Climate change is impacting every continent. Deforestation and intensive agriculture are contributing to the problem. Fortunately, forest conservation, reforestation, and sustainable agriculture are part of the solution.
The African continent is a minor contributor to global warming, but is highly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change that threatens its economic development. However, the continent also has enormous opportunities to build resilience to climate change as well as transition towards low-carbon development.
The commitment of the African continent to contribute to global solutions to climate change is demonstrated by the fact that all 54 countries have submitted their ‘Intended National Determined Contribution’ under the Paris Agreement, and 43 of these countries have ratified the Agreement.
Thanks to the leadership of NGOs and stakeholders in East Africa, we now have 14 comprehensive plans that can fight global climate change, while defending cultures, communities and entire ecosystems. We need your help.
Our projects in East Africa include Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. They represent one of the largest carbon-capture opportunities available today. They represent hope and vision by dedicated NGO leaders. We’re adding more projects around the world. In addition to carbon capture, these plans promote:
- Sustainable agriculture, including aquaculture and beekeeping;
- Solar-powered communities;
- Community education about wildlife conservation and forest conservation;
- Wildlife conservation and;
- Sustainable economic development;
- Jobs for men and women.
The projects are listed separately below. We have more detail available upon request.
Deforestation In Africa
Forests in East Africa are vanishing due to pressure from rising populations and agricultural land use. Millions of urban residents still use fuel wood and charcoal, which means that African nations are still burning their forests for daily survival. This threatens ecosystems that support millions of people. It’s also adding to the pressure on endangered species.
The University of Leeds found that 9.3 percent of forests in East Africa were destroyed from 2001-09. The greatest losses took place in Uganda and Rwanda, but forest lines continue receding, water quality is deteriorating and biodiversity is vanishing at an alarming rate across the region. Among East African nations, Uganda still has reasonable forest cover, while Kenya’s forests are the worst in the region.
Unfortunately, people who rely on forests to survive are being hit the hardest by the unfolding environmental crisis. The livelihoods of small farmers are worsening as land and water resources are degraded. As their income declines, their contributions to deforestation and wildlife poaching rise.
We’re collaborating with regional NGOs, governments, community-based leaders and others to implement several comprehensive efforts to promote economic development and sustainability simultaneously in East Africa. These comprehensive plans have been developed by local stakeholders to promote sustainability and resiliency in the region, while fighting climate change globally and regionally.
Mt. Kilimanjaro Reforestation
The Mellowswan Foundation Africa-Tanzania will plant more than 10 million trees throughout the region to benefit watersheds, wildlife and communities. Land has already been donated to the project in Rombo district by the Rongai forest plantation authority. Rombo District Council has offered another nursery site. The Moshi Municipal Council offered a third nursery plot for urban reforestation.
Unlike past reforestation efforts in the region, we will focus on local needs and long-term sustainability of the new trees. Despite clear evidence that most villagers know what species they want, most foresters in the past ignored those preferences. For example, the Maasai are a unique pastoral group. As they have explained, they need tree species that are suitable for their herds. (Full project detail available upon request.)
Mt. Kenya Reforestation
The Megabridge Foundation will help reverse the negative deforestation trend in our area by planting at least one million indigenous and agroforestry seedlings each year. The Foundation and its partners will train locals about agroforestry techniques and deforestation, while motivating them to help with reforestation. With additional funding, provinces can be added to the project in the Rift Valley, Eastern, Central, Western, Nyanza and coastal provinces.
Our goal is to help the indigenous communities understand the importance of forests and local wildlife. We will explain how our ecosystems are influenced by negative human activities. The communities can help end deforestation, while learning to become more resilient in the face of climate change. Farmers can contribute by applying sustainable agroforestry techniques. Community members also will become informed stakeholders and empowered stewards who can help promote sustainability and wildlife conservation. We also are conducting a community-based Elephant Conservation Project. This is a mobile film program in schools and communities to help indigenous people understand the importance of forests and wildlife. (Full detail available upon request.)
