Category Archives: Water

Agriculture Mentor Program for Local Community Groups

Wildlife Works runs an organic greenhouse on-site at our Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project in Kenya. Here, we raise indigenous tree seedlings that we donate to the community to help reforestation efforts as well as test growing techniques for local growing conditions. One of our main objectives is to run tours and training for anyone who wants to learn alternative methods for growing in the semi-arid, drought conditions of the Tsavo region.

Some of the best practice growing methods we teach include water conservation through techniques such as vertical farming (where water trickles vertically down a pod watering more plants rather than draining away into the soil) and introducing people to crops that grow suitably in the local soil and with minimal water. Through this training, we hope to encourage activities that reduce reliance on traditional slash and burn agriculture and assist with water conservation.

In the past year, Wildlife Works has expanded this agriculture mentoring work into supporting several local women’s groups in setting up their own greenhouses within surrounding communities. Two new community greenhouses are now up and running in the villages of Marungu and Bungule where women are growing tomatoes, spinach, beans and more to sell. Wildlife Works’ role was in managing arrangements with suppliers, advising on crop planning and best practice, providing labor for and supervising the building process, nurturing seedlings for planting, and, in the Bungule village case, securing funding.

greeenhouseGeorge Thumbi, Wildlife Works Greenhouse Manager, helps install irrigation

greenhouseWildlife Works employee connects a water barrel on site

greenhouseCompleted greenhouse in the village of Bungule

greenhouseGeorge advising local women on best practice growing techniques

This work is part of Wildlife Works’ efforts to increase the capacity of local communities for self-sufficiency and get them away from depleting the forest.


* * * * * * * * *

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.

ASOS Foundation Continues to Fund Wildlife Work’s Community

Wildlife Works partners with ASOS, a large online retailer in Europe that produces with our affiliate factory SOKO, to implement ASOS Foundation funded initiatives in Kenya. Two local development projects that have recently been completed by this partnership are the construction of a water pipeline and the making of lockers and chairs for Buguta Secondary School in Taita Taveta County, Kenya.

asos foundation buguta wildlife works

The ASOS Foundation has funded the construction of 5.7 km of pipeline to supply clean drinking water for domestic and human consumption to 150 households in the town of Mackinnon Road. The water originates from Mzima Springs in Tsavo National Park West, Kenya. The water pipeline project is managed by a local community based organization (CBO). The pipeline provides access to drinking water for the residents of Mackinnon who previously had to carry water long distances, limiting time available to individuals for education or work.

asos buguta wildlife works

The ASOS Foundation is also funding a classroom expansion and supplying new classroom equipment for Buguta Secondary School. Last year, they funded the construction of an assembly hall for the school that is now being remodeled into a classroom to accommodate growing numbers of students.

ASOS is also providing the necessary additional classroom equipment, 100 lockers and 100 chairs, which are being handmade by local craftsmen in the Wildlife Works workshop. More students have been added in the school, the learning environment is now conducive and teachers have enough space to walk in all corners of class during the lessons.

While the ASOS Foundation was the funder, Wildlife Works implemented both of these projects on the ground, using their local knowledge and expertise. ASOS Foundation has previously funded additional projects in the area, including a water catchment project at Kula Kila.

* * * * * * * * *

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.


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.

Completion of Much Needed Rainwater Catchment Tank

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 1.08.09 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 1.08.39 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2015-12-17 at 1.08.59 PM

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.

Finding Solution to Water shortages along Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project

Recent erratic weather patterns from climate change have made water even scarcer for Kenya’s dessert savanna landscape. The past few years have brought droughts and water shortages. Due to lack of water access in impoverished and rural communities, poor hygiene related illnesses and conditions are the root cause of many afflictions in these towns. Additionally, many girls are forced to miss school and are vulnerable to sexual assault by traversing at night or in remote areas to fetch water.

Women carrying 20 litres of water at Sasenyi Rock Catchment before improvements:

Along the Kasigau REDD+ Corridor, the responsibility of finding and fetching water for their families falls on the women and children. All the water they need for drinking, washing, cooking, cleaning, and livestock are collected by carrying heavy water jugs for miles both ways. The journey and queue up can take an entire day, which is a day’s earnings lost, or a day’s school missed. The work is back-breaking and all-consuming.

A woman with a baby climb the rocky hill to fetch water on Sasenyi Rock Catchment before renovation.

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 3.46.08 PM

One of Wildlife Works’ top community development priorities is increasing water access. The best local strategies include renovating water rock catchment that store water in a small depressions during rains, building water tanks, improving water harvesting with gutter systems in hospitals and schools, digging water dams, and renovating water chambers in piping extensions.

For example, the Sasenyi Rock water catchment project that Wildlife Works enhanced in 2012 allowed water collection through a tap at the bottom of the rocky slopes. Before, women had to climb up the steep, rocky hill and descend it carrying a 20-liter jug full of water.

