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Kenya

Take all this business about Kenya. Lots of chaps gabbing away who know nothing about the place! Now I spent fourteen years of my life there. Some of the best years of my life, too.

Agatha Christie - A Caribbean Mystery (1964)

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The cradle of humankind

In "A Caribbean Mystery", Agatha Christie has the retired soldier Major Palgrave talk about his travels, and in describing Kenya he starts by dismantling the clichés that accompany the image of that African country. This premise is still valid today, given that the evocative power of images and words related to Kenya have often built fantastic imagery that captures only certain aspects of the country, neglecting many others.

Kenya is a large country, considered by anthropologists to be the "cradle of humankind". That cradle is now a melting pot of different peoples, landscapes and plant and animal species, making variety its most distinctive feature. Everyone knows the famous Masai, found mainly in the southern areas of the country, but Kenya is inhabited by over 70 ethnic groups.

The territory

Kenya's geographical complexity is remarkable. The country is crossed by the Equator from east to west and from north to south by the Rift Valley. It overlooks the Indian Ocean and its low and sandy coast is just one of the geographical elements of a country containing several plateaus, with forests and savannahs, and several mountain ranges. Given the presence of the Rift Valley, the area also features numerous fresh and salt water lakes and widespread geothermal activity.

In this varied context, then, it is not surprising that you can find wildlife parks, pristine beaches, splendid coral reefs, majestic peaks and ancient Swahili cities. The country's rich wildlife is impressive and known to anyone who's ever watched at least one animal documentary in their lifetime.

Kenya body 1

Treedom in Kenya

Treedom's main purpose in Kenya is to work with farmers' cooperatives to promote the development of small-scale agroforestry projects through a participatory approach. Since 2014, Treedom has worked with numerous local organisations to plant trees in rural areas, involving local authorities and providing profitable agricultural alternatives for the population.

While respecting the country's variety, Treedom has run numerous projects in Kenya over the years, involving various partners to pursue environmental and social goals. All the farmers involved have been trained not only to manage and care for the trees, but also to develop a spirit of collaboration and community (some projects, for example, specifically involve groups of women to support their emancipation and independence) and promote awareness of environmental conservation.

Kenya body 2

Trees for every need

The tree species produced, distributed and planted in the various projects are also highly varied. There are many food-related species, such as Avocado, Mango, Guava and others called superfoods (with an above-average nutrient content compared with common foods), such as Macadamia and Moringa. Obviously all the fruits produced by the trees are owned by the farmers who take care of them.

There are numerous associations with forest species adopted by farmers, with the aim of protecting and increasing biodiversity and creating a habitat suitable for fruit trees to grow in. Among these are the Grevillea, for example, which favours the presence of pollinating bees and is an excellent windbreak, the Umbrella Tree, whose name indicates its ability to provide shade and shelter from the hot equatorial sun, or the Leucena, which fixes nitrogen in the soil, contributing to its fertility.

Kenya body 3

1,044,671

trees planted in Kenya

61,451

beneficiaries involved in Kenya