Mount Kenya's forests are vital - for wildlife, freshwater resources, and the materials they provide to local people. Even today, Kenya's rural communities heavily depend on forests for livelihood. Local people recognise that the forests need to be protected - but they also contribute to the damage, not out of choice but because they have to.
Only 7% of Kenya is covered by trees, equating to 67 trees per person compared to a global average of 420. It's one of the countries most affected by deforestation in Africa. But thanks to contributions from our outstanding members, three months ago, we funded 21,913 trees to be planted by our Kenyan tree-planting partners, International Tree Foundation. These trees will conserve Kenya's highland forests, known as 'Water Towers', for their vital role in preserving the country's rivers, lakes and drinking water. People like Esther Nyaga are helping to make this happen.
Esther Nyaga is a 47-year-old farmer with two children. She owns half an acre of land in Kanja village, Embu County. Her land is primarily dedicated to growing tea, a profitable crop she can sell to support herself and her family.
Esther knows the forest is vital to her life, and she is one of the most experienced people in Kanja village when raising and planting trees for the International Tree Foundation.
For farmers like Esther, planting trees doesn't just provide fuel and animal fodder. Different species can give various benefits - nitrogen fixing for soil improvement, nutritious fruits such as mango and avocado, shade, timber, and medicinal uses. They also grow native species to help restore the forest edge. Esther is self-taught at tree planting and embodies feminine leadership principles by advising and activating others in her community to plant trees, no matter how much land they own. Even though Esther's farm is only half an acre, she always finds a way to plant more trees.