The dust is just beginning to settle on our teams’s annual monitoring and evaluation visit to Kenya, for 2019.
Tracey and Simon West and Ru Hartwell – our CEO, Chair of Trustees and Trustee respectively – spent February in Boré, Coast Province. They were also accompanied for the month by volunteer and bushcraft tutor, Steve Pooley, who worked incredibly hard as a water purification teacher.
Three additional volunteers joined the team for a week – our Ethics Trustee and talented seamstress, Rikey Austin, and Dave and Yvonne Matthews – they all kindly donated their time in a variety of ways, including helping to organise the distribution of well over 2,000 items of clothing, including a great many tee-shirts kindly donated by three Lyme Regis organisations: Lyme Splash, the Fossil Festival and Candles on the Cobb. There were also over 1,000 items of underwear, which were gratefully received by the women of Boré. The knickers will allow hundreds of women and girls to wear the washable sanitary pads we’ve empowered them to make, via Rikey’s brilliant How To video.
Boré is located 3 degrees south of the equator and a long and bumpy drive north west of the beach resort of Malindi and it’s at the heart of our tree planting and classroom building projects. The team stayed in the recently constructed Boré Community Forest Centre, owned and run by the Boré Green Umbrella, the cooperative who undertake our tree planting and classroom building work.
We were incredibly grateful to receive ring-fenced funds that allowed our team to work in Kenya for a month, so they could measure the impact our projects have had over the last year on the Boré community, on biodiversity in the area and on the planet. The team also had to identify new projects for our charity to support during 2019-20 and that was particularly hard, as this is such an incredibly impoverished area and there are so many urgent needs to meet.
Two other fairly major events took place in Kenya during February: the first was our second international tree conference, ‘Clear the Air: reforest Kenya 2019’. This was also held at the Boré Community Forest Centre and over 4 days, esteemed delegates from England, Wales, Uganda and Kenya debated some of the key challenges facing humankind, in respect of the preservation and expansion of Kenya’s forests. We broke protocol with traditional conferences by reaching out to over 800 members of the immediate community with some of our findings and we invited them to contribute their thoughts too. What happened was astonishing and it resulted in a unprecedented sharing of knowledge and collection of pledges – more on that coming soon.
As if that weren’t enough to keep the team on their toes, the accomplished documentary maker, Tim Tyson Short, filmed the conference – including the phenomenal community day mentioned above – Tim interviewed our Kenyan crew and visiting contingents, and spent a great deal of time working with Evaline Jefwa, the facilitator of our phenomenal women’s empowerment group, Mothers of the Forest and you’ll be able to find out what it’s like to live on the front line of climate change, soon.
We’ll be organising screenings on why the world needs to plant trees in tropical zones like Kenya and why we absolutely must tend to the human needs of the amazing people who are looking after the forests; by the way, if you’re interested in hosting an event, please drop us a line.
Phew – if that’s the outline of the month, can you imagine how long it’s going to take to bring you right up to speed with everything else that went on?
We suggest you buckle yourselves in and make sure you’re subscribed to our blog to ensure you hear about it first.
The charity managed to get a great deal of work done during February that’ll help Kenya and the wider world and none of it would be possible without the unwavering support of you folks, our members and supporters. We cannot thank you enough for enabling us to get countless thousands of new trees in the ground.
Asante sana musenangu – thank you my friend,