Category Archives: About

A Message for 2017 from Our Founder Mike Korchinsky

January 18, 2017 – This week, America will pass the baton of power over to a new administration. I think it is fair to say that regardless of the eventual outcome of Donald Trump’s time in office, the history of remarks that he and some of his closest advisors have made in the past are genuine cause for concern within the international climate community.

However, it is also now clear that the rest of the world will not have their resolve to tackle climate change weakened in any way whether or not the US continues to participate in a leadership role on this critically important issue.

Here at Wildlife Works, we are accustomed to overcoming challenges in the work we do, as most societies have a long history of valuing the destruction of forests for “economic gain”. We are amongst a very small but growing vanguard who are beginning to prove the case for forests being more valuable alive than dead.

As a result we tend to wait until challenges become real before worrying too much about how we will overcome them. I see the election of Donald Trump no differently. We must wait and see what specific challenges his election poses to our work, and then rally our colleagues, partners and supporters to overcome those challenges, just as we have overcome so many challenges before.

His election does nothing to weaken our resolve, nor our belief that our work is of critical importance to the future of forests, wildlife, and rural communities.

Furthermore, I do believe that the truth will prevail. Because of the now increasingly widely understood role of forests in mitigating the worst impacts of climate change, our work will continue to be acknowledged to be of great importance to everyone including Donald Trump. So please join me in celebrating the recent progress we have made highlighted in this newsletter, and look forward to many more newsletters to come.

Thank you!

Mike Korchinsky

wildlife works founder mike korchinsky

Changing Kenya’s Landscape for Wildlife and Jobseekers

Changing Kenya’s Landscape for Wildlife and Jobseekers

Published in the The Opinion Pages on NY Times

By Amy Yee

JUNE 8, 2016 RUKINGA SANCTUARY, Kenya — Twenty years ago, this wildlife corridor in southern Kenya was in jeopardy. A scarcity of jobs in this impoverished, arid landscape meant people were hunting wild giraffe and antelope for meat, and chopping down trees to make charcoal. With fewer trees, desertification loomed. Water was so precious that local cattle herders lit fires at water holes to keep giraffes and zebras from drinking.

The animals had less vegetation to eat and less forest cover. Cutting down trees combined with poaching decimated wildlife in this 500,000-acre swath of the Kasigau migration corridor, which bisects Tsavo, Kenya’s largest national park. Tsavo, roughly the size of Wales, is home to half the country’s estimated 25,000 elephants.

Mercy Ngaruiya, known as Mama Mercy, is a community leader in the village of Itinyi. “People used to come with buckets of meat,” she said. “Everyone was killing animals. People were cutting trees for charcoal. They said, ‘What else are we going to do for money?’”

Against the odds, things have changed. Illegal tree cutting and poaching have fallen significantly. Previously, rangers from Wildlife Works, the local conservation group that initiated the shift, would find 8,000 wire snares in a year. Last year they found fewer than 300.

In 1998 there were no elephants on the 75,000 acres of Rukinga Sanctuary where Wildlife Works is based, said Rob Dodson, vice president of African operations. Now wildlife has returned. One recent evening, a herd of elephants, including babies, gathered at a water hole during a tranquil sunset. As many as 2,000 elephants live in the corridor, depending on the season; so do zebra, giraffe, buffalo, warthogs and several kinds of antelope, from slender dik-diks to impala. Lions had vanished from the area; now there are about 40, including two males seen lounging by a water hole on a hot Friday afternoon.

Illegal activities haven’t been wiped out. In January, seven elephants were poached for ivory. Every week rangers catch people burning trees to produce charcoal. But forest and wildlife in the Kasigau Corridor have been visibly revitalized by conservation efforts. And poaching has dropped. In the last few years, Wildlife Works hired more unarmed local rangers to supplement the Kenyan Wildlife Service, and in 2014 Kenya toughened its poaching laws. Seventy-six elephants were killed for ivory in the area in 2012, in contrast to 21 last year.

The key to preserving wildlife here is human relationships. Impoverished locals need alternatives to poaching and burning. So Wildlife Works has created hundreds of new jobs, including increasing the number of its rangers sevenfold to 85 in the past few years. (Many are former charcoal burners and poachers themselves.) Critically, this expansion won support for conservation from local elders and villagers, and the organization is now their county’s third-largest employer.

