An International Climate Initiative (IKI) project is facilitating the exchange of ideas and experiences between Kenyan and Ethiopian smallholders relating to agriculture and forestry practices. This enables them to find out about different ways of protecting against soil degradation and deforestation.
'I am very pleased that I learned more about the medicinal properties of the eucalyptus tree from the Ethiopians,' explains Kenyan smallholder Ndirangu Macharia. 'Like the Ethiopians, we can also benefit from these medicines,' he added. Macharia is 70 years old and has always lived in the green highlands of the Aberdare mountain range in Kenya. However, things have changed in the region since his childhood. The steadily increasing population has caused deforestation and land degradation to become a problem. Macharia is no longer willing to accept this and is therefore heavily promoting nature conservation in his community. He has now left his homeland for the first time in his life and travelled to Ethiopia in order to participate in an exchange of ideas and experiences among smallholders from Kenya and Ethiopia.
In addition to discovering the beneficial properties of the eucalyptus tree, he also learned how his Ethiopian neighbours make clean cooking stoves. 'I was very impressed by this. If our communities also built such cooking stoves in their houses, this would reduce air pollution and also lessen the destruction of forests for firewood.'