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The power of DGB Group’s high-quality carbon projects in Kenya

In a world where environmental responsibility is more talked about than ever, nature-based solutions have emerged as viable solutions for businesses to contribute positively to nature. This blog, based on our recent webinar, will explore the power of our high-quality carbon projects in Kenya and their far-reaching impacts.

The power of high-quality carbon projects_Close-up of a DGM team member planting a tree in a nursery_visual 1Close-up of a DGM team member planting a tree in a nursery. Hongera Reforestation Project, DGB. 

Our recent webinar, hosted by Pedro Zimmer, Head of Events and Resources at DGB Group, featured an insightful discussion with Haron Wachira, DGB’s Project Director in Kenya. Haron, speaking directly from Kenya, shared his extensive experience and knowledge about carbon projects and the transformative initiatives DGB is implementing in Kenya. The webinar shed light on how these projects go beyond just capturing carbon; they enhance local economies and biodiversity and build sustainable futures.

Watch our exclusive webinar - The power of high-quality carbon projects—Kenya

In this blog, we will delve into the key highlights from the webinar, providing an overview of the significance of high-quality nature-based carbon projects, their implementation process, and the profound impact they have on rural communities. You can gain a deeper understanding of how these projects operate, the challenges they face, and the promising future they hold for both the environment and local populations. You can also learn how you can support these projects by addressing your carbon footprint.

The importance of carbon projects beyond carbon 

Carbon projects offer more than just CO2 reduction or removal; they adopt a holistic approach that significantly impacts local economies, biodiversity, and sustainability. By integrating activities like reforestation and the distribution of efficient cookstoves, these projects enhance the livelihoods of local communities. They create job opportunities, improve agricultural productivity, and provide access to more efficient energy solutions. Moreover, they foster biodiversity by restoring native ecosystems and habitats, ensuring a balanced and thriving environment. This comprehensive approach not only addresses environmental degradation but also promotes sustainable development and resilience in rural areas.

Read more: What makes DGB’s reforestation projects unique?

These carbon projects are funded by the sale of carbon units (also known as carbon credits) and green bonds. Upfront purchases of carbon units from investors and businesses wishing to compensate for their irreducible emissions power the development and scaling of these vital initiatives. 

Learn more about DGB’s impactful carbon units

Introducing Haron Wachira and his work

Haron Wachira has been a pioneer in the field of carbon units since 2004. With a background in software development and project management for blue-chip companies in Nairobi, Haron transitioned to working in rural Kenya. His dedication to improving the livelihoods of local communities through sustainable practices has been unwavering. Over the years, he has become an expert in implementing carbon projects that not only capture or reduce CO2 but also foster economic growth and environmental stewardship.

Read more: Meet Kenya's green heroes: the team behind the Hongera projects

DGB's projects in Kenya are concentrated around Mount Kenya and the Aberdares, regions known for their rich biodiversity and vibrant communities. Here, Haron and his team manage initiatives like the Hongera Reforestation and Cookstove projects, working closely with local farmers to enhance their agricultural practices, promote reforestation, and improve access to more efficient cooking stoves. These projects are designed to create a sustainable and prosperous future for the region's inhabitants.

DGB Group’s carbon projects in Kenya

Hongera Energy Efficient Cookstoves Project, Kenya

The Hongera Energy Efficient Cookstoves Project is a transformative initiative that manufactures and distributes 150,000 energy-efficient cookstoves to local communities in Kenya. These cookstoves are designed to significantly reduce firewood usage—up to 60%, thereby alleviating pressure from deforestation on local forests and contributing to nature restoration. Additionally, by minimising indoor air pollution, these stoves help improve health outcomes for many families.

The power of high-quality carbon projects_DGB team members and local community during cookstove distribution_visual 2DGB team members and the local community during cookstove distribution. Hongera Energy Efficient Cookstoves Project, DGB. 

