A partnership between the community of Boré in eastern Kenya and Wales is growing trees at the epicentre of the climate crisis. With your support, 2021 has seen this project reach new heights and improve lives along the way.
Sitting on the equator, unpredictable weather conditions have a huge impact on the daily lives of people in Boré. Bouncing between the extremes of drought and deluge, the local maize harvest has failed two seasons in a row, whilst local subsistence farmers have struggled to grow food for their families.
The Boré Community Forest Project, a locally-led initiative set up in 2008, is taking action on these issues by growing trees and developing alternative sustainable livelihoods, diverting people away from the need to burn charcoal which drives deforestation.
In December 2020, Size of Wales’ Trees for Christmas campaign asked people, businesses and schools in Wales to help raise funds to grow trees in Boré. The response was amazing, raising enough to grow 107,712 trees which has helped grow the project’s capacity in several important ways, including:
- Improved water storage facilities with four new water storage tanks. These will increase the capabilities of tree nurseries and provide resilience against droughts.
- Over 500,000 seedlings grown to date which are being distributed right now, with another 500,000 to be planted in mid-2022!
- Increased capacity of the tree nurseries to propagate 1 million seedlings annually.
- Employment opportunities were created for 60 local women, paying wages higher than the local average.
The project is also expanding in other ways, such as offering seed funding to women entrepreneurs and beehives to people living with disabilities.
How do trees help?
We’ve learned even more in 2021 about the threat climate change poses to us all. This includes the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC) report, which found we are on course to increase the global temperature to 2.5 degrees, causing untold damage to life on our planet as we know it. No wonder this year has been dubbed as a ‘code red moment for humanity’!
Growing the right trees in the right places is one way we can counter the impacts of climate change. Trees have an amazing ability to absorb carbon and cool the climate, whilst binding the soil beneath them, helping to prevent landslides and floods. They provide nourishment and medicine, supporting communities and many different species to thrive.
Tropical conditions, such as those near the earth’s equator, help trees grow 10 times faster than anywhere else on the planet and therefore absorb carbon more quickly.
Many traditional cultures, such as Indigenous Peoples, have thousands of years of knowledge on land stewardship and living in harmony with forests. Communities such as Boré can play a vital role in building our planet’s resilience, especially if it is met with a global effort to reduce carbon emissions.
Alongside their numerous environmental benefits, trees also provide livelihoods.
Meet Jannet Kahindi Mumba who works in the main community nursery in Boré. Jannet is married with 3 children aged 7, 6 and 2, and works part-time in the nursery to top-up the money she makes selling vegetables.
Her wages help to pay for school fees and food. With the COVID-19 pandemic hugely limiting local employment opportunities, the nursery now provides her with an important means to support the health and education of her family.
Jannet is also setting up a small chicken and duck rearing business with the support of the project. She plans to invest any of her spare money into this venture, which provides the potential of income well into the future.
What can you do to help?
The recent COP26 climate conference in Glasgow underlined how time is running out to cap global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees and halt the existential threat of climate change. Stopping tropical deforestation is vital to meeting this target alongside cutting corporate emissions, for example by ending the use of fossil fuels.
However, in the words of Sir David Attenborough, we must also ‘rewild our planet’ through growing more forests and promoting biodiversity. This includes supporting communities in places like Boré to plant millions of trees where they are needed most.
By supporting our 2021 Trees for Christmas campaign you will be doing just this. Every £3 will support the Boré community to grow 10 trees and contribute toward their target of planting 1 million next year.
The 500,000 seedlings grown in 2021 could absorb up to 125,000 tonnes of carbon in the long term. That’s equivalent to the carbon footprint of 12,000 people or around 19,000 homes in Wales!
As you prepare to celebrate Christmas this year, consider giving a gift to the planet by supporting our campaign and the work of the Boré Community Forest Project now and into 2022.
Click here to support the Trees for Christmas campaign or you can set up a regular donation to support forest communities like Boré here.