Tsavo East National Park Conservation
Reforestation, wildlife conservation, anti-poaching patrols, sustainable agriculture, community education and more by YouthLink and many others. Tsavo East is the largest protected area in Kenya. It occupies about four percent of the country’s landmass and has the highest number of Kenya’s estimated 35,000 elephants. Tsavo East is the best place in the world to see bull elephants with enormous ivory.
Elephants are not confined to the protected park, which often leads to conflict with the local farmers. Unfortunately, elephants and humans in Tsavo East are coming into contact more frequently because elephant habitat is being used for agriculture.
We will plant 3.5 million indigenous trees over a two-year span. The project will also support community-based anti-poaching operations and informer networks within the region to generate more community support for wildlife conservation. YLK will host a Summit to promote an inclusive conservation plan for the Tsavo Conservation Area Ecosystem. A Wild-Farm Alliance for Tsavo will be established after the Summit to promote sustainable agriculture in Tsavo rangelands.
We also will promote the use of bees as a natural deterrent for crop-raiding elephants, especially in the six main conflict areas.
In a study by Oxford University, it has been proven that African elephants will actively avoid African honey bees. Beehive fences have been field tested in three rural farming communities in Kenya with an 85 percent success rate in all locations. Even the recordings of bees seems effective. Not only do elephants run away from the sounds, but they emit a unique low frequency rumble that warns other elephants in the area to retreat. We will build 50 kilometers of fence for local farmers.
We also will involve our local Wildlife Champions and Wildlife Ambassadors in several local conservation and outreach activities. We will educate, engage and employ locals to improve conservation of the resources in the region. ‘Elephant-Friendly Honey’ and bee products will be sold to generate income.
Wetlands within Tsavo East, which support up to 50,000 local people, will be restored. Plus, the ecological integrity of Tsavo East will be maintained by linking the protected area through forested corridors for wildlife migration.
More than 30,000 students, community forests keepers, loggers, farmers associations, landowners, ranchers and community residents will be engaged to participate in the actual wildlife conservation and habitat restoration activities, including conservation of more than 15,000 hectares outside the protected National Park. (Full detail available upon request.)
Multinational Reforestation and Community Education
Earth Keepers Centre of Kenya will carry out tree planting and promote conservation to rural villagers. It will encompass children and youth participation drives involving schools and colleges. The project will establish 100 small, local nurseries and plant 500,000-2,000,000 trees per year. Earth Keepers will spread these nurseries and the reforestation program to Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. (Full detail available upon request.)
Tanzania School-Based Reforestation
Twenty schools will implement this community project, including students, teachers and parents in Muleba District. The Eco-Schools project will plant at least 720,000 trees (fruit trees and multi-purpose trees for firewood, poles and shade) over 12 months. With full funding, we will plant two million trees over two years. More than 10,000 people will benefit from the project through improved food security, nutrition and income.
Fruit trees can improve the income earnings, food security and living standards in the region. Action for Ngono Basin Reforestation (ACT-NGONO) was formed in Muleba District-Tanzania in 2006. Its purpose is to protect the local environment while advancing health, education and economic growth in the wider local community. The organization has been involved in community based projects including, beekeeping, tree nursery development, and youth, women and community based environmental education. (Full proposal available upon request.)
Tanzania National Economic Development Plan
An integrated reforestation, conservation and community education campaign across the entire nation of Tanzania. Mellowswan Foundation Africa-Tanzania plans to expand its first project across all of Tanzania. This multi-faceted economic development program has been approved by The United Republic of Tanzania.
We will work with government leaders and Village Natural Resources Committees (VNRC) about their responsibilities in all districts and regions to plant more than 100 million trees across the entire nation. We will conserve millions of hectares of existing forests.
We will train stakeholders on the latest provisions and policies of the Forest Act, Environmental Act, Land Act, Wildlife Act and Water Act. We also will collect and distribute best practices from the VNRCs and other local and district leaders to share the knowledge for maximum impact.
The project also will include aquaculture, beekeeping, agroforestry, ecotourism, conferences, training, awards and community education. It also will promote strategies to reduce human-wildlife conflicts, including safekeeping livestock from predators and safeguarding crops from elephants. We also will develop several community centers for trainings, community events and ecotourism.
