By Daphne de Bruijn, SCAPE magazine

Jeconiah Kibangendi (31) has been following the conversations with Stella and Morris and he talks enthusiastically about their work and passion. He shows his commitment to the project you can feel the responsibility. He adds that the trees not only ensure the breaking of the winds on the Yatta plateau and the reduction of wind erosion. The planting of the trees also improved the grow of weed and bushes. Kibangendi: ‘Perhaps most important effect is the slowing down of the water during the flash floods. It prevents the soil from being washed away directly to the river.’

Kibangendi tells about the many livestock farmers in Kitui Kenya and how this creates natural pollution. By planting the Melia trees and other trees, they help to mitigate climate change. It increases the carbon sinks. Kiagendi: ‘AWG is aiming at involving farmers in an area of 60.000 HA. That’s a huge area so you can imagine what will happen if all those farmers join! How forests will grow and how much life will be created.’He knows many farmers would like to join – people he meets tell him every time. But the question is how? Kibagendi sighs: It’s always the funding, the funding, the funding’. With the funding he can increase the number of farms with a plantation of Melia trees. ‘At the moment we are preparing 27 farmers to join the program and start planting trees… so: busy but happy times!’

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