This community development work got a much-needed financial lifeline when Wildlife Works started the world’s first REDD+ project in 2011. REDD+, which stands for “reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation,” is an international system to combat climate change by preserving forests. It essentially pays communities in poor countries not to cut down trees.

Three United Nations agencies laid the groundwork for REDD+ in 2008. Gas-guzzling cars are commonly associated with global warming. But deforestation — cutting down trees and releasing the carbon stored in them — contributes 17 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases, more than the global transportation industry.

Preserving this swath of forest in the Kasigau Corridor avoids emitting more than 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide per year for the next 30 years.

Since 2011, Wildlife Works has sold carbon credits and earned millions of dollars shared by landowners, investors, Wildlife Works and the local community. Money for the community finances schools, scholarships, water pipes, reservoirs and other public works that serve 150,000 people. The support was critical for getting the local community to support conservation.

“Now if someone cuts down trees or kills animals, people will report them,” said Mama Mercy.

REDD+ was controversial when it introduced nearly a decade ago. Critics feared fraud, and that the developed world would use carbon credits as an excuse to keep burning fossil fuels instead of curbing them. Supporters said poor countries needed financial incentives to preserve forests rather than cutting them down for fuel, farming and grazing.

At first, locals were also skeptical. Mama Mercy recalled that when people first heard about REDD+ they said, “‘How do we get money from trees? The air? These people are cheating us.’ It was really complicated.”

Educating locals about REDD+ and getting them on board was essential, because REDD+ uses international social auditors to enforce a requirement for informed consent from communities.

From 2009 to 2011, Wildlife Works’ team of local Kenyans met with about 60 elders, chiefs and heads of community councils to explain how the complex project works.

“They thought people were coming to get their land,” said Pascal Kizaka, a retired local chief. “We had to go and talk to them and preach. It took a year and a half to make the people understand.”

Although several tribes live in the area, Swahili is commonly spoken, so language was not a hurdle. Local leaders eventually gave consent to sell carbon credits on behalf of the community.

“People were so desperate,” said Dodson, of Wildife Works. “They had nothing to lose. They said, ‘It sounds mad, but let’s give it a go.’”

The forest was assessed by teams that measured trees in 480 sample plots across Kasigau Corridor. Independent environmental consultants from the United States used analytical software involving 60 algorithms to determine the amount of carbon in the forest.

Results were verified by the environmental audit firms Verified Carbon Standard and Climate, Community and Biodiversity Alliance, both based in Washington. The latter’s social audit includes weeks of meeting with local councils and questioning them independently.

nytimes, amy yee, redd, redd+, climate change, wildlife conservation, forestry conservation

In the early days, critics feared that “carbon credit cowboys” would displace or exploit locals and pocket profits. But setting up and verifying REDD+ is too complicated, expensive and stringent for speculators to make easy money. Rolling out REDD+ cost Wildlife Works about $4 million, each audit costs about $70,000, and verification requires evidence that REDD+ has benefited the community and environment.

The biggest pitfall is managing a multiparty project and building consensus among many community councils. “It’s easy to fail an audit. Getting back on your feet if a project fails is tough,” said Dodson. “Organizationally, it is fraught with danger.”

When Wildlife Works’ REDD+ project was verified, credits were sold on Markit, a London-based financial trading platform. The companies and other organizations that have purchased credits to offset their carbon emissions or fulfill corporate social responsibility policies have included Barclays, BNP Paribas, Allianz, the French postal service La Poste, and Kering, the holding company for Gucci, Saint Laurent and other luxury brands.

Wildlife Works sold $3 million worth of carbon credits in 2012, $2.5 million worth in 2013, and more than $5 million in 2014.

Carbon credit revenues are divided up with one-third going to landowners, roughly another third to Wildlife Works’ projects in Kenya, and the rest divided among the community and Wildlife Works in the United States, including its investors.

Community councils most commonly decide to use their shares for clean water projects or schools.

“People used to go long distances to get water, six kilometers or more,” said 24-year-old Zahira Kastoka, who grew up in Itinyi. Now there are water storage tanks near her home.

“REDD has changed things in so many ways,” she said. Kastoka got a high school scholarship through Wildlife Works, where she now works as an office administrator. Without the grant, her single mother could not have afforded school fees; Kastoka’s older sister had to drop out after fourth grade.

