ROTARY TREE PLANTING IN EAST AFRICA
Sustainable Global Gardens began planting trees in Tanzania in 2007. Our earliest efforts were on a small scale with 4,500 planted in the grounds of Soni Seminary in the Usambaras and about 900 planted around Mengwe village, Rombo District on the eastern slopes of Kilimanjaro. There are many reasons for planting trees. At Soni the planted trees provide protection against soil erosion on steep slopes as well as a source of future income & fuelwood. At Mengwe the first focus was on planting valuable indigenous species e.g. Melicia excelsa [Mvule ]
Students at Soni Seminary receive trees for planting in school grounds. Most of these were Grevillea robusta, a multi-purpose tree suitable for protection against soil erosion.The trees were planted on a very steep slope where the soil had no cover.
Some early planting was to promote indigenous species. This was the first Mvule [Milicia excelsa] which SGG helped plant in Rombo District.
Planting on Kilimanjaro and in West Kenya established the advantages of agroforestry for small scale farmers where trees can provide fruits for improving nutrition, fuel wood, fodder, shade and a supplementary income while maintaining good soil conditions on the farm. Many of our Rotary partners are concerned with improving education and conditions in schools so planting on school grounds accounts for much of our tree planting in Tanzania in 2018.
Discussing tree planting activities with students at Mlangerini school near Arusha.
Counting trees in agroforestry farms such as this one near Mengwe village can be time consuming but a very pleasant activity.
Increased donations from Rotary in recent years have allowed SGG to greatly increase our tree planting operations in Tanzania.
A partnership between SGG and the Rotary Club of Mkuu Rombo enabled the latter to organise a tree planting competition for 25 schools in Rombo District in 2012. In 2016 SGG undertook the counting of trees in school grounds and estimated that 8,500 trees had survived and were growing well in those schools. The winner was Maki School who had planted 1,367 trees despite having very rocky ground [see picture top left]. Another winner was Mamsera School who had planted mainly Acrocarpus in their maize field [see picture bottom left]. Prizes of water collecting tanks were awarded to the 3 best schools and a new competition has now been extended to other schools. Other Rotary Clubs had slightly different strategies. Machame Rotary Club are wanting to promote Tephrosia vogelii as a natural pesticide and Moringa olifeira as a cash crop of high nutritional value. Within their nursery they also have 1500 Avocado seedlings [see picture below].
During the Rotary year 2017-18 RI President Ian Riseley challenged every Rotarian in the world to plant at least one tree. Rotarian Paul Keeley of Newcastle Gosforth Rotary Club in District 1030, UK responded to this challenge by engaging 13 Tanzanian Rotary Clubs and several NGOs in Kenya on behalf of 44 Rotary clubs who donated to this tropical tree planting scheme. By early May Rotarian Paul had recorded 41,475 trees which were planted in Busia, West Kenya or North East Tanzania. This project has so far engaged several hundred farmers and thousands of school children all working to improve their farms, school grounds and local environment.
Tanzanian & Kenyan tree-planting partners hope to continue planting in the next Rotary year - with 100,000 trees planted annually for the foreseeable future. SGG is looking for more Rotary clubs who will sponsor current project which runs 2019-2021 Rotary years.
Tree planting in Kenya 2018-2020
In 2017-18 Newcastle-Gosforth Rotary Club supported 9 orphans' groups in Busia County, West Kenya. Each of 450 home-based orphans received 4 seedlings and one banana sucker to be planted in the household plot. Here [see above] John Othieno of Siritanyi Group, near Nambale is giving out trees to the children's guardians.
This guardian [see above] at Siguli has just collected her allocation of seedlings. These include pawpaw and jackfruit to improve child nutrition as well as Grevillea robusta and Maesopsis eminii which are fast growing multi purpose trees. She then went to collect her banana suckers for the orphans in her care.
Tree planting in Tanzania 2018-2020
Above is Amon Noel, President of Same Rotary Club. Much of the land around Same looks like the ground behind Amon, but here Rotarian Amon is showing that trees will grow if planters take proper care of them especially when they are young. Same Rotary Club are working with the local District Commissioners office on a 10 year programme to green the area. During 2018 Same Rotary was supported by RC Rhondda in Wales, Derwentside RC in North East England and Marlborough Massachusetts in USA. Could this be the beginning of an international partnership?
Some Tanzania Rotary clubs are promoting environmental education and tree planting by establishing Interact clubs at local schools. Here [see above] Rotarian Paul discusses the benefits of tree planting with members of Darajani Interact club members who are supported by Kibo Rotary Club.
Many church institutions in Tanzania work with young people and try to engage them in useful environmental work. The seedings in this nursery [see above] at the Lutheran cathedral in Same will be given to young people to plant at their home.
Many planters in Tanzania want fast growing species so that a relatively quick impact can made in locations with few trees. Here [see above] is an example of Acrocarpus fraxinifolius which is less than one year old on Tumaini farm near Arusha.
For many of the pupils at Kisima Primary, Same a major benefit of trees is shade for somewhere to relax.
During the long dry season much of the ground around Same is bare. When the rains arrive severe soil erosion is common. This gully [see above] runs right through Majevu school grounds and passes within a few metres of some of the buildings. In addition to the danger of accidents it is probable that some classrooms will collapse unless soil conservation measures are implemented immediately.
Rural East African schools often have spare bits of land within their grounds which are suitable for tree planting. Here Marangu Rotary club have planted Ficus on a small patch of steep land belonging to Mboni school.