Kitalu is the Kenyan branch of the International Small Group and Tree Planting Programme (TIST), a combined tree planting, development and carbon programme.
Smallholder and subsistence farmers organize themselves into community groups to plant trees on their degraded land to improve their livelihoods and address local, regional and global environmental issues such as deforestation, biodiversity loss, adaptation and vulnerability to climate change.
Aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals
SDG 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Kitalu brings new enterprise and economic growth to thousands of rural families living on less than a dollar a day. Revenues from the project can increase annual income by $20 to $80 for every 1,000 trees; the woodlot benefit is over ten times that amount. Whilst trees prevent erosion some trees improve soil quality, provide fruits, nuts, animal food, timber, medicines, bee habitats, and even insecticides. These can all generate new income streams for farmers.
SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Kitalu has a health component in its training and newsletters. Its curriculum for HIV/AIDS addresses the cause, myths, prevention, stigmas, contagion, nutrition, grief counselling and other HIV/AIDS aspects. This information is presented at the monthly node meetings. Malaria prevention is also included in the program materials.
SDG 15: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems and halt biodiversity loss.
The world’s poorest farmers depend on healthy land for their very survival. Clearing trees exposes the ground to erosion until eventually the soil “dies” and farmers move to other land, clear trees, and begin the cycle again. This project helps break this cycle and bring degraded land back into production.
- Deforestation is a major cause of poverty and climate change. This project works with local smallholder groups to reverse deforestation.
- Kitalu provides hard-working farmers, women and men, an annual stipend for each live tree, plus access to future long-term profits from the global market for greenhouse gas credits.
- Smallholders join community groups where they share and receive support and education. The programme also contains a health component educating communities on HIV, malaria and other health matters.