In 1998, few local youths were enrolled in college or in other tertiary institutions; now hundreds are. Over the years, more than 3,200 students have been awarded some $260,000 in high school and higher education scholarships.

For example, Mwolo Muasa, who grew up near Wildlife Works, had to drop out of school after his mother died when he was 10. But a few years later, he got a Wildlife Works scholarship, without which, he says, “I would have ended up a street kid.” Now 29, he helps lead Wildlife Works’ forest plot sampling, having studied environmental science at Kenyatta University in Nairobi.

Carbon credits have also financed precious new jobs. Before REDD, Wildlife Works had 65 employees in 2010. Now it has more than 300 who work in a small garment workshop, greenhouse and tourist lodge and as rangers, mechanics and office staff members. Before carbon credits there were 12 rangers hired from local villages; now the 85-strong force patrols a much larger area.

Wildlife Works was founded in 1997 by Mike Korchinsky, a California-based entrepreneur. While on vacation to Kenya that year, he noticed armed guards aggressively separating wildlife and local people. To create jobs and support the community, he established Rukinga Sanctuary and set up a tourist lodge and clothing workshop with a few employees. Keeping the businesses afloat was difficult.

In 2009, Korchinsky read a magazine article about REDD+ and wondered if Wildlife Works could sell carbon credits. At the time, there was no method with which to measure the carbon in Kasigau’s shrubby drylands forest. So Wildlife Works hired independent environmental consultants to design one.

One challenge today is planning for the future and managing expectations if carbon credit sales slump. In 2015, sales of Wildlife Works’ carbon credits fell to about half that of the previous year. Hesitant buyers were awaiting the outcome of the United Nations’ climate change summit meeting in December.

As a result, there were fewer scholarships. “Some people had to drop out of school,” said Mama Mercy. “Some girls married early. Parents want to educate children but there’s no work.”

“Last year was difficult,” she continued. “We hope this year won’t be the same.”

REDD+ agreements span only 30 years, so it’s uncertain what will happen when the contract expires. Dodson hopes that by then there will be enough economic development and jobs to sustain the community and preserve the forest and wildlife.

Ivo Mulder, the REDD+ green economy adviser for the United Nations Environment Program, said large-scale national initiatives that span entire counties or provinces and better control deforestation are a model for the future.

Worldwide, there are many REDD+ projects. However, the carbon credit market is limited and there are not enough buyers driven by corporate social responsibility. An oversupply of voluntary credits “reduces prices and makes it difficult to make REDD+ projects financially viable,” said Mulder.

Selling carbon credits from large government-backed REDD+ projects to other governments can make a bigger dent in combating global deforestation, though they are complicated to set up.

Nevertheless, the market for carbon credits could grow after 2020, when countries that signed the climate agreement in Paris last December must start reducing emissions. That pact recognizes REDD+ as one way to do that.

Back on the ground in the Kasigau Corridor, this environmental framework has already changed the landscape for flora, fauna and humans alike.

Kizaka, the retired local chief, recalled that big trees sheltering wildlife and cattle were being destroyed every day for charcoal. But now, he said: “If we show you photos before the carbon project and the present situation, the vegetation has changed. It has blossomed.”

From beneath the acacias in the Kenyan bush, one can still see the forest for the trees.

Amy Yee (@amyyeewrites), is a former correspondent for The Financial Times who has written for The New York Times, The Economist, The Wall Street Journal and NPR.

© 2016 The New York Times Company

Multi-Story Farming Conserves Land and Water

Wildlife Works uses Multi-Story Farming as a Conservation Method

Wildlife Works is located in Taita Taveta County, Kenya, a hot and dry coastal region where the average annual rainfall is less than 16 inches per year. These arid conditions are very unfriendly for agriculture, and in an rural area where there is no substantial industry and high poverty rates, these communities have to exploit their surrounding natural resources to survive. With just over 400 employees, we are the second largest employer in the area.

