, inspired us to also include some particularly demanding tree species like banana, avocado, and papaya. We plan to continue mentoring these garden owners as well as helping with watering throughout the dry season to give the food forests the best start possible. If they are successful, we will expand the current gardens as well as choose additional homes to create new ones.
Due to Covid-19, we know that things might get much worse in Kenya and prevent us from working in the community. We will continue to work and live safely and take each day as it comes. In the event that we do need to put our community involvement on hold, the silver lining is that we have several exciting projects underway at the Community Agro-Forestry Learning Centre; one being a movable nursery shade structure. This structure will provide the same shade and protection as our other nurseries but will allow us to plant trees directly into the ground, removing the stress that transplanting puts on seedlings. Once the trees are established and strong enough to handle the elements, the movable structure will be easily picked up and moved to start a new plot of trees. This method will be efficient in covering a large area of the SFK campus with food-bearing trees while reserving space in the current nurseries to grow seedlings that will be planted in the community.
We are ever so grateful for the generosity of all our supporters. Please stay safe and healthy. 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 email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We also strongly encourage you to provide feedback at the end of this report.
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.
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