From Trees to Communities - Old Bonjoge Forest

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veritree

October 6, 2023

In 2022, veritree forged a new partnership with EarthLungs Reforestation, a not-for-profit organization that partners with Kenyan communities to rehabilitate, reforest, conserve, and protect degraded forest land back to healthy indigenous forest ecosystems.

 

This past November, our team travelled to Kenya to meet with EarthLungs representatives and local community members, and to survey prospective planting sites for veritree. During our time there we visited Old Bonjoge Forest, a prospective site, and woodland near Kisumu City that serves as a key watershed, providing drinking water for the neighbouring communities. Sadly, much of Old Bonjoge Forest has been cleared and overharvested, leaving it largely exposed and overrun with invasive species. 

 

On their journey over to the forest, the team came across a river crossing. A river that is required, by many community members, to be crossed daily to access the town, school, and markets. With its fast current, it is incredibly dangerous to navigate this river at high tide, not to mention during the rainy season where it becomes outright treacherous. It was then that the team learned that in the past two months alone (in dry season we might add), five members had been swept away by the current, one of whom died. 

 

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When looking at tentree and veritree’s platforms and missions, it is easy to see the trees and the impact they are making to ecosystems, wildlife habitats, and our climate. But what we often overlook is the socio-economic impacts we are having in communities. Beyond access to clean water, these projects provide stable employment and income opportunities, access to technology, education, and safety.  

 

Thanks to the support of our Corporate Partners,  we’ve been able to invest in two vital restoration projects with EarthLungs Reforestation, including the reforestation of Old Bonjoge Forest. As a result, the community has since been able to invest in some much-needed new infrastructure, including a brand-new bridge that crosses this very river. When talking about forests, ecologists often talk about connectivity and connecting landscapes. In this case, this project has also helped provide connection for the communities across the river.

 

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As our partnership with EarthLungs Reforestation progresses, we look forward to watching our collective impacts grow – beyond the trees in the ground, we’ll be looking for impacts to nature, wildlife, and community well-being. 

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