Harmful yet income generating activities that many people resort to include cutting down trees for the illegal charcoal industry and poaching wildlife for bush meat and for commercial purposes.

wildlife works eco charcoalWildlife Works’ eco charcoal 

Wildlife Works’ mission is to provide livelihood alternatives to natural resource destruction. In addition to creating jobs, we built greenhouses to rehabilitate and expand the forests and train the community on sustainable subsistence farming.

wildlife works greenhouseWildlife Works’ first greenhouse

Wildlife Works has been encouraging the community, including women’s groups, youth groups and schools to plant trees by teaching them intensive organic vegetable and fruit tree farming.

wildlife works greenhouse training

The training programs include skills like:

  • how to use drip irrigation to conserve water
  • how to use shade nets to minimize water loss
  • how to repel large insects
  • compost making and its use for soil improvement, as an alternative to commercial fertilizers
  • to use non-chemical methods to control insects
  • to use multi-story farming to achieve maximize land use and water conservation

wildlife works greenhouseConstruction of the new greenhouse at Bungule in Kasigau for local women groups use. 

Multi-story Farming

Multi-story farming promotes the efficient use of land and water by growing plants vertically, instead of using the conventional horizontal ground farming method.

The method is useful in places:

  • where land is scarce or too expensive
  • where people want to minimize forest and bush clearing for agricultural land expansion
  • that have rocky ground
  • where water is scarce
  • that have soggy soil
  • that use aeroponics or another non-soil growing method

multi story farming wildlife works

Multi-story Farming Method Advantages

Multi-story farming has many advantages. It conserves forests and other vegetation, as communities cultivate less land than they would with conventional farming methods. They may also be able to reduce already cultivated areas. In addition, less water is required as water flows vertically, irrigating other plants, instead of soaking deep and out of the root zone, as often happens with conventional farming. The polythene net in the multi-story design smothers weeds, therefore, the amount of labor required is reduced. Other than the irrigation system, which is available in Nairobi, all materials are available in the immediate vicinity of the Wildlife Works community vicinity. Furthermore, with an effective fencing system, multi-story farming minimizes human-wildlife conflict by reducing animal territory encroachment.

wildlife works multi story greenhouse

Impact on Households

Multi-story farming positively impacts households by improving agricultural productivity and increasing income. It improves agricultural productivity by approximately 500 percent. For example, kale yield is approximately 8,000 kg per acre with conventional farming methods, but a multi-story system can yield approximately 40,000 kg per acre.

By yielding more vegetables, a multi-story gardening system can increase household income.

wildlife works multi story greenhouse

Future plans

In the near future, Wildlife Works plans to roll out multi-story farming within the community. It will start in areas where Carbon Trust water catchment and reservoirs have been built. It is investigating water conservation irrigation methods efficient enough to enable irrigation at even higher elevations, to further increase land-use efficiency. We also plan to introduce a wider variety of crops and test various growing media other than soil, such as coco, peat and algae.

This progress is not without challenges which including high production costs (because of the need for wildlife fencing), literacy rates, water availability and natural threats to organic plants. Wildlife Works is pushing to combat all of the challenges in order to successfully introduce improved farming methods to the larger community.

We look forward to rolling out this program on a larger scale, bringing more benefits to farming families in the area.

Great Grevy’s Rally – Grevy Zebra Cencus Count

On January the 30th and 31st 2016, the “Great Grevy’s Rally” was held in Kenya. This was designed to give an overall estimate of population of the Grevy’s zebra in Kenya, as well as to help researchers calculate potential growth.

The GrĂ©vy’s zebra (Equus grevyi), also known as the imperial zebra, is the largest extant wild equid and the largest and most threatened of the three species of zebra, the other two being the plains zebra and the mountain zebra. Named after Jules GrĂ©vy, it is the sole extant member of the subgenus Dolichohippus. The GrĂ©vy’s zebra is found in Kenya and Ethiopia. Compared with other zebras, it is tall, has large ears, and its stripes are narrower. Source: Wikipedia

Grevy Zebra

Current estimates put the total population of Grevy’s Zebra remaining in the wild in Kenya and Ethiopia at approximately 1,966 to 2,447 (2008). From 1988 to 2007, the global population of Grevy’s Zebra declined approximately 55%. The worse case scenario is a decline from 1980 to 2007 of 68%. The number of mature individuals is approximately 750, and the largest subpopulation is approximately 255 mature individuals.

In Kenya, the Grevy’s Zebra population declined from an estimated 4,276 in 1988 to 2435-2707 in 2000 to 1567-1976 in 2004 to an estimated population size of 1468-2135 in 2006. In 2007, the population estimate of 1838-2319 indicates that either more individuals were being accurately observed or that the population is stabilizing and increasing (2007). The trend from 1988 to 2006 (18 years) is a decline of 50 to 66%.

