DP Students Plant a New Seed: Tree Growing

19 December 2009

DP students strive to help community fight deforestation.

November 21st and 28th, a group of Diploma Programme and some residential students, travelled 2 hours outside of Mombasa, to a remote community in Mtaa division, Kinango district, to help a community fight deforestation and come closer to accessing a consistent water supply.

A CRSP employee briefs AKA,M students and community members on how the digging and planting should take place.Over the two days students worked together in small groups with community members at a small farm reservoir (SFR) – a man made water catchment area, meant to collect a substantial amount of rain water to be used by the community both for drinking and agricultural purposes. The first day, was spent digging holes in very dry and rocky areas surrounding the SFR to prepare the site for planting. And the second day, was spent planting 700 indigenous seedlings that will naturally support the SFR’s structure and ability to maximize rainfall.

Through their summer volunteer experiences at CRSP, the students had witnessed how communities in Kinango had been directly affected by substantial deforestation. As the majority of communities in that area are made up of low-income farmers, they greatly rely on fertile land and reliable water for their subsistence farming. However, with little rainfall and increasing desertification of the area due to deforestation, most people are finding it extremely difficult to survive from their daily agricultural work. Hence, the need for ‘tree growing’.

The emphasis on ‘tree growing’ vs. the traditional ‘tree planting’ was learned through a new mentality that CRSP is working to promote in their communities, and that the Diploma students are trying to promote within AKA, M. The outreach project was about ‘tree growing’ because the message needs to get out that reforestation is about growing trees, which requires an emphasis on their life-long maintenance. Planting seedlings is just the first step in a life-long process of reforestation in this area.

*Note: The Coastal Rural Support Programme (CRSP), a programme of the Aga Khan Foundation, was linked with AKA, Mombasa through an ongoing Community Service Partnership between the two AKDN agencies.

The ‘tree growing’ outreach project, led by 3 Diploma students, Aly Mitha, Devangi Veghela and Zain Jaffer, was initiated after they had completed a 6 week Summer Service Placement at the Coastal Rural Support Programme (CRSP) – a development project of the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF).

During these activities in small mixed groups, of students and community members, participants were able to get to know one another, share their personal experiences, and learn from each other. Moreover, as the students experienced the hard physical work in hot weather with no shade, that the community members do everyday, they began to realize how hard working the community is and that they as students take many things for granted in their own lives.