Kenya: Bore Community Forest Project

The Boré Community Forest Project grows trees along the equator where they are most effective in tackling climate change. The project is undergoing significant growth, doubling its tree growing capacity, promoting environmentally sustainable livelihoods and supporting local women to start their own businesses.

The Challenge

The community of Boré sits directly on the equator in Eastern Kenya. It is home to the Giriama, a small ethnic group of 2 million people who lack political representation and receive little support from the state.

Traditionally, the Giriama are subsistence farmers and increasingly erratic weather conditions caused by climate change, such as floods and severe droughts, have led to repeated failure of their staple maize harvests and many are now facing acute food insecurity.

A lack of local employment opportunities has led to people burning charcoal as a key source of income. This has become one of the main drivers of deforestation in the region.

Kenya’s forest cover is estimated to be between 6-8% which is very low. Between 2001 and 2020, Kenya lost 361,000 hectares of tree cover and 49,000 of this was primary forest. A national target to increase forest cover to 10% by 2022 has not yet been met.

Protecting and regrowing tropical forests is vital to meeting international climate targets and limiting global temperature rises. Therefore, this is an issue that affects every single one of us.

Project Aims

Established in 2008, the Boré Community Forest project, takes action through growing trees and developing alternative sustainable livelihoods, diverting people away from the need to burn charcoal.

Thanks to a major increase in funding from Size of Wales and its supporters, this community-led initiative is expanding considerably and will make an important regional contribution to increasing Kenya’s forest cover in the years ahead.

Firstly, the project is doubling the number of trees planted annually from 500,000 to 1 million. Tree seedlings are distributed by nursery staff to around 3,000 farmers and 80 schools. Training will be given to community members on how to collect local indigenous seed species.

The community will be supported to increase the current area of forest that is stewarded by the community by 1,200 hectares within 3 years, with a special focus on protecting the sacred Kaya forests. Kaya is a Swahili word meaning home.

The project also aims to create more sustainable livelihood opportunities that enable the community of Boré to protect rather than degrade their critically important local forest resources. The project currently supports over 400 people with direct employment or entrepreneurship seed money. As part of this:

  • Fifty older people and those living with disabilities have been selected to join a beekeeping scheme, receiving hives, shared equipment and training.
  • The newly formed Boré Climate Change Women’s Group are being supported to develop new sustainable businesses for their 60 members
  • As the project expands it will provide more well-paid work for the 61-strong team of women nursery workers.
  • Community members are being trained in GPS logging and mapping to track survival rates and understand the lay of the land better, and a local young person is being trained to deliver communications on behalf of the project.

The Boré Community Forest project receives support from two new ‘Climate Shops’ located in Aberystwyth and Lampeter. In these unique stores, people who are concerned about tropical deforestation, biodiversity loss and the climate crisis, donate their unwanted household items to be repaired, upcycled and then sold. All the proceeds going to fund the planting of tropical trees in Boré. If you would like to convert any of your surplus gear into Kenyan trees visit www.climateshop.org or follow Climate Shop on Facebook.

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Community Carbon Link is a unique partnership that connects towns and villages in mid-Wales with the region of Bore in Coast Province, Kenya. It’s a Wales / Africa community link that encourages ordinary people in the UK to take responsibility for their large carbon footprint by supporting sustainable forestry projects with African partners.

The link enables the communities in Kenya to conserve their endangered forest and build resilience, capacity and adaptation against a rapidly changing climate.