In Ethiopia, Grevy’s Zebra declined from an estimated 1,900 in 1980 to 577 in 1995. In 2006, the population in Ethiopia was estimated to be 128. The trend from 1980 to 2003 (23 years) is a decline of roughly 94%. 

The density and area of occupancy of Grevy’s Zebras fluctuates seasonally as animals move in their search for resources. During the dry season, when they are dependent on permanent water, animals tend to be more concentrated. However, given that they can move up to 35 km from water even during the dry season, their densities are never high. They are most abundant and most easily observed in the southern portion of their range in southern Samburu and the Laikipia Plateau. Source: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species

Grevy Zebra Kenya Wildlife Works

The count was mostly carried out in Northern Kenya, however the smaller satellite population in the Tsavo Conservation Area (TCA) was also included. 

The areas in the TCA that Grevy’s zebra are found are located in the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project area. Four teams from Wildlife Works, made up of 6 rangers, divided up the zones where there have been known sightings of the Grevy’s. The count took place over two days, beginning at 06.30hrs and finishing at 16.30hrs each day.

Each team had to photograph the right hand side only, of any Zebra individual they found. The photos were GPS tagged to clearly show the location of each animal and will then be processed by the Image Based Ecological Information System (IBEIS), which will identify the individual and its age and sex, and will record the observational time and location. The IBEIS results will estimate the size of the Grevy’s zebra population throughout Kenya.  

In total the teams found 13 individuals over the course of three days. This may sound like very few, but given the species rarity (estimated only 50 individuals in this area) and the thick bush and green conditions, we think that was quite an achievement in itself! 

All the results have now been submitted to the Grevy’s Trust for final analysis, and inclusion into the overall census. The results of the population of Kenya’s Grevy’s zebra should soon be published.

Thank you to all the Wildlife Works rangers who took part!  

Enterprising Women Empower Change

Tumaini Environmental Women’s Group’s Founder Mama Mercy Drive Change in Her Community

Women’s groups provide essential and powerful support systems for the poorest communities in developing counties. By supporting these organizations in the communities we serve, Wildlife Works has seen tremendous growth in the financial and general health of these communities.

mama Mercy Wildlife Works

The Tumaini Environmental Women’s Group and its founder Mama Mercy is a shining example of how women can drive change. In the village of Itinyi, Mercy Ngaruiya, known as Mama Mercy in the community, has been helping women in her community out of the cycle of poverty for decades. She is known as one of the community’s most enterprising women! Because of this, we have hosted her to speak at conservation events all around the world to represent the voice of her community.

mama Mercy Wildlife WorksBefore starting Tumaini, there were almost no trees in this area.

After leaving the management of another women’s group for which she was a founding member, Mama Mercy started Tumaini in 2011 with the goal to restore the landscape and give women other forms of income that supported the environment. With the help of Wildlife Works Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project, Mama Mercy received a donation of seedlings and was sent on a two-week training program. Along with her years of experience leading women, Mama Mercy came back revitalized and equipped to set up Tumaini (“we hope” in Swahili) Environmental Women’s Group for success!

mama Mercy Wildlife Works

Today, one of the groups’ income activities is selling indigenous seedlings that the women propagated to Wildlife Works. Wildlife Works then looks after the seedlings in the greenhouse until they are large enough to survive a dry season, at which point they are given out to the community to be planted.

mama Mercy Wildlife Works Table banking

The women also work together to find non-governmental organizations to fund women who have specific and urgent needs. For example, a widow in the community needed a home, so the group was able to secure funding from Camp Kenya to find her one.

Tumaini also participates in tabletop banking (similar to Chamas and Merry-Go-Round banking) where members pool in their own money to offer individual members loans with interest paid back to the lenders. This community-based loan system has been growing in popularity, many times over bank-sponsored micro-loans. Mercy had learned about tabletop banking through World Vision, who had sent her to community training sessions. Mercy decided to start tabletop banking within the group, after seeking a loan herself, which she found to be much more accessible than going to a bank.