We will plant timber trees, indigenous trees and commercial fruits such as clove, cocoa, palm, baobab, mango, guavas, avocados, etc. to benefit habitat, biodiversity and communities. We also will have an urban forestry program to help cool the cities and protect them from extreme weather, while capturing and storing carbon from the air.
We will publicize the program locally at airports, hotels, national parks and game reserves so that visitors can visit and/or support the reforestation project. We will urge volunteers from around the world to come work with us.
We plan to work more cooperatively to promote wildlife tourism aggressively across the region and around the world. The District Directors and Forest officers in Tanzania are very happy with this overall project and have offered to help in multiple ways. Such an economic stimulus can help take some of the pressures off of wildlife. It will take several strategies to save these endangered species, but sustainable economic development in Africa can help address the problem, while providing a platform for more productive community engagement.
Our goal is to provide education and help indigenous people understand the economic importance of forests and all wildlife. The objective is to provide information about the ecosystem and how environmental factors are influenced by negative human activities, including deforestation and wildlife poaching. (Full detail available upon request.)
Solar-Powered Communities In Kenya
Ahero and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development plan to introduce solar power to 20 villages across Kenya. The power will supply street lighting, schools, community centers, health centers and water supplies. Not only does solar energy curb deforestation, this solar energy program has already had a positive impact in the lives of community members in five villages. It has improved sustainability, literacy, productivity and governance at the community level. For example, the number of individuals attending school has increased significantly now that classrooms are available at night and now that people have regular access to computers and the Internet. Similar success awaits ahead. (Full Proposal Available Upon Request.)
Integrated Watershed Management In Rwanda
The Regional Research Center For Integrated Development (RCID) will integrate agroforestry and soil fertility technologies for Improved Food Security for Smallholder Farmers in Flood and drought Prone Areas of Rwanda. Other partners include ICRAF, Rwanda Natural Resources management Authority (RNRA) and Rwanda Agriculture Board (RAB). The integrated project will help reduce flooding and drought, while improving food security. It also will reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
The project forms part of the Rwanda Investment Plan for the Forest Investment Program. The project includes:
- Soil conservation using agroforestry species and Fruit tree plantation,
- Restoration of degraded agricultural landscapes,
- Capacity building of communities on adaptation to climate change in agriculture,
- Protection of marshland and river banks
- Improvement of livelihoods and poverty reduction of communities. This project will be implemented over 2 years with a total cost of USD 250,000 Rwf.
The project will be implemented in Burera and Musanze districts in Northern of Rwanda have high mountains with very steep slopes that flow into valleys. We also will work in Nyagatare and Gatsibo districts, which also have soil erosion problems.
The direct beneficiaries of this project will be supported with agroforestry species and fruit tree plantation, equipment and inputs for the restoration of degraded agricultural landscapes and marshland and river banks and capacity building to communities to adaptation of climate change. We estimate 17, 000 people with 55% women representing the direct beneficiaries of the project and indirectly benefit will be around 120,000 people (2% of the population of the districts). (Full Proposal Available Upon Request.)
Conserve Arabuko Forest and Wildlife In Coastal Kenya
Kenya’s wildlife and wildlife habitat are under siege. Further deterioration threatens the future of the country and the future of millions of people. The implementation of conservation strategies in coastal parts of Kenya, including Watamu and Kwale, are challenging. The area includes several tribal populations, who are an integral part of the forest ecosystem. Human activities, including agricultural expansion, road construction, urbanization and other developmental activities are major threats to biodiversity and wildlife in the region. According to the Mwangaza Support Group, the most effective way to conserve biodiversity is to prevent further destruction and degradation of habitats in Arabuko and Kwale.
In addition, this project will address the poaching and hunting of endangered species, deforestation and charcoal production. It also will include community education about sustainability, wildlife conservation and watershed protection. The project will establish a registry of flora and fauna and a seed bank that can help promote watershed restoration with native and beneficial plants. It also will expand the capacity of volunteer conservationists in the region.
