Planting seeds for the future with two brand new grass seed banks in Kenya!
Good news! We’ve established two new grass seed banks in the Kuku Group Ranch in southern Kenya. Grass seed banks offer the best of both worlds: they contribute to the sustainable regreening of the area and act as social enterprises where women from the Maasai community earn additional income.
The two new grass seed banks in the Kuku Group Ranch are the result of a collaboration between the Justdiggit-team and our project partner Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT). We did this under the TWENDE (Towards Ending Drought Emergencies) project, which aims to increase the resilience of the agriculture and livestock sectors by restoring and effectively governing rangeland ecosystems in Kenya’s arid and semi-arid lands.
The grass seed banks offer new economic opportunities for women of the Maasai community in the area. Forty women are already actively involved in the two newly established sites. To train the women, we organised training sessions on effective seed sowing and weeding – two essential skills for successfully growing and harvesting the grass seeds!
What are grass seed banks and why are they important?
Grass seed banks are a landscape restoration method where we use small parts of communal land for the production of grasses and grass seeds. The grass seed banks are managed and maintained by Maasai women groups in Kenya. Once the grasses are fully grown, the grasses produce grass seeds which are sold by the women on local markets or to other regreening projects. In other words, grass seed banks are not just a green oasis in dry and bare land; they also provide additional income and help women in Maasai groups to become more independent.
Our efforts did not go unnoticed…
To give you an idea of the success of grass seed banks in improving the position of women from the Maasai community, you can take a look at this report of the UNCCD (United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification). Our grass seed banks are included as a case study, where they are praised as a successful example of combining gender empowerment with innovative land restoration techniques.
All pictures used in this article were taken at other grass seed banks we previously established in the Kuku Group Ranch.