Project Title: Greening of Malava Sub- County.
United Mission for the Needy (UMN) & Japan Africa Trust (JAT)
Project to start off in Malava constituency of Kakamega county and progressively roll out to other regions
Initial 20 primary and secondary schools to be selected for participation using defined criteria to be designed as part of the project proposal
Each school to plant at least 5000 seedlings within a period of 2-3 years
1. Primary and Secondary Schools
2. Youth Groups
3. Women Groups
CONCEPT NOTE BY UNITED MISSION FOR THE NEEDY
Project Title: Greening of Malava Sub-County.
1. Identifying the Need/Problem
Kenya’s forest cover declined from 30% of land area in the 1960s to less than 2% at present. Many factors have contributed to this, including but not limited to: illegal logging to meet huge demands for fuel, wood, charcoal, carving, in addition to clearing of land for human settlement and agriculture. The statistics on the rates of tree planting (the supply) and tree consumption (the demand) in Kenya are depressing. For instance, to achieve sustainable supply of tree products and services in Kenya, over 200 million trees should be planted annually but less than 35 million get planted while an estimated 65% of the national demand for wood goes unmet. Current tree planting efforts are severely constrained by a lack of good quality seed and slow, inefficient traditional propagation methods. Government initiatives have began to yield positive results but partnership with private stakeholders including NGOs is required to speed up grassroot access to communities that are greatly affected such as Malava Forest whose cover has been greatly impacted by human activities.
2. Needed Intervention/Solution
The major challenge in Kenya and by extension Malava Sub-County is to massively and progressively increase tree planting in a way that is sustainable, supports income generation (wherever possible) for small-scale groups and grass-root communities – with an eye on the long-term vision of increasing the County’s forest cover and conserving the environment. Examples of organized, small-scale and grass-root communities that can be supported and empowered to spearhead and expand tree planting include schools, churches, women groups, youth groups, wood carvers and charcoal makers.
3. How can we get involved and make the difference?
With our well established grassroot network and partnerships with local and government institutions, UMN in partnership with JAT can provide the much needed leadership and momentum for the envisaged tree planting efforts to take root and achieve the desired growth and impact. The following three approaches are proposed in our efforts of making the difference:
a) The Eco-Schools Approach:
Malava has like other parts of Kenya has many public primary and secondary schools spread out in the Sub-County. A significant number of these schools, particularly secondary schools, have boarding facilities and many more have lunch feeding programmes. Cooking and water heating in all these schools is done using firewood. Most of the firewood is harvested from forest areas within proximity to various schools leading to massive deforestation and in many schools, expenditure on firewood accounts for 20-30% of the total school’s kitchen/boarding budget. In 1989, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) estimated that the total firewood by all institutions/schools in Africa- Kenya was approximately 500,000 tonnes per year. Currently the demand has nearly doubled to 1 million tonnes annually due to increase in population and construction of more schools, particularly with boarding facilities.
The ecological damage of harvesting 1 million tonnes of wood for use firewood by schools is equivalent to degrading over 400 hectares of forest cover annually. Moreover, the ban on harvesting wood from forests in 2000, and the resultant scarcity and high cost of firewood, schools have become highly sensitized and motivated towards tree planting. The most appropriate and sustainable solution is to support and encourage schools to establish their own tree woodlots, with a view to achieving self-sufficient in firewood supply in 4-5 years when the trees are mature for harvesting. Another major advantage of working with schools in terms of tree planting is that they are permanent institutions with adequate land, labor (especially students), and management capacity from principals and teachers. Tree planting is also a practical way of introducing and integrating Environmental Education in schools. Schools
in different parts of the country can also be mobilized and trained fairly quickly, with minimal logistical/administrative cost implications. Other value adding activities under the Eco-Schools
Approach would include:
i. Income generation opportunities – for Eco-schools that are within proximity to saw milling factories of Western Kenya (Pan Paper Mills,RaiPly etc), income generation opportunities exist by way of selling surplus wood to them.The Eco-Schools Project is, therefore, unique and innovative in the sense that participating schools will not only become self-sufficient in their internal firewood needs but also for the existing saw milling factories that are in need of the wood as a raw material for their industries. Without out doubt, the Eco-Schools Project presents a unique opportunity and challenge UMN will take the lead and make the difference in reversing deforestation in Malava.
ii. Eco-Schools Trophy – As a way to motivate students to participate in tree-planting, UMN proposes establishment of Centres of Excellence in Tree Planting and Conservation in Malava. By using a defined grading criteria (to be designed later), the proposed Eco-Schools Trophy will be used for recognizing and rewarding the best performance and creativity in conservation activities. It is hoped that the concept will be eventually introduced as part of the mainstream Science Congress Competitions that take place in secondary schools every year.
iii. Conservation Walk – by sponsoring a walk dubbed “Conservation Walk” for Eco-
Schools, UMN hopes to provide another exciting and engaging undertaking for students and teachers. It is intended that this walk would be an annual event complete with the Project Steering Team who will be tasked with identifying a “theme” around which the walk would be organized, e.g., “Conservation Walk to Save Malava Forest”, Conservation Walk to Save the Kakamega Forest Ecosystem”etc. The Walk would have the multiple benefits e.g., publicity, inculcating a culture of conservation in the youth, fund-raising for other Eco- schools activities – thereby making their activities sustainable, leveraging additional corporate sponsorship in form books, computers, other learning equipment.
iv. Energy-Saving cooking Stoves – schools in Malava are not only using firewood but are using it very inefficiently by cooking in the traditional open-fire (threestone) systems whose energy efficiency is no more than 20%. Energy-saving stoves for schools are designed to deliver 50-70% savings on firewood consumption. The resultant financial savings as a result of reduced firewood consumption can be directed towards the repayment of the improved stoves whose cost range between Ksh80, 000 to Ksh120, 000 (800 USD-120USD) per stove depending on the design, volume capacity and construction materials used. A typical school with 300-500 students and boarding would require 2-3 stoves to effectively their cooking needs. Introduction of an improved stoves component within the proposed Eco-schools would be another added advantage.
b) Women and Youth groups Approach
Women and Youth groups are another outreach approach through which UMN can make the difference in the re-afforestation initiatives. UMN works closely with a network of women & youth groups involved in a wide range of self-help activities and initiatives. With proper planning, capacity building and co-ordination, the organized groups can be instrumental in the implementation of tree planting initiatives.
4. Methodology of implementation
UMN will be working with the communities, schools, youths and women groups on the project areas and spearhead the successful implementation of the project. The tasks to be carried out will include will be as follows:
Project design, planning & management Publicity & awareness creation
Supply of high quality, fast growing seedlings
Technical support and oversight on tree planting and management
Training of selected women groups and schools
Distribution of tree seedlings to schools, women and youth groups in Malava
Trainer of trainees on the importance of trees
Community mobilization in the planting of trees
NB: The communities and the Kenya Forest Services in collaboration with other
Stakeholders will contribute in planting and maintenance of the sites.