In the highlands – like the rest of Kenya – there is a massive lack of trees. The extensive deforestation already begun under British colonial rule has led to the fact that now only 2.7% of the land area is wooded. (For comparison, about 50% of the land area in Austria is covered by forest.) The consequences: soil erosion, desertification and precarious conditions in the water and food supply of the population.
However, wood (or the charcoal produced from it) is still the most important source of energy for cooking and “heating” in Kenya. A lot of wood is also needed for the busy construction activities. Thus the pressure on the remaining forest areas is still increasing, as the population is growing.
The population of the parish of Ololkirikirai is mainly from the Maassai tribe, traditionally nomadic cattle breeders. They have settled in the fertile areas because there have been increasing problems with drought and population growth in the lower regions. The Maassai have no tradition in planting trees and horticulture. The sedentary nature, which is relatively new for them, requires a different approach to natural resources.
Here are a few photos explaining why we are engaged here: