Changing lives by planting trees
The International Small Group and Tree Planting Program (TIST) is an award-winning reforestation and sustainable development programme representing a community of more than 95 000 farmers, 35,000 of which are women, across Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and India. Participation in the program is completely voluntary and open to everyone. Currently in Kenya there are 76,608 TIST participants in total from across more than 3000 villages which have planted more than 10.5 million trees and 4.5 million seedlings.
TIST participants own the land and the trees and are free to choose themselves which tree species to plant depending on their needs. Farmers receive a payment per tree every year plus a 70% revenue share from the sale of the carbon credits these trees produce as a direct cash payment. Furthermore, each planted tree creates an additional value of $8 for the farmers. This includes fruits, nuts, fodder, traditional medicines, sustainable wood products and firewood (from dead trees and thinnings). Top 10 tree species include Gravellia, Eucalyptus, Cyprus, Acacia, Macadamia, Mango, Avocado, Bottle Brush & Orange. Other ecosystem benefits include water retention, shade, wind blocking and erosion prevention. The various benefits beyond carbon ensure that participants have multiple incentives to maintain the planted trees in the longer term.
TIST programme is open to everyone and participants are organised in Small Groups, where a rotating leadership model is applied, supporting gender equality and developing the capacities of each member. The program has local leadership composed of community members trained to become programme leaders. TIST generates employment of local staff who quantify the number of trees and monitor the growth progress by using mobile devices, which are later verified by an independent third party. Transparency is achieved by making all data publicly available.
TIST trains local farmers in building nurseries, fuel-efficient stoves and adopting the UN FAO conservation farming practices which in many cases result in double yield. Ensuring food security is especially important during periods of drought. Thinnings improve tree growth and together with dead trees provide sustainable supply of fuelwood and sale of stems for timber, reducing the pressure on forests outside the project area. Project monitoring ensures that dead trees and thinnings are accounted for and deducted from the carbon calculations.
Good health practices are reinforced at the Small Group meeting, where participants are trained in health topics including HIV/AIDS, malaria, clean water, hygiene and indoor air pollution.
Women empowerment at its core
Women empowerment is at the core of the TIST programme in Kenya. Women for the first time have the opportunity to earn their own income, become independent and follow their aspirations. In Kenya, women participants account for 25 000 out of the total 76 608 TIST participants.
To further enhance women empowerment, non-landowners, most often women and youth, could sign a carbon contract with the land owner, which allows planting trees and receiving 70% carbon credit revenue share and tree produce. This not only enables inclusion and equal opportunity for all regardless of gender or social status but also is crucial for alleviating poverty amongst the most vulnerable. To learn more about how TIST empowers women and transforms lives on the ground check this
Community reforestation in Kenya is one of the projects from which Compensate buys emissions reduction units. The project has been in Compensate’s project portfolio since December 2020.
Photo credit: TIST Kenya / Lynn Johnson, Ripple Effect Images
The project has achieved Gold Level for exceptional community benefits under the CCB standard. TIST’s mission is to improve lives, empower women, create leaders and have a positive climate impact, contributing to all 17 UN SDGs.