The project's impact on the local community is profound. Traditional cooking methods, which often involve the use of wood, charcoal, or kerosene, contribute to severe indoor air pollution, resulting in an estimated four million premature deaths annually worldwide. By adopting energy-efficient cookstoves, households experience better indoor air quality, reducing the risk of respiratory diseases and other health issues. Moreover, these stoves save time and money, especially benefiting women who typically bear the burden of collecting firewood. Locally manufacturing the stoves also creates job opportunities and ensures that the designs meet the specific needs of the communities.

Read more: DGB’s Kenya cookstove project: kicking off 2024 with sustainable impact

Hongera Reforestation Project, Kenya

The Hongera Reforestation Project is a large-scale reforestation initiative in Kenya aimed at restoring areas that have been degraded due to human activities such as illegal logging, agricultural clearance, development, and firewood collection. This project focuses on replanting over 10 million trees to restore nature, protect biodiversity, increase water security, and enhance the quality of life for local communities.

The power of high-quality carbon projects_Aerial view of a tree nursery in Kenya_visual 3Aerial view of a tree nursery in Kenya. Hongera Reforestation Project, DGB. 

The project provides significant economic benefits by offering job opportunities, training, and seedlings to local smallholder farmers. In the project regions, most people rely on agriculture for their livelihoods, and the yields from the newly planted trees benefit these farmers directly. By restoring and protecting the environment, the project improves ecological health and helps reduce poverty through sustained investment and employment opportunities.

Read more: The Hongera Reforestation journey unfolds in 2024

The impact on rural Kenya

Before DGB’s projects, rural Kenyan communities faced significant economic and environmental challenges. The collapse of key industries, such as coffee and tea, left many farmers struggling to make ends meet. With limited income sources, the average household lived on less than $2 a day. Environmental degradation due to illegal logging, agricultural clearance, and over-reliance on firewood further exacerbated these difficulties. The lack of sustainable agricultural practices and access to more efficient cooking solutions contributed to widespread poverty and poor health conditions, including respiratory diseases from indoor air pollution.

DGB’s projects have brought about remarkable transformations in these rural communities. The Hongera Reforestation and Cookstove projects have revitalised local economies by providing job opportunities and training. Farmers now engage in sustainable practices that enhance agricultural productivity and income. The reforestation efforts have restored degraded lands, boosting biodiversity and improving water security. With DGB’s projects, for example, farmers can increase their coffee production by more than 10 times over a three-year period. 

Read more: From flame to future: sparking health and sustainability in Kenya's schools

The introduction of energy-efficient cookstoves has significantly reduced firewood usage, alleviating pressure on local forests and improving indoor air quality. This has led to better health outcomes, particularly for women and children. The projects have also fostered a sense of community and collaboration, as farmers meet regularly to discuss challenges and share solutions. Overall, these initiatives have not only improved the immediate economic conditions but have also laid the foundation for a more sustainable and prosperous future for rural Kenyan communities.

The process of implementing carbon projects

Involving farmers in carbon projects is a meticulous process that begins with community outreach. Field officers and project staff visit local communities to introduce the project and its benefits. They identify and engage potential participants through group meetings and one-on-one discussions. Farmers are informed about the project’s goals, the importance of sustainable practices, and how they can contribute. Those interested in participating sign up and commit to the project’s requirements, such as planting and maintaining trees or adopting energy-efficient cookstoves.

Read more: The rich tapestry of trees in DGB’s reforestation projects: empowering local communities

Once farmers join the project, they receive comprehensive training to ensure they can effectively contribute and benefit. Training sessions cover various aspects, including sustainable agricultural practices, tree planting and maintenance, and the use and maintenance of energy-efficient cookstoves. Farmers learn about the environmental and economic benefits of these practices and how to maximise their impact.

Ongoing support is provided through regular group meetings, where farmers can share experiences, discuss challenges, and receive additional guidance. Field officers conduct periodic visits to offer hands-on support and monitor progress. The project also establishes feedback mechanisms, enabling continuous improvement based on farmers' input. By providing training and sustained support, DGB ensures that farmers are well-equipped to participate in carbon projects, leading to successful and long-lasting outcomes.

