The International Small Group Tree Planting Program

What is The International Small Group Tree Planting Program? 

The International Small Group Tree Planting Program, known as TIST, helps communities in and around Kenya’s forests plant trees to improve their lives.  The program harnesses the power of small groups who choose to unite for a common purpose and a better life. Farmers are valued as local experts who know first-hand the impact of deforestation and drought.   The program is supported by a Global Development Alliance comprised of USAID, the Clean Air Action Corporation, and the Institute for Environmental Innovation, a US-based NGO that provides the farmer training and other capacity building.  USAID’s $7.5 million investment leverages more than $11 million that the Clear Air Action Corporation has invested in developing carbon offset methods, monitoring technology and pilot projects.

Project Duration and Budget:

March 2006 - September 2014

$7.52 million

Who implements The International Small Group Tree Planting Program?

The Institute for Environmental Innovation

Where does The International Small Group Tree Planting Program work?

Embu, Meru, Mara, and Nanyuki


What does The International Small Group Tree Planting Program do?

The International Small Group Tree Planting Program encourages farmers to transition from subsistence to success. Training and collaboration techniques empower members to become environmental leaders in their communities. TIST members learn to develop nurseries, plant trees to improve their land, recognize medicinal plants, and use water and wood efficiently. 

TIST provides hard-working farmers, both women and men, an annual stipend for each live tree, plus access to future, long-term profits, from the global market for greenhouse gas credits.  The trees TIST members plant store carbon by capturing and containing it as the tree grows.  This stored carbon can be sold to environmentally conscious individuals, companies, and industrialized nations in the international carbon market to offset the carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere.

With USAID support, TIST received approval from the Kenya Forest Service for a Participatory Forest Management Plan that will allow communities to develop forest resources in forest reserves and use the buffer zone for sustainable use.


How is The International Small Group Tree Planting Program making a difference?

TIST provides diverse benefits to participants who planted trees, practiced conservation farming, and used improved cook stoves.  The members reported an average total added income value of $433 per member over the course of their participation.In Kenya, over 53,000 TIST farmers have planted more than seven million trees, verifying their condition and location with award-winning, sophisticated methods on hand-held computers.  TIST farmers around Mt. Kenya have already earned nearly $20 million from the carbon market. TIST members receive regular cash payments to compensate them for planting and nurturing their trees for long-term growth.  This early incentive encourages the farmers to care for trees during the critical years while they are small, before they provide other valuable benefits.  TIST farmers will receive 70% of the profits on the sale of carbon credits on the global carbon markets.


What key challenges does The International Small Group Tree Planting Program face?

Two rules established by the Government of Kenya have posed potential future hurdles for carbon validation and verification.  As long as the Farm Forestry Rules remain in their current form, they will undermine TIST farmers and any other reforestation effort that tries to use carbon credits as a financial tool.


For more information:

Azharul Mazumder, Team Leader, Environment and Natural Resources Management
USAID/Kenya
P.O. Box 629 00621
Nairobi, Kenya
Phone: +254 20 862 2841
Email: azmazumder@usaid.gov

Enock Kanyanya, Activity Manager
USAID/Kenya
P.O. Box 629 00621
Nairobi, Kenya
Phone: +254 20 862 2341
Email: ekanyanya@usaid.gov

Charlie Williams, Clean Air Action Corporation
The International Small Group and Tree Planting (TIST) Program
Phone: 918.747.8749  | 918.510.6158
Email: charliewilliams@cleanairaction.com

Updated April 2013

 

Last updated: September 17, 2013

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