A community empowered in the management of natural resources in a sustainable way to improve livelihoods.
To empower communities to actively participate in the sustainable management of natural resources.
Tree Is Life started in 2002 under the auspices of the Nyahururu Catholic parish
(now a Diocese) as a training and capacity building community-based project
to promote environmental conservation and awareness as well as improve the livelihoods
of rural and urban communities. It was initiated mainly to address environmental
degradation & massive forest destruction that was being experienced in parts
of Laikipia and Nyandarua Districts (Now Nyandarua North and Laikipia West Districts)
in Kenya in the preceding years and promote sustainable use of natural resources.
Initially activities targeted self-help groups environmental clubs in learning
institutions and the wider public. The clubs and groups undergo training
in agro-forestry, organic farming and institutional strengthening. They are
then assisted to start tree nurseries and other eco-friendly activities in their
localities. The idea is to ensure availability of seedlings from sources that
are accessible to members of the community wherever and whenever they are needed
for planting in their compounds and public places.
In 2004, with the growing interest in community participation in forest management
and calls for the review of the existing forest law, a component on forest associations
was started to empower communities living around forests in participatory forest
A new law that will guide forest management in Kenya was enacted in 2005.
The new law recognizes among others the important role that communities can
play and encourages their participation in the management of forests in collaboration
with the Kenya Forest Service and other stakeholders.
In July 2003, Tree is Life received funding to implement an awareness project
under COMPACT (Community Management of Protected Areas Conservation), an initiative
of the Global Environment Facility and United Nations Foundation. The project,
Brush Against the Power Saw, was aims to create awareness to the communities
around the Mount Kenya World Heritage Site on the need to conserve its biodiversity
for posterity. The main activities are environmental mural paintings, environmental
features on local, national and international newspapers, publishing posters
and erecting metal tree-shaped signboards with short messages along the main
Tree is Life was registered as a Trust in August 2006. The activities of the
focused on four components: Self Help Groups, School environmental clubs, forest
Associations and Awareness raising in six divisions. Ndaragwa and Ol Joro Orok
(In Nyandarua North District) and Nyahururu, Rumuruti, Ng’arua and Ol
Moran (In Laikipia West District). These boundaries are however only for coordination
purposes and are not limiting especially in situations where issues being addressed
go beyond the administrative boundaries.