Roos Willard via web
We recorded the impact we made in Kenya in 2016 and the first half of 2017 in the second part of our documentary series: Rainmakers II: Seeds of Change. From the second half of 2017 we started with the design, planning and development of our three-year program to re-green 20,000 km² (half the Netherlands!) and thus improve the lives of nearly a million people. In Q4 we started several projects as part of this program. Impact 2017
• Exclosure in Amboseli National Park • Olopololi plot that provides the Maasai with dry season grazing grounds • Grass seeds banks combined with water bunds • Special women empowerment projects
The African Conservation Centre (ACC), Amboseli Ecosystem Trust (AET), the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust (MWCT) and Justdiggit Foundation (Justdiggit) have been working together for the past few years on restoration activities in the Amboseli Ecosystem. Other important organization with similar aims are Big Life Foundation (Big Life) in the Amboseli ecosystem, and the South Rift Association of Landowners (SORALO) in the South Rift ecosystem.
During the past 8 months, Justdiggit and most of these partners have had ongoing discussions on extension of these projects into a long-term program. These discussions have partly been initiated because of arising funding opportunities, but also by a need to create a more holistic (and sustainable) plan for restoration that is aligned with the aims of other stakeholders in this landscape.
Scope Based on preliminary discussions, it was decided to have a wider aim, that includes all Group Ranches in the Amboseli Ecosystem, but also the South Rift ecosystem.
In most Group Ranches, ACC will provide general project management in close cooperation with other relevant organizations. In the areas where MWCT is the leading environmental organization, MWCT will provide general project management.
To start a new project within a Group Ranch, a few conditions have to be met. First, an ecosystem management plan for the wider ecosystem has to be in place. In the case of the Amboseli Ecosystem, this condition is met by the Amboseli Ecosystem Management Plan. A Group Ranch further has to have an established Landuse Management Plan and Grazing Management Plan. This will enable areas that are intervened upon to restore.
Restoration activities are done per Group Ranch. Aim is to make approximately EUR 800,000 budget available per Group Ranch for restoration (of course depending on Group Ranch size). Restoration activities within a Group Ranch are managed and reported on as a separate project, with a separate project document. Justdiggit and partners will fundraise on a project by project basis, and will start with a new project (Group Ranch) as soon as the budget goal for this project has been committed. We estimate that the (average) budget of EUR 800,000 per Group Ranch is ambitious but reachable. For this amount not everything can be done but, properly designed, enough restoration activities can be executed to have a significant beneficial effect on the landscape throughout the Group Ranch. For each Group Ranch, a project will have a duration of 2 years.
The bulk of these restoration activities will be direct low-cost interventions (water bunds, stonelines, etc), setting up olopololi’s and horizontal learning and video events. Fact sheets on these interventions can be found in paragraph III. The first Group Ranch that we will start with is Olgululu, in the Amboseli Ecosystem.
A number of other activities will reinforce the restoration projects within the Group Ranches. First of all, ACC will continue with institutional development at all government levels (Track 1). Secondly, Justdiggit and its media partners will use media and storytelling to start a “movement”, showcasing the good work that is being done and inspiring people all over Kenya to start restoring their degraded land (Track 3). Thirdly, Justdiggit’s fixed Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) partner, Meta Meta, will set up an M&E-plan in close cooperation with ACP and the project management team (Track 4). The first two elements, are expected to be funded by ACC and Justdiggit themselves and are not part of the Group Ranch / project restoration budget, since it is an extension of their normal work. The M&E is funded separately through Meta Meta.
We started our Tanzania program working together with the Vice-President’s Office (VPO) of Tanzania as can be read in previous updates. However, they were not able to meet their co-funding target (of 50%) and we had difficulties on agreeing the final program management structure. Main point of difference, was that VPO wanted the program implemented through the Tanzanian Government. This is not acceptable for us, nor our donors. So, we agreed to disagree and amicably ended our cooperation.
Subsequently however, we started working together with an enthusiastic, local partner, the LEAD Foundation and have created and started a new program with them, based on the earlier work we did with VPO in the Dodoma region in Central Tanzania. The Dodoma region is about the same size as the Netherlands and 90% of the people depend on the country for their existence. Often they are small farmers who produce food on their small piece of land for themselves and their families. This while land degradation is a major problem: due to wrong land use and bad techniques, the yield of the land is low, fertile soil washes away and more and more farmers struggle to produce sufficient food for their families.
We want to show that things can be done differently: with simple interventions that cost little or no money and effort, farmers can get much more yield from their fields, the land will be restored and re-greened, and at the same time they will have a positive impact on their environment and the regional climate.
The interventions range from simply plowing in a different way, rainwater harvesting techniques to retain more rainwater, to promoting 'Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration' (FMNR) where trees that naturally arise are protected and cared for, also called Kisiki Hai. Per village, we teach a number of champion farmers these techniques, who continue to spread this to their fellow villagers. But we also reach people directly! With the help of a traveling video caravan, we pass through the various villages where we show an inspiring film on a large screen, which we have specially created for this purpose in the native language of the villagers. The version with English subtitles can be seen here.
In 2017 we have started this program in the first district of the Dodoma-region: the Kongwa district. This district consists of 60 different communities, with approximately 36,000 farmers and 180,000 people. 240 Champion farmers have been trained and the 60 villages have been visited by the video caravan. At this moment, the 240 Champion farmers have already trained an additional 10,000 farmers that are now practicing FMNR.
As of May of this year, we want to upscale this program to the rest of this region, with the following impact: • Training & educating 1,200 champion farmers (240 already trained) • 300 communities = 180,000 families = 1,000,000 people • 24 Billions of liters of water is retained yearly instead of washing away the fertile soil and causing flooding and erosion. The water infiltrates into the ground for the benefit of the population, soil, agriculture and animals • This will lead to an additional 14 million (!) trees in the area over the coming years..
As is being done in Europe, we will create a movement in the Dodoma region and wider Tanzania, which will act to inspire farmers (but also urban dwellers) to take action on landscape restoration. This will be done using all relevant media and other possibilities available to bring the message to the people, acknowledging the difference that there is between Europe and Africa. We will use our global partner network to attract local partners, who ideally would provide us free support. And the first parties are already on board! JC Decaux has dedicated extensive Out-Of-Home advertising space for our campaign, in the 7 largest cities in Tanzania, which include Dar es Salaam and Dodoma. But also 2 large radio stations, Dodoma FM and Sunrise FM are giving us free airtime.
In 2016 we developed and finalized the design of the project and started the community meetings. During the climate summit (COP22), our program received an official COP label and we were ready to start with the interventions. Due to political developments we were not able to start in 2017. Fortunately, we now have all the necessary new contracts, which means that we can restart the program in 2018. It was a laborious process, but the budgets have been promised and we have a strong team with the Ministries of Water, Agriculture, the Environment and the local government as partners. In total, Justdiggit will contribute 25% to the program, and the Moroccon government 75%.