Wyss Academy for Nature and local groups regreening northern Kenya
21 September 2023 18:33
The semi-arid landscape of northern Kenya is becoming greener. The Wyss Academy for Nature has scaled from 5,000 to 100,000 semi-circular bunds, or low embankments that minimize soil erosion and maximize water flows for new plants, the Switzerland-based organization said in a news release. The bunds help convert dry, barren, hard soil into better ground for crops, animals, or reforestation.
The bunds are part of the Academy’s so-called “solutionscape” approach to conservation, described as engaging local communities, policymakers, and scientists to create living labs and test solutions to environmental problems.
Local youths called the Green Earth Warriors are working with the Academy, Justdiggit, a Dutch non-governmental organization that digs bunds and aims to regreen Africa to reduce global warming, as well as 500 Kenyan households and three local women’s groups: the Twiga Mamas, the Chui Mamas, and the Naitutum Women’s group.
Justdiggit has successfully used bunds and worked with women’s groups to re-green other parts of Kenya.
At the Kuku Group Ranch in the southern part of the West African country, an important bridge for wildlife between Amboseli National Park and Tsavo National Park, the community of 29,000 Maasai people who live in the region were facing challenges as climate change and overgrazing were degrading their soil.
Justdiggit has constructed more than 150,000 bunds and planted 5 grass seed banks in the region. Today the project is returning vegetation and flora to 1,077 hectares, according to the organization’s website.
The Academy hopes to expand the program throughout the country and region. “Through our integrated monitoring and evaluation system, we can provide data on this approach for like-minded partners,” the group said. ce/jd