Joy Maseno and a new member of Mothers Of The Forest Rusinga Island branch with her child

Welcoming the New Mothers of The Forest on Rusinga Island

It is with great delight that we announce the inaugural meeting today of the second Mothers Of The Forest women’s empowerment group. The group is based on Rusinga Island, which sits in the north-eastern part of Lake Victoria, linked to the mainland by a causeway. Most of the residents of the island make their living from subsistence farming and fishing.

In the 1980s, the richly forested island saw a huge increase in population, which led to severe deforestation, as trees were cut down to build homes, provide firewood and to make charcoal. This has resulted in more erratic and less frequent rainfall, decrease in soil quality, soil erosion and crop failures.

In 2012, a permaculture project began to try and tackle some of these issues. It was a success. This gives us confidence that the island is an ideal place for us to collaborate with and support another community.

The women will meet at a new permaculture/education centre and nursery, which The Word Forest Organisation (that means you lovely people) have contributed funding for. There are twelve women involved to begin with. They, like the first group, are keen to learn and develop new skills, and will be planting and nurturing trees. They will meet twice a month to chat, learn and share a meal; each time they will be given some saplings and some money to plant them.

The facilitator is Joy Apondi Masseno, who has trained in permaculture and syntropic agroforestry as well as mat and soap making. Eva Jefa, facilitator of the first group, and her assistant Esther Kombe have been able to meet with Joy to share their experience and ideas.

We wish the latest Mothers Of The Forest every success on their new and exciting journey and we look forward to letting you know about the projects that they undertake.

The Team

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