Renovation of Sasenyi Rock Water Catchment:

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 3.46.31 PMScreen Shot 2015-01-27 at 3.46.41 PM

These upgrades now ensure that the 630m3 of water capacity in this catchment is not gone to waste from the physical stresses of treading the hill. This catchment serves an estimated 4000 people, who democratically elected a water committee to serve as the liaison between the community and Wildlife Works, facilitate the hygiene education program, and manage the community schedule for maintenance.

Sasenyi Rock Water Catchment Tap requires no rock climbing!:

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 3.46.50 PM

In January of 2015, the Wildlife Works community team made a visit to another water project we lead; a dam we built in October 2014 in the community of Kisimenyi and Bughuta villages in the Kasigau area.

County Assembly Members, Wildlife Works and community members gather to hand over the dam to the people of Kisimenyi Village:

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 4.01.00 PM

The water that was collected from the short but heavy rains between October and December 2014 is estimated to last the community for the next four months until it is expected to rain again. The Wildlife Works team monitors the use, production, condition and impact of the safe water to the community.

Wildlife works tractor building Mighoa dam at Kasigau location:

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 3.59.49 PM

Laurian Lenjo, Wildlife Works community manager was proud to say, “There has been tangible results from the improved water access to the community. After many conversations with different families and community members, we can report that there has been an increase of girls’ school attendance, level of education and literacy rates, because they no longer need to miss school to secure water for their families. They also feel safer from sexual assault, as women and girls do not have to go to remote places to eliminate or to fetch water during the night. There has also been a reduction of physical injury to women from constant lifting and carrying heavy loads of water from far distances.”

The demand amount of water in this region generally is high and there is still a big need to continue improving water access solutions for the communities in our REDD+ project area. The table below shows the most recent water project we have completed.

Year Project Location Community served
2014 Mighoa water dam Kasigau 3000
2012 Jora water tank Kasigau 2000
2012 Sasenyi rock catchment Marungu 4000
2014 Jombo water project,pipe extension and tanks Mwachabo 1800
2013 Renovation of water chambers: pipe extension and tank Mwachabo 4000
2012 Roof catchment and tanks Maili Kumi Primary School Mwatate 600 – 800
2014 10000 litre water tank Marungu Primary School Marungu 600 – 800
2014 Kisimenyi Water pan Kasigau 2000
2012 Marungu dispensary water Gatering system Marungu 1000
2012 Makwasinyi water tank Kasigau 2000

Maili Kumi primary school students standing infront of a water tank made by wildlife works to their school:

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 4.01.17 PM

Gutter system at Maili Kumi Primary School in Mwatate:

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 4.08.15 PM

Ngangu water project where the water sourced from springs in the Taita forest:

Screen Shot 2015-01-27 at 4.01.47 PM

The Efficiency of Carbon Credits: Wildlife Works’ REDD Project Gives Hope to Families in Kasigau

Only someone who has never witnessed first-hand the plight of a developing nation would dispute the effectiveness of carbon credits. According to a report by the UN-REDD Programme, deforestation and degradation of forestlands account for more than 20% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, second only to the transport sector. Forest communities that lack an alternative source of income are forced to decimate the surrounding environment and wildlife to make a living. But what if they were empowered to conserve forests instead of destroy them?

Community members fetching water from the Sasenyi Rock Catchment after the official opening of the rock catchment

Community members fetching water from the Sasenyi Rock Catchment after its official opening

The Wildlife Works REDD+ Carbon Project in Kasigau, Kenya, exemplifies the role that carbon credits play in combating global warming and ensuring a safer existence for humans, wildlife, and the land that they both inhabit.

A view of Mt. Kasigau which is the main landmark feature in our REDD Project Area

The Sasenyi Rock Catchment

A view of Mt. Kasigau which is the main landmark feature in our REDD Project Area

A view of Mt. Kasigau, the main landmark in our REDD Project Area

Wildlife Works protects over 500,000 acres of forested land in the Kasigau Corridor. If left unprotected, this region would become deforested in less than 30 years. Prior to Wildlife Works’ presence in the area, the community relied heavily on unsustainable exploitation of the land for its livelihood. Logging, charcoal burning and clearing of forestland for tilling were common practice. With the emergence of WW and the subsequent placement of a majority of the property under the Wildlife Works Carbon Trust, the community has continued to reap benefits from their land in a more profitable and sustainable manner.

 Laurian Lenjo, the Community Relations Officer with members of community during the official opening of the Ngangu Water Project in Mwatate Location

Laurian Lenjo, the Community Relations Officer, with community members during the official opening of the Ngangu Water Project in Mwatate

One of the longest surviving chiefs in the area, Pascal Kizaka, claims that the Wildlife Works REDD Project has played a major role in the survival of forests around the Kasigau Corridor.

“I am a first-hand witness of the benefits that placing our land under the REDD+ Project has brought my community. Our children are going to schools built from carbon credits, our women are fetching water from water tanks funded through the sale of carbon credits and our older sons and daughters have been employed by the organization,” Chief Kizaka says.

