Planting trees under lockdown

Farmers have done an amazing job of adapting to lockdown. For the first time, farmers across the project are communicating digitally to teach and share tree-planting insights.

Planting trees under lockdown

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We call it community tree planting for a reason—participants work together to plant trees, grow more food, and learn from each other.

So when COVID-19 required East Africa to shutdown, the program had to adapt.

For the Wren team here in the US, it's easy to hop on a video call and hash out plans. This isn't possible for these farmers. In rural East Africa, electricity is hard to come by, and wireless bandwidth is limited.

Since communication is critical, the first step to adapting was to ensure program leaders could charge their phones at home, instead of having to walk somewhere with electricity.

A program leader installs a solar panel on his roof. Access to electricity is critical to keeping up Community Tree Planting's momentum while COVID keeps East Africa in lockdown.

The Community Tree Planting team has done amazing work to get program leaders solar panels on short notice so they have electricity access. They've been going up on participants' roofs as fast as possible, to prevent the program from slowing down. Thanks to the electricity the panels provide, participants can record videos and share their best practices for tree planting and conservation farming even while locked down on their farms.

Since the farmers have been able to keep the conversation going digitally, they're taking this time to double down and invest in growing more food and trees. It's amazing to see their determination in a time like this.

Roseline, a farmer from Kenya, standing in her Conservation Farming plot. Even though they're social distancing, farmers like Roseline can stay in touch by sharing photos, videos, and advice digitally.

Part of the motivation to move full speed ahead is watching the fruits of their labor. The Community Tree Planting project is known among Kenyan farmers because of how helpful it is, teaching locals how to grow food more efficiently and giving them a source of income through tree planting.⁠ Thanks to technology that can keep up the learning from a distance, we can sequester more carbon as we grow more trees faster.

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- The Wren Team

Mimi, Landon, Ben, and Taylor