PROJECT 05: GALLMANN MEMORIAL FOUNDATION
This is what we are doing with the Gallmann Memorial Foundation:
Community Eco – Charcoal Project: Turning a ‘weed’ into a wonder plant
It is imperative for the community to derive direct tangible benefit from the protection of the indigenous biodiversity. The Laikipia Nature Conservancy (Ol Ari Nyiro) encompasses vast swathes of a shrub called Leleshwa (Tarconanthus camphoratus). This indigenous plant grows in impenetrable densities in some areas, almost to the exclusion of other species, it also poses a serious fire threat due to its fluffy flowers which carry a flame in the wind for great distances. Once coppiced, Leleshwa grows back to its original size within 7 years, one can harvest it again within 4 years. Thus, it makes a perfect renewable source of wood-fuel or biomass for charcoal.
With generous seed funding from the Leopardess Foundation, the Gallmann Memorial Foundation has embarked on an innovative landmark project in collaboration with the local community to create fully sustainable eco-charcoal business.
Leleshwa is harvested along fire-management blocks to create firebreaks. The wood is turned into eco-charcoal using highly efficient Adam Retort Kilns which combust bi-products and cause minimal pollution resulting in very high grade charcoal. The result is a high quality, renewable charcoal which we are branding so that the end consumer is aware that their charcoal is not coming from illegal felling of indigenous forests.
The project currently employs over 50 youths. 20% of the revenue from the eco-charcoal project goes into a community trust fund. The community decide which projects they want to initiate with the money raised from the project.
Community Beehive project
This project is to give the local community a chance to have an alternative income from honey production. A beehive ‘house’ is under construction at Land of Hope community centre which will act as the training ground for the bee-keepers from all the different communities. 20 ‘professional’ langstroth hives have been bought for comparison with the home made ones.
The first ’home’ ones are build at the land of hope, after which people can copy if they want to have more then one. Communities have reported that after the drought harvests were very low but that bee activity has really increased again since the rains. We expect to harvest again in early October. Beehive workshops about managing a hive and harvesting will be given at the conservancy.