Girls from Kajire Secondary School Performing a traditional folk song during the official opening of Mchang’a Preschool in Sagalla location

Girls from Kajire Secondary School Performing a traditional folk song during the official opening of Mchang’a Preschool in Sagalla

Thanks to carbon credits, the Kasigau Community has become a model of accomplishment, not only to the threatened landscape in Africa but also to the rare wildlife that inhabits it. The project effectively secures a migration corridor for wildlife roaming between the Tsavo East and the Tsavo West National Park.

The Makwasinyi Water Tank in Kasigau Location

The Makwasinyi Water Tank in Kasigau

Laurian Lenjo and Joseph Mwakima handing a school fees cheque to a pupil and his parent in Mackinnon Location

Laurian Lenjo and Joseph Mwakima handing a school fees check to a pupil and parent in Mackinnon

A third of all the proceeds from the sale of carbon credits harvested in the project area directly benefit the community, which decides how the proceeds will be used. They invest in community infrastructure such as building of schools, hospitals, water tanks and allocation of scholarships to disadvantaged children in the community.

In the past year alone, the community has used proceeds from carbon credits to fund more than 1,000 students to pursue secondary and post-secondary education, construct classrooms in more than 10 schools and develop other community projects.

Additionally, the Wildlife Works REDD Project provides both direct and indirect employment to the community, thus helping to alleviate the main cause of forest degradation: poverty. Young adults around the project area have been employed as wildlife rangers, agriculturalists, seamstresses, and drivers and in various other activities in and around the project area.

Pupils at Mwakasinyi Primary School reading in a classroom constructed through funding from the sale of carbon credits

Pupils at Mwakasinyi Primary School reading in a classroom constructed through funding from the sale of carbon credits

The United Nations Environmental Programme REDD team recently came to Wildlife Works for a site visit and left us with these encouraging words:

“The work that you are doing is pioneering and very impressive in terms of its impact on local communities and conservation. The visit has provided a useful ‘reality check’ for our work, and provided our team with new motivation to further consolidate the business case for REDD+ at global and national level; to enhance private sector engagement; and to advise countries on social and environmental safeguards, and on the multiple benefits to be derived from successful REDD+ implementation.”

Tim Christophersen,  Senior Programme Officer, Forests and Climate Change at UNEP

By shifting focus from the carbon perspective and taking a closer look at empowering communities through the UN-REDD Programme, REDD+ and other similar programs, we can begin to appreciate why carbon offsetting is one of the most effective methods to combat global warming.


Not a drop to drink: Building water tanks in arid lands

For the people of the Kasigau area where our Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary is located, a normal day involves walking many miles to collect or purchase clean water. With urbanization and changes in lifestyles, water consumption is increasing at a tremendous rate. Kasigau is considered an ASAL (arid and semi-arid land), where water shortages are the norm. The lack of clean water leads to unhealthy living situations, forcing humans and wildlife to drink contaminated water, which can lead to water-born diseases.

Our conservation strategy that falls under the REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) carbon offset marketplace includes the implementation of community improvement projects that aim to ameliorate these rural community challenges.

For those unfamiliar with our unique approach to REDD, money collected from the sale of the carbon offset credits that we produce goes back into the rural communities who have committed to protecting their environment and wildlife. The money is used to create sustainable jobs that give residents alternatives to destroying forests and wildlife for their basic survival needs. These jobs support improvements to education, environment, health and provide other forms of sustainable work.

When the people of Kasigau and five other locations around our project area heard about REDD and how this project could help their communities, the message was difficult for people to believe, but they decided to give it the benefit of the doubt and haven’t regretted it since. The local communities enjoy additional support for women groups, better job opportunities and growth, more education scholarships and overall local commerce growth from the increased job opportunities.

Early last year residents started offering proposals for the various community improvement projects they wanted to see carried out. Each village was allocated one third of the carbon credit money that is normally set aside for community improvement, just so long as the proposal is within REDD project mandates. Most locations issued similar proposals, all of which indicated a need for water.

The process of proposal verification requires a lot of time and research to determine feasibility, and many community members began to feel anxious that the water projects were not going to happen. The people of Makwasinyi in particular began to lose hope, as their old water tank was cracked and unusable, forcing them to travel very far from home for water.

To everyone’s relief, construction on the water tank projects began last month and we’re happy to say the one in Makwasinyi is already finished and ready for use!


The new water tank.

Ms. Zige, a mother of one, said she is so happy to have water just next to her house. She explained the situation Makwasinyi, saying, “When we gave the proposal of a water tank, we thought that it will never happen… We continued to use the old one but since it had a lot of cracks, all the water that was being pumped in would pour out and this would force us to go out and look for water very far from our home… Now I lack words to express my gratitude to Wildlife Works.”

The old, cracked water tank

The old and new tanks, side by side.

In addition to the water tanks, Wildlife Works has signed over many more community projects to contractors, and we are ready to start construction on a new classroom at the Mwatate Seconday School building, water storage tanks at the Maili Kumi Primary School and furniture for the students at Moi High School including new chairs, bunk beds and lockers.

As we continue our work to protect forests and wildlife, we will also continue improving living conditions for the members of our community. We are so grateful for our supporters, our staff members and everyone who believes in the power of REDD!


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.