For example, in order to obtain a 40,000 Kenya Shilling loan (USD400), from the bank in Voi, the nearest town 30 kilometers away, she was told her that she would need someone to co-sign for her. The round-trip cost to Voi for her and another person would be 1,000 Kenyan Shillings, or USD10. And, she would have to pay the bank 12% interest. She could not afford these fees, and neither could other women in need of loans. Pooling money amongst the community and paying themselves 10% interest seemed like a much better option.

mama Mercy Wildlife Works Table banking

Initially, the women were hesitant to borrow money for fear that they would not be able to repay it. Mercy encouraged the women to borrow, because the group relied on interest to make a profit. Fast-forward five years, women want to borrow increasingly more money and the group now lends as much as it has available.

At the December 2015 meeting, the co-op received repayment for loans in the amount of $2,440.15. The women are using the loans to pay for their children’s school fees, to buy groceries, and to fund their small businesses. They have bought seedlings for their gardens, chickens to produce eggs to sell, provisions for small grocery stores, and materials for making baskets and crafts.

wildlife works table banking

In 2015, each co-op member contributed approximately $26.40, or $2.20 per month. From that amount, two dollars funds co-op lending and 20 cents is allocated for insurance.  If someone from the co-op passes away, the insurance covers their outstanding loan and the financial burden does not fall on the family.

mama Mercy Wildlife Works Table banking

All group members receive the same dividend once a year.  During their meeting in December, the co-op distributed $1,500 in dividends.  Each woman received $50, or a net profit of $23.60, 91 percent of their initial investment. They also received staples to prepare Christmas meals, such as five kilograms of flour, rice, and sugar, and five liters of oil, all bought from the co-op profits.

mama Mercy Wildlife Works Table banking

Tumaini Women’s Environmental Group limits their number of members to 30 but the demand to join is higher so they have trained 18 other groups on how to start tabletop banking.

Because of Mama Mercy’s leadership, vision and dedication, so many more women in her community now have more resources to build brighter futures!

Watch her tell her story here:

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About Wildlife Works Carbon:

Wildlife Works is the world’s leading REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), project development and management company with an effective approach to applying innovative market based solutions to the conservation of biodiversity. REDD+ was originated by the United Nations (UN) to help stop the destruction of the world’s forests.

Over a 15 year history Wildlife Works established a successful model that uses the emerging marketplace for REDD+ Carbon Offsets to protect threatened forests, wildlife, and communities.

The company helps local landowners in the developing world monetize their forest and biodiversity assets whether they are governments, communities, ownership groups, or private individuals.

Completion of Much Needed Rainwater Catchment Tank

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On December 8, the village of Buguta, and six surrounding villages, celebrated the transfer of the Kula Kila rainwater catchment tank to the community. Wildlife Works installed the tank, which was funded by ASOS Foundation, the foundation arm to ASOS, a fashion client of SOKO, which is a partner factory located in our sanctuary. The tank, engineered for water collection ease, has greatly enhanced the villagers’ lives.

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Women from the seven villages started off the festivities with a traditional dance called Girama. The ward’s administer, a member of the county assembly, village elders from the seven villages, Wildlife Works representatives, and a SOKO Trust representative spoke at the dedication ceremony.

The Kula Kila catchment is on a large, natural rock outcrop, above Buguta village. The rock portion that is utilized is approximately one hectare in area. This area was cleared of loose soil and sand, and small guide walls were built around the edge of the rock face. These guide walls catch the rainwater run-off, and channel it to a central collection point at the lowest point of the rock face. The water then passes through a settling tank, where grains of sand or silt can settle, before being fed through pipes to storage tanks. Each tank holds 250,000 liters of water. From the tanks there is an outlet pipe leading to taps, from which community members can fill water containers.

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 1.08.52 PMScreen Shot 2015-12-17 at 1.09.11 PM

Providing water to these communities, in a central location, saves women and children considerable time walking to a clean water source, which has enabled the community to increase agricultural productivity, improve education, create improved and safer housing, and enhance health.

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Prior to the installment of the water catchment system, villagers were walking up to 20 kilometers to fetch water or buying water from water trucks. Now, they walk up to 1.5 kilometers to the tank. Mary Mghendi, Kula Kila Water Project Committee Chairman, spoke of benefits that the tank provides the community. She said quicker access to water frees villagers’ time to do more farming. Children now spend more time studying and less time fetching water. Due to greater water availability, villagers have begun creating sturdier and safer housing made of bricks, instead of traditional thatch. Brick houses are more durable, cooler in the hot season, and safer because they are not as flammable. Fewer people are getting sick from waterborne diseases, which are commonly derived from dirty well water.

