The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) recently completed a five-year reforestation partnership (Global Development Alliance) with The International Small Group and Tree Planting Program (TIST), which encouraged more than 55,000 farmers to plant 13 million trees and learn sustainable agricultural practices. The TIST program enhanced community participation and encouraged good governance and leadership within and among farmer groups. Independent assessments have verified that, so far, more than 5 million of these trees have survived and grown large enough to be monitored, already banking more than 361,000 metric tonnes of carbon credits since the project began. The thousands of invested farmers will continue to earn income as their trees grow, as well as reap benefits from the trees themselves.
Between 2009 and March 2014, USAID invested KSh 650 million ($7.6 million) in TIST to address global environmental issues such as deforestation, biodiversity loss, adaptation, and vulnerability to climate change in Kenya. USAID partners, the Clean AIR Action Corporation and the Institute for Environmental Innovation, invested a similar amount.
“The farmers here today are to be congratulated for their leadership and continued stewardship of the process and expansion of the reforestation and tree planting efforts. They demonstrate the true value of community stewardship and participatory conservation management,” said USAID/Kenya Mission Director Karen Freeman at the June 2014 celebration of TIST’s performance.
This year, USAID is investing KSh 450 million ($5.3 million) in Kenya to implement the U.S. Government’s Global Climate Change Initiative, Biodiversity Policy, and its commitment under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to advance Low Emissions Development and support adaptation to destabilizing climate impacts.