Re-greening the land
Southern Kenya is the home to the Maasai people, who mostly depend on the land as a main source of income and food.
In this project, we already managed to sucessfully re-green 800 hectares of severely degraded land, together with the local Maasai community and our local partner, the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT). To recover this area, the Maasai community has dug 72,000 (!) rain water harvesting bunds. These stopped further erosion and enabled rain water to infiltrate into the soils again, which has led to vegetation to recover. Also, a grass seed banks has been initiated and is now managed by Maasai women. This re-greened the barren area near their doma (small settlement). They harvest seeds and grasses which generates income while the landscape is restored at the same time!
But we did not stop here. Currently we are implementing new projects in the Kuku Group Ranch consisting of a combination of interventions, including the creation of new grass seed banks, re-seeding thousands of bunds and empowering more women groups. Scroll down to read more about our current activities and to see the re-greening results so far.
- 72,000 rainwater bunds
- Grass seed bank
- Grazing Management
72,000 rainwater bunds
The Masaai community has dug an impressive 72,000(!) semi-circular rainwater bunds. These bunds capture rain which would otherwise wash away over the dry and barren soil. The rain water is slowed down and stored temporarily behind the bund, enabling the water to infiltrate the soil. Seeds which were still present in the soil have started to grow and re-green the bunds and also the spaces in between. And further destructive erosion by gullies is prevented and even reversed.
Grass seed bank
Generating income through re-greening
Maasai women initiated and manage a grass seed bank, now generate income through re-greening! The grass seed bank is located in one of the most extremely degraded areas near one of the domas (small settlements), and the difference with the surrounding area is enormous. Grass is almost completely covering the fenced area already, resulting in an oasis of green in barren surroundings. Insects and small animals are returning, enabling a recovery of the ecosystem extending mere vegetation recovery. The Maasai women harvest seeds and grass as a source of income, selling them at local markets and for further restoration projects.
The sustainability of the projects is being established through a pasture grazing management plan. The community and our local partners work together to prevent further overgrazing. Through a community awareness and mobilization program, involvement of and understanding by the local community is ensured.
The results of the project are so convincing, requests for extension of the projects are made by both communities and other NGO’s in the region.
Community rangers guard the restoration areas and surrounding lands to prevent deforestation, charcoal burning and illegal water extraction. In 6 months time they have covered over 3,700 kilometers in the project areas.
Seeds of change
Documentaire Rainmakers ll
We have now made two documentaries to show the impact of our projects. While the first part of the documentary series Rainmakers shows the beginning of our projects and their necessity, Seeds of Change shows the clear re-greening results of our projects and the positive impact our projects have on humans and animals.
At the end of 2017 we (together with MWCT) started with the implementation of new re-greening activities at the Kuku Group Ranch. We are establishing two new grass seed banks of 10 acres each in two different degraded areas. The selected villages are Inkisanjani and Enkii where local Maasai women’s groups can supplement their income, while re-greening their living environment.
Furthermore, a part of the existing water bunds will be re-seeded to replenish the soil seed bank and subsequently assist with vegetation recovery in the bare areas.
We also find it important to focus on capacity building and horizontal learning experience. Community women are trained in seeding, harvesting and general business and marketing skills. After they have gained experience in managing their own grass seed bank, they visit other women groups to exchange knowledge and best practices.