Tree Seedling Propagation to Combat Disastrous Deforestation around Migori –
This project employs a number of strategies to fight deforestation in Kenya. “Tree Seedling
Propagation to Combat Disastrous Deforestation around Migori” helps people from three local
slums manufacture efficient cook stoves, grow tree seedlings, and make building blocks out of sand
in Migori town. The integrated approach provides various environmental benefits while giving the
urban poor new ways to make a living.
- 650 efficient cook stoves produced weekly
- 500,000 tree seedlings grown every six months
- 145 members benefit directly
Poverty, overpopulation, and overdependence on wood for fuel have combined to cause disastrous
deforestation in Kenya. In Migori Town of southwest Kenya, the urban poor depend on firewood and charcoal
for fuel. It is also a necessity to earn a living. But deforestation and the related effects have harmed
the environment in and around Migori town. This in turn affects the townspeople, for example in the form of
erosion and flooding.
Members of the Wadu, a self-help group, have developed an innovative and efficient cook stove made of
salvaged tin or iron sheets. Poor populations in Migori town can learn how to make these cook stoves, and
sell them. The stoves are able to burn a single piece of wood for several hours, and are used for example
in preparation of street food.
Urban poor who formerly sold firewood are also now harvesting sand that is continually deposited along the
banks of the Migori River. They use the sand, combining it with soil and cement, to produce blocks that can
be sold for construction. The self-help group is also propagating tree seedlings, having established three
large nurseries to supply government demand.
Helping the planet
Planting trees prevents riverbank erosion and reduces flooding around the town. The greenery attracts rain,
adds nutrients to the soil, and allows aquifers to be replenished. Sustainable extraction of sand has
replaced the destruction of trees for wood and charcoal. The blocks don’t need to be fired, which
also reduces use of fuel. Since people are using less wood for fuel, pollution is also reduced.
Energy-saving cook stoves improve indoor air quality, preventing respiratory illness. Sand harvesting and
tree seedling cultivation have helped to lift the standard of living for slum-dwellers who make and sell
the products. As a result, crime has decreased, and more children are attending school. Additionally, the
planting of fruit trees contributes to regional food security.
Other self-help groups are forming to emulate this project’s integrated approach. The project can be
easily copied, particularly in other East African regions where trees remain the dominant source of fuel.
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