Regreening Tanzanian communities with millions of trees

After decades of unsustainable agricultural practices and deforestation, the consequences of land degradation became more and more visible in Tanzania’s semi-arid Dodoma Region. Increasing temperatures during the dry seasons and erratic rainfall patterns during the rainy season cause problems for millions of people, mostly farmers and herders. In this complex system, the large-scale regeneration of trees can restore these lost ecosystem services and regulate the climate.  

This is where Justdiggit and Tanzanian NGO LEAD Foundation work together. In their joint Regreening Dodoma Program, they train farmers on the natural regeneration of trees on their farmland, using the concept of Farmer-Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) popularized by farmers in Niger and Burkina Faso.

A picture of a large tree in Dodoma, Tanzania

The pruning technique that the project uses, called Kisiki Hai (Swahili for “Living Stump”), enables farmers to regenerate trees from the thousands of stumps and root systems that are still in the soil, without needing any outside capital or investment. In the short-term, these trees provide a source of wood for cooking, construction or sale on the market. As these trees mature, they will improve soil quality, reduce erosion, help more rainwater filter into the soil and reduce the local temperature. Together, all of these ecosystem services can boost crop production (and farmer incomes).

So far, Justdiggit and LEAD Foundation have trained over 1,100 Champion Farmers on FMNR techniques, rainwater harvesting methods and leadership skills. In turn, these champion farmers have returned to their village to spread their knowledge and skills.  

They also play a major role in monitoring the progress of the Dodoma project, as they frequently report updated figures on technique adoption and tree count in their villages. To amplify knowledge of Kisiki Hai, Justdiggit and LEAD Foundation reach farmers using the power of media and communication, such as billboards, murals, road signs, an SMS service and a radio program, all specifically designed to inspire, educate and activate farmers to become advocates for FMNR. The team has also held a movie roadshow celebrating the regreening movement that travelled to villages throughout Dodoma.  

Altogether, over 110,000 farmers collectively regenerated over 5.2 million trees in the region. By the end of 2021, this number is expected to rise to 8.1 million.  

After the hard work of starting the regeneration process concludes in 2021, Justdiggit and LEAD Foundation will stay involved for an additional 14 years to ensure the impact is sustained and can even spread to other villages, contributing to a greener and cooler Dodoma Region. Together with apparel company Timberland, Justdiggit and LEAD Foundation will expand this program to the neighbouring region of Singida, expecting to double the impact by 2024.

Location: 
Project Size: 
8.1 million trees regenerated by the end of 2021
Focal Point: 

Mary Bezabeth, Marketing Lead for Africa, Mary@justdiggit.org