Some of the mitigation measures have been put in place by the village elders and few CBOs, but they lack the resources necessary to conserve the Arabuko forest. (Full Proposal Available Upon Request.)
Sustainable Agriculture In Uganda
Agriculture is an important sector in the economy of Uganda. But farmers are already facing the new challenges posed by climate change. Uganda’s Environmental Concern project is a grassroots, humanitarian, NGO founded to promote sustainable development through public education and empowerment. Our program is based on a strong social network, where community groups can learn about sustainable agriculture and economic diversity to minimize their impact on land and water resources. We will build the capacity of rural farmers to organize and market collectively. They also will learn about financial management and agroforestry.
We encourage sustainable income-generating activities to help our communities become self-sufficient, without depleting our natural resources. In order to empower our farmers and to encourage sustainable development, we have started the Sustainable Agriculture Support System for rural farmers in the region. It will include reforestation and agroforestry programs. It will train farmers how to adapt to the building forces of climate change, while not contributing to the problem. The project is starting in Mukono District.
Project 1. Tanzania Reforestation: The Mellowswan Foundation Africa and Sacred Seedlings are collaborating with the United Republic of Tanzania. District Councils and Forestry Departments throughout Tanzania will help Mellowswan Foundation supervise the reforestation project. The Forestry and Beekeeping Departments will supervise, monitor and evaluate all field activities. The District Executive Director, Forestry Officer, Beekeeping Officer and Community Development Officers of the respective divisions will be involved. Mellowswan will gather assistance as necessary from District NGO networks.
- Project Scope: Nursery development. Reforestation. Agro-forestry. Urban forestry. Degraded lands and afforestation of lands around Kilimanjaro, Rombo, SIHA and Myeba Districts.
- Timeline: Four years to completion.
- Preliminary Budget: $1.2 million.
- Contact Person: Tumaini Mosha, Project Director, Co-Founder Mellowswan Foundation Africa-Tanzania.
Project 2. Kenya Agroforestry: Megabridge Foundation is a Kenyan-based NGO working with local communities to promote sustainable livelihoods. It is run entirely by volunteers.
- Project Scope: Nursery development. Reforestation. Agro-forestry. Degraded lands and afforestation of lands around Mt. Kenya. The scope is expandable to the Rift Valley, Eastern, Central, Western, Nyanza and coastal provinces within Kenya.
- Timeline: Two years for phase I.
- Preliminary Budget: $50,000 per year.
- Primary Contact: Joseph Gichoni
Project 3. Kenya Biodversity: Youthlink Kenya (YLK) is an independent community-based organization registered in the Ministry of Gender, Sports, Culture and Social Services. All labor will be provided by community members. YLK has been enhancing wildlife conservation through partnership with and direct support to the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the National Wildlife Authority. YLK is educating a section of the community around the Taita rangelands about creating a physical buffer along vulnerable National Park boundaries, securing wider wildlife dispersal areas, re-opening historical wildlife migration corridors and the importance of the enhanced protection of biodiversity and ecosystem services within the greater Tsavo Conservation Area.
YLK worked with the local communities of Tsavo, while organizing forums to present their views and concerns during the recent process of enactment of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Bill, 2013 (recently passed by the Kenya Parliament). YLK is committed to working in partnership with government, NGOs, community and private stakeholders, both local and international.
- Project Scope: Nursery development. Reforestation. Agro-forestry. Urban forestry. Degraded lands and afforestation of lands around Tsavo East National Park. Promote the use of bees as a natural deterrent for crop-raiding elephants.
- Timeline: Two years to completion.
