Regreening and improving the land of Maasai pastoralists and farmers
In Arusha, the Northern part of Tanzania, we boost the program of partners LEAD and Erbacher Foundation with communication power and regreening knowledge. Together we aim to bring back vegetation and improve the livelihood of agro-pastoral households who heavily depend on their pasture lands and farm soils.
The Monduli District in Arusha is one of the driest areas in the country. The majority of people living in the region are Maasai: a nomadic community whose main source of income and survival is livestock keeping. Due to drought, they are struggling with insufficient pasture resources. Meanwhile, farmers in the area are also struggling with the productivity of their farms.
Time for a change! Therefore we boost the program of partners LEAD and Erbacher Foundation with communication power and regreening knowledge. The program aims to improve the livelihoods of the local communities as well as restoring nature by regreening the area. The methods that will be used are Rainwater Harvesting (RWH) and Pastoralist Managed Natural Regeneration (PMNR). These methods are fast, low-cost, and sustainable and will allow pastoralists and farmers inhabiting the most degraded landscapes to restore their pasture lands and farm soils. This positively affects water availability, soil health, crop yields, and grass and fodder for livestock. On a larger scale, regreening degraded land has a cooling effect on the (local) climate.
of water retained in 2021
under intensive restoration
We bring back forgotten tree stumps by using a technique called Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR), or – as we like to call it: Kisiki Hai. This is more effective than planting new trees!
By regenerating those trees, we are able to restore the degraded areas and make these areas green and cool again.
Bunds (or as we like to call them: “earth smiles”) are semi-circular shaped pits that capture rainwater.
They are dug in our project areas in Africa in order to capture rainwater that will otherwise get washed away over the dry, barren soil. By digging bunds, we can regreen a large area in a very short amount of time, benefiting biodiversity, nature, people and – eventually our climate.
One of the main advantages bringing back vegetation is that it creates more moisture into the air. Vegetation “transpires”: it releases moisture into the air which cools it down. On a large enough scale, this helps to create clouds and increases the chance of rain, especially at the beginning and end of the rainy season, helping to restore the water cycle.
Together with the farmers and pastoralists in Arusha, we are restoring 195 hectares of dry, degraded land. Bringing back vegetation has lots of positive effects on the climate, on the environment and biodiversity, on people and their livelihoods.
Water bunds are semi-circular holes dug to open up the hard top layer of the soil.
The bunds slow down and capture rainwater running downhills, preventing erosion of fertile soil. The water balance in the soil restores, increasing the water availability for the seeds still present in the soil. These seeds now get the chance to sprout, which means: regreening! Within the Arusha project area, the Maasai community already dug 22,000 water bunds!
Pastoralist Managed Natural Regeneration (PMNR), or Kisiki Hai (‘living stump’ in Swahili), is a technique to regrow trees and support new, naturally occurring sprouts to grow big.
With the program local Maasai pastoralists and farmers are trained to apply the technique on their own land, allowing the regeneration of 32,000 trees.
Fanya Juu and Fanya Chini are rainwater harvesting techniques. Farmers dig contours within their farmland to prevent erosion and to capture the valuable rainwater within their land.
Fanya Chini means ‘ throw it downwards’ in Swahili. It prevents the rain from falling outside the farm from entering the farm, inhibiting erosion of fertile soil. Fanya Juu means ‘throw it upwards’, and prevents the rain falling within the farm to run off, increasing the water availability for the crops on the land. In the end, it helps the farmers to regreen their farms even more!
By training 100 facilitators (so-called ‘regreening’ champions), we can reach out to 1200 agro-pastoral households in the Arusha region.
These champions train their fellow community members on how to regenerate trees on their land. This way thousands of people are activated to regreen their own land, bringing back millions of trees in the Arusha region resulting in an increase in drought resilience, food production, and household income. The regreening champions are also trained in rainwater harvesting practices, helping them to regreen the land even further.
For us it is not only important to train people how to regreen their land, but also find other ways to reach and inspire them. By building a real regreening movement we aim to reach and inspire millions of Maasai pastoralists and farmers.
Part of this regreening movement is our movie roadshow: a video-caravan going from village to village. The roadshow is a whole day event, filled with theatre, music, dance, and performances all about Kisiki Hai. When the evening falls, a large movie-theatre screen is set up, which shows the inspiring movie Kisiki Hai that is filmed entirely in Tanzania.
To spread the regreening movement even further, we’ve set up various approaches to reach and activate communities, without physically visiting them. This way we are able to inspire pastoralists and farmers in and outside of the Arusha region!
Together with partners LEAD and Erbacher Foundation, we will offer a Regreening SMS-service. Pastoralists can subscribe to this service, which will send them a text message every week with tips and tricks on how to practice Kisiki Hai and Fanya Juu, and Fanya Chini.
Our mission is to regreen Africa in the next 10 years, together with millions of farmers, and together with you.
If we want to cool down the planet in one decade, everyone needs to be in on the change. Through the power of media, communication, data, and the latest technology we can spread our message and scale up. We want to inspire, unite and empower an entire generation, growing a landscape restoration movement.