By Cath Lawson, Regional Manager, East Africa
Funding from Size of Wales is an important part of our overall basket funding for the Coastal Kenya Programme. We rely heavily on this matched funding opportunity, as well as funds from other organisations and individuals to ensure our work continues.
Listed below are some examples of the work being done through the Coastal Kenya Programme thanks to the support from Size of Wales and other funders. This list is not an exhaustive.
Giving local people a voice to ensure people and nature thrive:
We work with local communities to ensure that they have a strong voice in discussions and negotiations on the sustainable use of the forest. For example, we have been working with local communities to ensure that their views are incorporated into the County Forest Conservation and Management Bills that have been or are being developed in Kwale, Kilifi and Lamu counties. These Bills guide the management of forest sectors within the county, play a vital role in reducing degradation of forest ecosystems at the county level, increase benefits to the community from the forest sector, and promote the use of sustainable energy sources. The Bills also inform the development of county wood fuel rules and regulations, which will further help to ensure sustainable forest use.
Improving forest management:
By providing technical and financial resources and through direct advocacy and building of civil society capacity, we’re helping to improve forest management in a number of ways. For example, in Kwale, we’ve helped improve the conservation of sacred Kaya forests by: supporting the development of a Kaya Forests Conservation Strategic Plan; advocating for increased County Government resource allocation for Kayas (resulting in the launch of a Kaya Forests Conservation Programme in Kwale and more than 5,000 indigenous seedlings being planted in Kaya forests in Kilifi); and working with County Governments, Kaya elders and National Museum of Kenya (NMK) to strengthen borders around Kaya forests. In Boni-Dodori, the sacred sites of the indigenous Aweer are known as Duri and Gedhi. Directly and through support to the community, we’re advocating to get 25 sacred Duri/Gedhi within the forests of Boni-Lungi-Dodori officially recognised as NMK national monuments, in a similar fashion to the Kayas. NMK gazettement would not restrict local community access to the forest but would offer enhanced protection against large-scale unsustainable developments.
Keeping rivers flowing to maintain ecosystems and sustainable businesses:
We’re working closely with the private sector and local communities to improve water management. Based on learnings from sugar production companies in South Africa, we’re piloting new river monitoring systems as well as working with small-scale farmers as champions of good water management. We hope a method of sugar cane production, known as the Sustainable Sugarcane Initiative, will be adopted, which uses less water and ensures there are buffer zones around wetlands. A lot of sugar cane is grown in Kwale County and this puts pressure on the Mkurumudzi River: a crucial source for habitats and wildlife in the Shimba Hills ecosystem, where the river originates. The river supports more than 6,000 ha of mangroves, the domestic and livestock needs of thousands of people in rural communities, and two large scale industries operating in Kwale, therefore ensuring a sustainable approach to water use is critical.
Taking responsibility, planting trees and building sustainable markets:
Because we recognise the important role that small-scale tree growers can play in using forests sustainably, we’ve been supporting farmers, schools, and local communities to invest in growing and managing their forests. We’ve been providing the resources and technical support needed to encourage farmers and other groups to start growing trees, as well as helping to set up a tree-growers’ association in Kwale which currently has more than 200 members who are responsible for 3,000 hectares of forest. This group supports its members with the challenges of forest farming as well as learning to work with the private sector. We have helped them set up a marketing co-operative to promote a market for their forests products – e.g. building poles, timber and honey – that have been sourced in a responsible and sustainable way. Local companies as well as bigger, multi-national companies have been put into contact with these groups to produce other products like Moringa seeds and eucalyptus.
Sustainable and clean energy for daily living:
Through our Clean Energy Village Initiative, we’re helping people to gain access to solar lighting and fuel-efficient stoves which reduces their impact on the environment whilst also having positive socio-economic impacts. Traditionally, many coastal communities use unsustainable sources of firewood for cooking and kerosene for lighting. These fuel sources have detrimental effects on the environment and people alike. By avoiding a need for kerosene and using fuel-wood more efficiently, were helping to reduce pressure on the environment, but we’re also helping to improve education standards – as children have to spend less time collecting firewood and can use solar-lamps in the evening meaning that there’s more time to read and complete homework. Likewise, there’s more time for income generating activities on top of the savings already being made by not purchasing expensive fuel sources.
If you would like to donate to this project, you can do so here.