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Green Belt Movement

The Green Belt Movement (GBM) is an environmental organization that empowers communities, particularly women, to conserve the environment and improve livelihoods. GBM was founded by Professor Wangari Maathai in 1977 under the auspices of the National Council of Women of Kenya (NCWK) to respond to the needs of rural Kenyan women who reported that their streams were drying up, their food supply was less secure, and they had to walk further and further to get firewood for fuel and fencing. GBM encouraged the women to work together to grow seedlings and plant trees to bind the soil, store rainwater, provide food and firewood, and receive a small monetary token for their work.

The Aberdare Rehabilitation Project, a partnership between Agence Française de Développement and GBM, aims to restore the degraded areas of the Aberdare forest ecosystem and better its functions—in particular, water and biodiversity—while also improving the livelihoods of communities adjacent to it. The Aberdare ecosystem is the main water catchment for Sasuma and Ndakaini dams, which supply water to Nairobi and other major towns. Its eastern slopes form the catchment of River Tana that supplies water to the seven forks dam and also supports major irrigation schemes of Mwea, Bura, and Tana Delta. The forest is also the source of water for the adjoining rural populations within the ecosystem and beyond. The major challenges threatening the forest ecosystem today include encroachment, illegal logging, and charcoal burning.

For more information, visit the group’s website here.