Planting Trees to Help Farmers in Kenya
In many countries, deforestation and harmful agricultural practices hurt the land and threaten the lives of subsistence farmers who depend on healthy soil for their survival. To help prevent deforestation in the Mbeere region of Kenya, CRS has teamed up with the International Small Group & Tree Planting Program (known as TIST) to plant trees and promote sustainable agriculture.
The program is based on the premise that trees help recover environments, prevent erosion, and provide shade and wind shelter for people, animals and crops. Some trees also improve soil quality or yield fruit, nuts, animal food, timber, medicine, bee habitats and even insecticides.
TIST began in 1999 in Mpwapwa, Tanzania, with groups of 10-12 people affiliated with the Anglican Church. Their goal was simple: build a better life for themselves and their children by helping to prevent hunger and reforest the land.
Today over six million trees are growing as a result of the TIST program, which has grown from 40 groups in one region of Tanzania in 1999 to over 5,000 small groups with over 40,000 members across eight regions and four countries. The groups have moved beyond sustainability by enabling the current generation of farmers to meet its needs in a way that enhances the ability of future generations to meet their needs.