March 27, 2024

Digging over 4,000 bunds in the South Rift dedicated to Gino Mäder

Last year, the cycling community was shocked by the tragic passing of the Swiss cyclist Gino Mäder, who passed away after a horrific accident during the Tour de Suisse. As Justdiggit was an organisation close to Gino’s generous heart, fans from all over the world got together and donated to our projects in remembrance of him. 

We are glad to announce that we have now dug close to 2,000 bunds out of his name in the South Rift in Kenya – with many more to come. 

A legacy beyond cycling alone 

Gino Mäder was not just an extremely talented athlete but was also widely beloved for his altruism and great sensitivity with which he inspired people from all over the world to take better care of animals, nature, and each other. 

He used his position as a professional athlete to make a difference by supporting causes close to his heart. Justdiggit was one of them. After his tragic passing, many of Gino’s fans followed in his footsteps by donating to us. We have received over €30,000 in donations for Gino.  

We are deeply moved by so much generosity and support for our projects. As promised, we are currently regreening a dedicated area in the South Rift in Kenya in honour of Gino, his fans, and their heartwarming shared legacy. 

Transforming landscapes by digging bunds

The South Rift is a unique ecosystem at the foot of the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, bordering Tanzania. It supports some of the richest mammal diversity in the world and is home to Maasai pastoralists: a nomadic or semi-nomadic community whose main source of income is livestock keeping.

Unfortunately, life has become difficult in this area for the Maasai, their livestock and the wild animals. The land has dried up and is severely degraded as a result of climate change and misuse of land, putting pressure on resources and livelihoods. 

To help rehabilitate the land, we are digging bunds together with the Maasai and our partner SORALO. Bunds are semi-circular-shaped pits that capture rainwater that will otherwise get washed away over the dry, barren soil. By digging water bunds, we can regreen large areas quickly, benefiting biodiversity, nature, people – and eventually our climate. 

Regreening an entire area thanks to Gino and his fans

With the support we received, we are targeting to rehabilitate 53 hectares of land in the Lenkobei area of Magadi by digging 4,293 bunds. This project has started in February of this year. So far, 1,839 bunds have been dug with 1,742 already seeded. This means that these bunds are ready to receive rainwater and completely transform the area. As you can see, the site already received some rain!

Regreening is done together

As always, the projects are managed and run by the communities themselves. This ensures the long-term sustainability of the interventions and means that the people who live off the land will experience the benefits. Community-led bund projects like this are a real team effort: about 100 community members are involved in the digging of the bunds on the site dedicated to Gino. On average, each individual digs about six bunds a day, for which everyone gets paid.