- Preliminary Budget: $380,000
- Primary Contact: Godwin Odhiambo Ogada, Coordinator, Youthlink Kenya
Project 4. Reforest Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda: Earth Keepers’ Centre is an international not-for-profit organization registered in the Office of the President under the provisions of Non-Governmental Organizations Coordination Act of the laws of Kenya. EKC’s mission is to inspire a lifelong stewardship of our natural resources by building the capacity of grassroots community groups across Eastern Africa. The organization is a regional leader in promoting environmental stewardship and collaboration with other stakeholders on environmental and sustainability issues in Eastern Africa. EKC will partner with:
- Africa Rainforest Conservancy
- Tanzania Forest Conservation Group
- Tanzania Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots Programme
- Arusha, Tanzania VI Agroforestry
- Uganda Kikandwa Rural Communities Development Organisation
- Uganda Wagiso Youth Group
- Uganda Nangabo Environmental Youth Club
- Uganda Friends of Budongo Forest
- Uganda Juhudi Children’s Club
- Kenya Youthlink Kenya – Kenya Youth for Conservation
- Kenya Kenya Organization for Environmental Education
- Kenya Mukogodo Environmental Conservation Group
- Kenya Kigali Technical Institute Ecology Club
- Rwanda Bujumbura University Environmental Club
- Project Scope: A project aimed at enabling school children and college youth to establish local tree nurseries and plant more than five million trees at their institutions, farms and degraded forests in the five countries of Eastern Africa region.
- Timeline: Two years to completion.
- Preliminary Budget: $637,000
- Contact Person: Mr. Langat Kiprotich, Executive Director
Project 5. Tanzania Reforestation. Eco-Schools. ACT-NGONO will work with the citizens in Muleba District, the District Forest Office, the Agriculture Office, local councils, administration and relevant agencies.
- Project Scope: Nursery development. Two million trees. Reforestation. Agro-forestry. Urban forestry. Eco-Schools. Degraded lands and afforestation of lands around Muleba District.
- Timeline: Two years to completion.
- Preliminary Budget: $100,000
- Contact Person: Richard Bataringaya
Project 6: Tanzania Reforestation: Mellowswan Foundation will partner with The United Republic of Tanzania, District Councils and civil service organizations throughout Tanzania. District Councils and Mellowswan will direct and supervise the diverse economic development project, which will cover six regions, including Mbeya, Morogoro, Dodoma, Kilimanjaro, Arusha and Mwanza. We will work with Forest Reserves, District Directors, Community Development officers, Beekeeping officers, 50 regional and district NGO’s Networks and four Catholic congregations. We will reforest millions of hectares in all six regions. We also can conserve millions of hectares of existing forests (to be negotiated).
- Project Scope: National Economic Development. Beekeeping. Aquaculture. Nursery development. Reforestation. Forest conservation. Community education. Citizen engagement. Wildlife tourism.
- Timeline: Five years to completion.
- Preliminary Budget: $335 million.
- Primary Contact: Tumaini Mosha, Project Director, Mellowswan Foundation.
Project 7. Solar-Powered Communities in Kenya (detail coming)
Project 8. Integrated Watersheds In Rwanda (coming)
Project 9. Conserving Forests and Wildlife In Coastal Kenya (coming)
Project 10. Sustainable Agriculture in Uganda (detail coming).
The first President of Tanzania, Mwalimu Julius K. Nyerere, recognized the integral part that wildlife plays in the country. In September 1961, at a symposium on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, he gave a speech that has become known as the Arusha Manifesto. The statement resonates across most of Africa today:
“The survival of our wildlife is a matter of grave concern to all of us in Africa. These wild creatures amid the wild places they inhabit are not only important as a source of wonder and inspiration, but are an integral part of our natural resources and our future livelihood and wellbeing. In accepting the trusteeship of our wildlife we solemnly declare that we will do everything in our power to make sure that our children’s grand-children will be able to enjoy this rich and precious inheritance. The conservation of wildlife and wild places calls for specialist knowledge, trained manpower, and money, and we look to other nations to cooperate with us in this important task – the success or failure of which not only affects the continent of Africa but the rest of the world as well.”
The threat was crystal clear to local leaders 50 years ago. It’s haunting to read the Arusha Manifesto in the midst of the wildlife crisis today. It’s not just about wildlife. It’s not just about Africa. It’s about biodiversity and sustainability of the human race. We don’t have time to waste. Momentum is building against the web of life and we have an unprecedented chance to draw a line in the dirt in Africa. Some courageous visionaries have stepped forward with comprehensive plans that can make a difference. With your help, they are ready to make a difference that can span the globe.