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 1.09.40 PM

The ceremony ended with Wildlife Works staff, a Member of the County Assembly (MCA), Abraham Juma, and a member of the community cutting the ribbon and planting trees. The villagers were greatly appreciative of ASOS Foundation’s contribution to their community, which has improved their quality of life in numerous ways.

Since 2011, Wildlife Works Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project has completed a total of 10 water projects serving over 26,000 community members.

An Apology to Future Generations: Wildlife Works and Stand for Trees Partner with Prince EA

It is our sincere pleasure to announce that Prince Ea, an American rapper and spoken word artist, has partnered with Stand for Trees on a new video that was released this morning.

Prince Ea’s work touches on social, political and educational topics and has inspired millions of people around the world to think and act on positive collective evolution. Now, Prince Ea is urging his fans to take action on the most pressing issue of our time – climate change. His latest video, “Dear Future Generations: Sorry” is a tribute to the future generations to whom we leave our planet and a reminder that how we treat our earth today matters.

Last month, Prince Ea traveled to Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to visit Wildlife Works’ pioneering REDD+ projects that demonstrate a successful way to stop deforestation by rewarding forest communities who conserve their forests, inspiring him to write this piece.

Founded by Code REDD, Stand for Trees is a first-of-its-kind consumer campaign that uses the power of social media and crowdfunding to enable everyone to take real and effective action to reduce deforestation and curb climate change. Each time we purchase a Stand for Trees Certificate, we do a tonne of good because each Certificate prevents one metric tonne of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere, all while preserving threatened forests, protecting wildlife, and empowering communities.

To help spread this message, we need YOUR help. Please help us share this video via social media to ensure support for the REDD+ mechanism continues to grow and thrive.As we approach the world’s twenty-first year of international climate change negotiations, it has never been more critical for citizens to begin demanding and building climate action. That is exactly why Prince Ea has teamed up with Stand For Trees to create an unprecedented reflection on the consequences of our climate inaction, and an inspired vision of collective change.

Trees stand for us, it’s time to stand for trees!

Wildlife Works to Participate in Cap COP21 Events in Paris

Cap COP21

COP21 in December 2015 will be a unique opportunity to bring climate change to the main stage.

EcoAct, a partner of Wildlife Works in climate change mitigation, has organized Cap COP21, a unique year-long cycle of conferences and workshops, which aims to foster the emergence of concrete, innovative and collaborative solutions for climate. Wildlife Works is proud to be a speaker and sponsor of these events events.

Joseph Mwakima, Wildlife Works Community Relations Officer and resident of the Kasigau Corridor project region, will be speaking at the Climate Innovation Day event on June 23, 2015 during the “Climate Talks” presentations. Joseph spoke on behalf of Wildlife Works at the One Young World Summit last year and had everyone inspired. Check out his speech here.

Wildlife Works Founder and President, Mike Korchinsky, will be speaking at the conference debate, a COP21 side event, in December 2015.

To learn more about the events and to register, please visit the Cap COP21 website.

* * * * * * * * *

About Wildlife Works Carbon:

Wildlife Works is the world’s leading REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), project development and management company with an effective approach to applying innovative market based solutions to the conservation of biodiversity. REDD+ was originated by the United Nations (UN) to help stop the destruction of the world’s forests.

Over a 15 year history Wildlife Works established a successful model that uses the emerging marketplace for REDD+ Carbon Offsets to protect threatened forests, wildlife, and communities.

The company helps local landowners in the developing world monetize their forest and biodiversity assets whether they are governments, communities, ownership groups, or private individuals.

Project Impacts of 2014

Congo Basin Forest Canopy

Wildlife Works thanks the corporate leaders that contributed to 2014’s success of more than double that of our REDD+ projects in 2013. Here we look back at the impacts on the ground in 2014.

Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project, Kenya

Project Impact Report_2014_for web_Kasigau

 

Mai Ndombe REDD+ Project, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Project Impact Report_2014_for web Mai Ndombe

ASOS Invests in their Supply Chain Community, Putting their Money Where their Bottom Line is

ASOS Africa’s line is not only inspired by Africa but is also produced in Africa. ASOS has been working with our production partner, cut-and-sew house SOKO-Kenya, for over four years now. The international fashion company’s commitment to working in Kenya (and in other sustainable ways) has paid off; sales from their green line grow with each collection, which has allowed ASOS to invest deeper in their supply chain community. Asos Africa

As a result of ASOS’s continued orders, SOKO-Kenya was able to expand their small coast-side factory into Wildlife Work’s production site in the Kenyan bush located between Tsavo East and West National parks. With our combined resources, we are able to better support both our clients and our surrounding community. Seeing the impact of their orders to sustain jobs in a poverty-stricken area, The ASOS Foundation became interested in donating to the Kasigau communities to maximize their benefaction in 2013. With the help of Wildlife Works’ and our deep relationships with our community leaders, ASOS has been able to effectively and directly put money into areas of most need.

Bughule polytechnic

Bughule polytechnic

 

The ASOS Foundation’s first donation totaled Ksh 124,755 (US $1,430) and was put towards the renovation of Bungule Youth Polytechnic (BYP) in April 2013. The money was designated primarily for the renovation of doors, roofs, windows, door locks, wall paintings, as well as workshop equipment. A later donation of Ksh 1,227,280 (US $14,000) was then allocated for the building of office furniture and beds, construction of a water tank, installation of electricity and electrical wiring, and teachers’ salaries. These renovations were essential to providing a safe and comfortable environment for the students and teachers to further their education goals.

Bughuta Secondary

The ASOS Foundation then provided Ksh 224,825 (US $ 2,580) for the construction of 50 chairs and 50 lockers to the Bughuta Secondary School

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The biggest donation, however, went towards the construction of the Kula Kila Rock Catchment in Kasigau location. For this project the ASOS Foundation donated Ksh 5,777,269 (US $66,200) for the excavation of the site, construction of catchment walls and a 250,000 liter water tank! This project has been an incredible success and will result in a great improvement for the life of the communities.

Kula Kila water catchment funded by ASOS Foundation

 

 

 

 

Water is a very scarce resource in this semi-arid environment, but through the new water catchment, communities are able to harvest the rainwater for use in dry spells. During this year’s rains, the tank has already filled up twice, and we hope it will continue to do so. The latest donation representing the most direct investment in their supply chain in Kenya, was to SOKO’s own charitable trust to open the ASOS-Foundation-sponsored new Stitching Academy, which opened its doors in Maungu in June 2014.

ASOS Foundation Stitching Academy with Soko-Kenya

ASOS Foundation Stitching Academy with Soko-Kenya

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With an ever-increasing need for qualified seamstresses, the Stitching Academy is a sewing training facility that offers a 2-month training course to 10 people at a cost of Ksh 3,000 (US $34.00). The curriculum has been designed in-house and will provide students with the technical skills required for the garment manufacturing industry hence improving students’ chances of securing employment and/or setting up small enterprises of their own.

ASOS Foundation Stitching Academy

ASOS Foundation Stitching Academy

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOKO put the word out amongst the local community earlier this year and held numerous interviews in May. Twenty-four men and women attended this recruitment process, amongst which SOKO selected the first 10 students. SOKO held an official opening ceremony on the 19th June at the Stitching Academy’s site in Maungu, together with three official visitors from ASOS. Joanna Maiden, SOKO’s founder and Director, is extremely excited about this new project and sees this as having an empowering impact on the local communities. It is planned to hold four courses per year, with the next course due to begin in September this year. We applaud ASOS for producing against the tide of fast fashion. Their sustainable supply chain strategy has proven to align with their profit goals and their customers are responding.

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About Wildlife Works Carbon:

Wildlife Works is the world’s leading REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), project development and management company with an effective approach to applying innovative market based solutions to the conservation of biodiversity. REDD+ was originated by the United Nations (UN) to help stop the destruction of the world’s forests.

Over a 15 year history Wildlife Works established a successful model that uses the emerging marketplace for REDD+ Carbon Offsets to protect threatened forests, wildlife, and communities.

The company helps local landowners in the developing world monetize their forest and biodiversity assets whether they are governments, communities, ownership groups, or private individuals.

WHAT IS WILDLIFE WORKS?

Protecting + Forests + Wildlife + Community since 1997.

Wildlife Works is the world's leading REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation), project development and management company with an effective approach to applying innovative market based solutions to the conservation of biodiversity. REDD+ was originated by the United Nations (UN) to help stop the destruction of the world's forests.