The social and community benefits

DGB’s carbon projects go beyond environmental and economic benefits; they play a crucial role in fostering community spirit and collective effort. By organising farmers into groups, the projects create a support network where members can share knowledge, resources, and encouragement. Regular meetings and training sessions educate participants, strengthen social bonds, and build a sense of unity. These gatherings provide a platform for farmers to discuss common challenges, celebrate successes, and collaborate on solutions, fostering a strong sense of community.

The power of high-quality carbon projects_DGB team member and local community during cookstove distribution_visual 4DGB team members and the local community during cookstove distribution. Hongera Energy Efficient Cookstoves Project, DGB

One inspiring story is that of Lois, a local champion who has greatly benefited from the Hongera Reforestation Project. Lois grew up in a family with a forestry background, which helped her develop a deep appreciation for nature. Through her involvement in DGB’s projects, she has become a key figure in her community, organising groups to plant trees and educating others about sustainable practices. Her leadership and dedication have not only improved the environment but also inspired many others to join the effort.

Lois's group grows tree seedlings, which are then planted and nurtured by community members. The project has provided her with a sustainable income and enabled her to make a significant impact on local reforestation efforts. Her success has been recognised beyond her community, and she was nominated to represent Kenya at the World Forest Day event. 

Lois’s journey from a local farmer to an environmental advocate exemplifies the profound social and community benefits that DGB’s projects bring to rural Kenya. These projects transform individual lives and build resilient, empowered communities ready to tackle future challenges together.

Challenges and solutions

One of the primary challenges in implementing high-quality carbon projects is ensuring that investors understand the value of a comprehensive, holistic approach. While capturing CO2 is crucial, the broader benefits—such as improving local economies, fostering biodiversity, and enhancing community wellbeing—are equally important. Educating investors about the long-term advantages of supporting projects that address multiple facets of sustainability is essential. By highlighting success stories and demonstrating tangible outcomes, DGB strives to attract investors who are committed to holistic development and not just immediate carbon offset gains.

Download DGB’s brochure to find out how your business can benefit from these projects

Managing farmer commitment is another significant challenge, particularly when it comes to changes in land ownership and participation consistency. In rural Kenya, land is often subdivided among family members, which can complicate long-term project commitments. Additionally, some farmers may be initially sceptical or lack the resources to fully participate. To address this, DGB employs a robust training and support system, ensuring farmers understand the benefits and requirements of the projects. Continuous engagement, clear communication, and flexible strategies help maintain farmer involvement and adapt to changing circumstances.

Navigating challenges with government agencies and forest associations is crucial for the success of carbon projects. Government policies and personnel changes can disrupt project activities and create uncertainty. DGB works closely with local and national government bodies to align project goals with governmental priorities and secure necessary permissions and support. Building strong relationships with community forest associations and other local organisations also helps mitigate potential disruptions and ensures that projects remain on track. Effective coordination and collaboration with governmental entities are vital for overcoming bureaucratic hurdles and achieving long-term project sustainability.

Read more: 100 Reasons carbon credits are the best thing that ever happened to improve conditions on our planet

DGB Group, your long-term partner in nature conservation

DGB’s global nature-based carbon projects are designed holistically with long-term sustainability at their core. By integrating economic, environmental, and social benefits, these projects aim to create enduring positive impacts on rural communities. The vision for sustainable development encompasses continuous community improvement, where local populations are empowered with the knowledge, resources, and support to thrive. As these communities grow stronger, they contribute to a healthier planet and a more resilient future for all.

The power of high-quality carbon projects_Close-up of a DGB team member holding a tree seedling_visual 5Close-up of a DGB team member holding a tree seedling. Hongera Reforestation Project, DGB. 

We invite you to learn more about DGB’s impactful projects and explore the opportunities to get involved and benefit your business or investment portfolio. The world is moving towards sustainability and environmental accountability. By taking responsibility for your environmental impact through DGB’s solutions like measuring your carbon footprint and compensating for your past or irreducible emissions with our verified carbon units, you are not only aligning with global standards but also supporting our vital initiatives and making a positive impact. 

Read more: Sustainability simplified: Carbon footprinting for beginners

Together, we can contribute to a sustainable and prosperous future for communities in Kenya and beyond. Join us in making a lasting difference.

Download our carbon units brochure and get started

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