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Empowering Farmers and Conserving Biodiversity

Project location

Located in East Africa, Kenya is home to a diverse tapestry of people, each with their own unique customs and traditions, making it a melting pot of cultures and languages.

The Kenyan economy has been steadily growing in recent years, driven by sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and services. Its dynamic and entrepreneurial workforce, combined with a strategic geographic location, has contributed to the country’s status as a regional economic hub.

The agricultural sector plays a pivotal role in its economy, providing livelihoods for a significant portion of the population. However, many Kenyan farmers endure the hardships of a challenging agricultural landscape, battling unpredictable weather patterns, limited access to resources, and a persistent struggle for food security.

These resilient individuals, often tilling their lands by hand, exemplify the dedication and fortitude required to eke out a living from the fertile but demanding soil of this East African nation. It is these very farmers who typically find themselves at the forefront of tree planting projects, recognizing the vital role that reforestation plays in mitigating the challenges they face and securing a more sustainable future for themselves and future generations.

Planting partner

TIST.org stands for International Small Group & Tree Planting Program.

TIST is a community of smallholder farmers in dryland areas who have joined together to improve their lives, their communities, and the environment. TIST farmers plant trees and manage their land in a sustainable way, which helps to reduce deforestation, erosion, and climate change.

TIST is a unique program because it is led by the farmers themselves. Farmers form small groups to support each other and share best practices. They also manage their own land and trees, and they are paid for the carbon credits that their trees generate. This gives farmers a direct financial incentive to plant and care for trees.

TIST has been very successful in improving the lives of its farmers. Farmers have reported increased crop yields, improved soil health, and more reliable water supplies. They have also been able to build schools, clinics, and other infrastructure for their communities.

TIST is a model for sustainable land management and climate action. It shows that smallholder farmers can play a leading role in addressing some of the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.

Here are some of the key benefits of TIST:

Improved livelihoods: TIST farmers have reported increased crop yields, improved soil health, and more reliable water supplies. They have also been able to generate income from the carbon credits that their trees generate.

Sustainable land management: TIST farmers plant and manage trees in a sustainable way, which helps to reduce deforestation, erosion, and climate change.

Community development: TIST farmers work together to build schools, clinics, and other infrastructure for their communities.

The Project

The Tist Kenya project is a long-standing initiative that has been making a substantial impact for over a decade. Operating at the intersection of biodiversity conservation and sustainable development in Kenya, the TIST project empowers local farmers to integrate tree planting with their agricultural practices.

This unique approach not only safeguards their crops from extreme weather conditions such as drought but also fosters biodiversity and offers a more sustainable source of income. To date, the project has contributed to the expansion of forested areas, totalling 5,438 hectares, benefiting an impressive 68,400 farmers.

The TIST agroforestry project in Kenya represents a harmonious blend of agroforestry and sustainable development, equipping subsistence farmers with the essential knowledge and skills required to shield their lands from the adverse effects of climate change.

Through this project, farmers gain ownership of their lands and receive carbon revenue for planting native trees, which serve the dual purpose of fortifying them against extreme weather events and enhancing the local biodiversity.

Since its inception in the late 1990s, TIST has earned a reputation as a dedicated advocate for biodiversity conservation while concurrently addressing issues related to rural empowerment and sustainable development.

Notably, TIST Kenya has received certification from the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and Climate, Community and Biodiversity (CCB) Standards, attesting to the authenticity and effectiveness of their initiatives.

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Project SDGs

When allocating our members’ funds, we’re committed to aiding in the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations. Below are the SDGs acknowledged for this project.

Multistrata agroforestry

Multistrata agroforestry is a farming system that involves the intentional integration of trees and other perennial plants into agricultural landscapes to maximize ecosystem services and agricultural productivity.

It is one of the solutions featured in Project Drawdown, which is a comprehensive plan to address climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions or sequestering carbon.

Project validation

This project is certified for carbon credits. You can check the project in the Verra Register here. 

Positive Impact on Communities

What sets the TIST Kenya project apart is its innovative and community-driven approach. Local farmers are not just beneficiaries but also play an integral role as architects and managers of the project on the ground. Through this approach, farmers receive direct payments from carbon finance and are nurtured by TIST through leadership and training opportunities.

Farmers are given access to training programs that equip them with climate-resilient agriculture skills, including conservation farming and the establishment of tree nurseries. Additionally, they have formed a network that operates at local, regional, and national levels, facilitated by TIST’s communication efforts. By implementing improved farming practices, farmers experience long-term support, resulting in enhanced and sustainable crop yields.

The impact of the project extends beyond agriculture. Farmers also receive training in areas that improve their overall quality of life, such as building fuel-efficient stoves and education on malaria and HIV/AIDS prevention. These initiatives, coupled with the sustainable income generated, contribute significantly to TIST’s vision of combating HIV/AIDS-related issues. Importantly, the project has opened up income opportunities for women farmers, making a substantial contribution to reducing gender inequality.

In summary, the TIST Kenya project has emerged as a transformative force in Kenyan agriculture, striking a harmonious balance between empowering farmers and conserving biodiversity. By placing farmers at the forefront of the project and equipping them with knowledge, training, and financial support, TIST is not only fostering sustainable agriculture but also improving the overall well-being of communities. This initiative stands as a testament to the positive impact that community-driven, environmentally sustainable projects can have on rural populations.

In Kenya, Agroforestry Is a Win-Win for Indigenous Communities and Conservation

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