East Africa is largely an agricultural region, and competition for resources has become a significant problem among local communities. In Kenya, for instance, the forest cover is being depleted at an alarming rate: more than 90 percent of the original national forest cover has disappeared, as wood has been rapidly consumed for fuel and commercial purposes and whole swathes of forest land have been cleared for farming or large-scale plantations. Women disproportionately bear the burden of resource shortages, like walking the extra distances to collect water and wood for fuel. Now, recent oil discoveries in the region add to the challenges.
Sustainable management of forests, coastlines, tourism destinations, and other key ecosystems is crucial to preserving the environmental and cultural heritage of the region. Our East Africa Board is supporting small, but promising grassroots groups in strengthening the movement for sustainability and social justice.
- Improve communication among grantees both nationally and regionally
- Support capacity building and institutional development
- Focus on small but promising organizations and initiatives
- Assist groups in their development into strong policy advocacy and community organizing entities
Renewable and non-renewable natural resources
Eco Development FoundationGrant #: 54-078
Focus: Climate Change
Eco Development Foundation (ECODEF) raises awareness about climate adaption and resilience strategies in the Bwihonge sub-country—an ecologically fragile area that has suffered from severe biodiversity loss and climate variation. A small grant funded education workshops about alternative energy technologies to reduce carbon emissions and improve indoor air quality. The group also educated local women’s groups about sustainable agriculture, enabling them to improve their families’ food security through home gardens.
Mufindi Save the GenerationGrant #: 54-072
Mufindi Save the Generation Association (MUSAGEA) protects forests, land, and water resources in the Mufindi district in southern Tanzania. Working in the villages of Itimbo, Rungemba, Ifwagi, and Ikonongo, the organization purchased and transported approximately 19,200 tree seedlings to be planted near water resources and in deforested areas. This is a crucial strategy to improve water quality for families in this rural area, as well as to replenish forest resources and mitigate climate change.
Nyamirama 2015 Community ProjectsGrant #: 52-598
Nyamirama 2015 Community Projects held workshops for members of the Nyamirama region to educate about environmental rights, public participation, community empowerment, and environmental management. This mission of this organization is to eradicate poverty among its member communities by 2015 in accordance with the targets set out in the Millennium Development Goals of the United Nations and the Ugandan government.
Janet Awimbo has over twenty years of experience as a researcher, trainer, and organizational development consultant with public and private development organizations. She has worked with the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI), World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), The Impact Alliance, and the Pact Kenya. She has a Master’s Degree in Ecology from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand.
Matthew is a Kenyan citizen, born and bred in the capital city, Nairobi. His first exposure to grassroots organizations was as a young student, when he worked as a volunteer with his school’s Community Outreach Program. At Strathmore University, he carried out surveys with community-based organizations in the rural areas of western Kenya. Matthew was one of the founders of the Kenyan-Australian initiative Bridging Boarders , which works on development projects in Ndhiwa, one of Kenya’s poorest regions. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Finance, and has been working on research projects for various organizations in his country since graduation.
International Union for Conservation of Nature
Sophie Kutegeka has been a Program Officer for the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Uganda Office, since 2009. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts from Makerere University and a Postgraduate Diploma in Governance, Democratization, and Public Policy from the Institute of Social Studies, The Netherlands. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts Degree in Development Studies at Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi. Sophie’s professional interests include research and advocacy work on environmental accountability, transparency, and policy implementation monitoring.
Loyce Lema is the Executive Director of ENVIROCARE, whose mission is to facilitate efforts directed at wealth creation, environmental sustainability, and reducing the gender gap in Tanzania. Loyce is the 2002 winner of the M’a Afrika Prize, which recognizes women of Africa who excel in community activities but have not yet experienced international exposure or recognition for their work. She is based in Tanzania.
Millennium Community Development Initiatives (MCDI)
Violet Matiru lives in Kenya, and is a programme advisor for the Millennium Community Development Initiatives (MCDI), a local organization that promotes community learning and development, especially focusing on environmental issues of concern to communities. She also does consultancy work in the areas of NRM, Gender and M&E for local and international organizations. She was the acting Executive Director of the Environment Liaison Centre International, which is the liaison organization between the United Nations Environment Programme and Kenyan non-governmental organizations. Violet is trained as a wildlife biologist and also has an MBA.
Tanzania Natural Resource Forum & the Ujamaa-Community Resource Team; Tanzania
John Sinandei Makko is based in Arusha, Tanzania, and is currently coordinating a joint program between the Tanzania Natural Resource Forum and the Ujamaa-Community Resource Team. He has mostly worked in the field of natural resources management: project planning and management, lobbying and policy engagement. His achievements include initiatives that have empowered members of pastorlist communities; enabling them become confident in articulating their opinions while integrating their local skills and knowledge in the management of natural resources. He founded the Community Leadership Forum, which is a local initiative of traditional leadership (women and men) that is working to enforce local accountability for all stakeholders of community based natural resources, including the formal leadership.
Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment
Godber, a lawyer and advocate by training, is the Executive Director and Policy Analyst for the Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE) in Uganda. ACODE is an independent public policy research, analysis, and advocacy think-tank. The organization brings environmental human rights abuse cases to Ugandan courts in order to bring such problems to a wider audience and to create substantive changes in national and regional public policy. He is also an Assistant Lecturer in International Law, Environmental Law, and Jursiprudence at the Human Rights and Peace Center Makerere University.
- Dec, 2014: UPDATE: Last October, Maasai people—including a Greengrant recipient—in Tanzania won an important victory when the government abandoned plans to kick them off their land. Now it looks like the land grab is back on.
- Mar, 2012: A single project has had an enormous impact on communities in rural Uganda. Environmental, social, and economic realities have improved, along with dozens of lives.