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2019-20 Report: Zeitz Foundation

Donation: $100,000

Our donation allowed the Zeitz Foundation (ZF) to implement its Tree of Life Initiative in Laikipia, Kenya. Since the program started, ZF has built a tree nursery, drilled a borehole for irrigation, germinated and planted 250,000 seedlings, prepared an additional 150,000 seedlings for planting, and developed an arborist vocational training program for women.

The Tree of Life initiative combines ZF’s women's education and vocational training objectives with their reforestation, conservation, and biodiversity efforts. In so doing, ZF offers women an opportunity for independent incomes and financial freedom while ultimately reforesting over 1,000,000 acacia trees (starting with 250,000 by 2021) — regenerating the landscape, enhancing soil stabilization and fertility, recapturing water, and ensuring the survival of a biodiverse ecosystem.

Since ZF received our funding in 2019, they created a nursery, sourced 100,000 high-quality seedlings from the Kenya Forestry Research Institute, and prepared a rhino-shaped area for planting in a 50,000-acre wildlife refuge in the heart of Laikipia, Kenya. Earlier this spring, 55 members of the local villages were trained in planting techniques and — with help from ZF’s All Women Anti-Poaching Rangers — had all 100,000 trees planted by the end of May.

Since then, ZF has created new water access, prepared a seedbed nursey, germinated an additional 150,000 acacia seedlings, and — with the help of 17 local women — started its second phase of planting. Over the next few months, they will fit the borehole with a solar pump, panels, and other plumbing works to start generating up to 40,000 liters of water a day. 

Because of COVID-19, ZF delayed the launch of their Vocational Training Academy for Forestry and Permaculture until January 2021, but they continue to develop the curriculum. Once they can open safely, ZF will hold multiple one-week courses for 20 local trainees at a time.