Watersheds Ecosystem Conservation (WEC) was founded in 2018. We have worked closely with WEC’s Director, Jacob Mwanduka for 15 years in his previous role as Operations Manager and Executive Officer for one of our other tree planting partners, Friends of Mau Watershed (FOMAWA) based in Nakuru, Kenya.

Jacob left FOMAWA to work in and around Kitui, his home town. Jacob has already planted trees at ten schools around Kitui, funded by CHASE Africa. In setting up WEC, Jacob draws on more than 24 years of experience working with NGOs in Kenya, including FOMAWA, ActionAid and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). With WWF he worked on a project dealing with environmental issues affecting Lake Nakuru.

WEC have, to date, planted trees in five schools around Kitui – 2,000 trees planted with the help of the children, parents and staff at each school.

All of our school tree planting projects bring a number of benefits to the schools:

  • cuttings from branches provide a vital source of free firewood for cooking school meals – often the only nutritious meal a child gets each day;
  • bring money into the school from the sale of timber – this money can be used to buy books and build classrooms, and also reduces the pressure on parents, who are already dealing with poverty, to subsidise school activities;
  • inter-cropping between the trees during the first 18 months provides food that the school and local community can either use or sell – crops such as vegetables, beans, green grams and cowpeas are planted between the trees;
  • teach children how to grow and take care of trees, and gives the teachers the opportunity to discuss environmental concerns at a practical level;
  • contribute to the sequestration of carbon dioxide, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change that disproportionately affect the poorest people; and
  • offer shade and a pleasant environment for the children during the school day.

Melia volkensii seedling after two weeks

Jacob prepares Melia volkensii seedlings for planting

Children at Thome Primary with wire fencing