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Zeitz Foundation

Current donation: $100,000
Donations todDate: $400,000

The ZEITZ foundation (ZF) develops and implements socially and ecologically responsible projects in the Laikipia region of Kenya. Our donation will enable ZF to continue with their Tree of Life Initiative and secure sustainable water access for the region, provide the villagers an alternative income stream to livestock, and build sustainable communities through their vocational training academy for forestry and permaculture.

Why They’re Climate Smart

Over the last decade, Kenya has lost much of its forested land. The effect of this deforestation contributes directly to climate change, degrades the land, and affects not only the biodiversity of plant and animal life but also the well-being of the communities who rely on the land. It’s a vicious cycle resulting in more hunger, more destructive agricultural activities (like the expansion of cattle farming), and less stability.

ZF’s Tree of Life initiative combines women’s education and vocational training with reforestation, conservation, and biodiversity.  In so doing, ZF offers women an opportunity for independent incomes and financial freedom — regenerating the landscape (with a goal of reforesting over 3,000,000 acacia trees), enhancing soil stabilization and fertility, recapturing water, and ensuring the survival of a biodiverse ecosystem.

This initiative follows ZF’s sustainable “4C” approach — combining conservation, community, culture, and commerce — a philosophy which is shared globally through The Long Run network.

Why they Receive Our Continued Support

ZF has had outstanding results despite an ongoing drought and Covid restrictions slowing down the planting of trees and delaying the launch of their Vocational Training Academy for Forestry and Permaculture. In the past three years (with the help of $400,000 received from the Rick Steves Climate Smart Commitment), they have created a nursery, sourced, germinated and planted over 250,000 acacia seedlings, built over 14km of fencing to protect the new forest area, sunk a borehole to create new water access, and installed a solar pump, panels, storage tanks, and other plumbing works to generate up to 40,000 liters of water a day for the land, wildlife, and their newly established nursery.

With this year’s funding, ZF will start construction of a 50-acre water dam to ensure water security in the area (as the prerequisite surveys and licensing have been completed), finalize the purchase of 15 acres of land for use in their vocational teaching, and develop an expanded curriculum aimed at educating the next generation of conservationists and prevent young adults seeking employment (or education) from leaving the community.

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