top of page

-Joseph Mwakima

WILDLIFE WORKS   COMMUNITY RELATIONS OFFICER

In Kasigau, through the Wildlife Works REDD+ project, we have a way to take care of the forest and help humans co-exist with wildlife. Through REDD+ work, we are able to fund what we need like education, access to clean water, and clinics.  From the scholarships,  students have gone out to learn, and are now coming back to the community as teachers, nurses, doctors, and business owners.

>100k

COMMUNITY

PARTNERS

200k

HECTARES

OF FOREST PROTECTED

11

ENDANGERED

SPECIES PROTECTED

1.7m

tCO2e  EMISSIONS

AVOIDED PER YEAR

WATCH

ABOUT THE KASIGAU CORRIDOR REDD+ PROJECT
The Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project is the world’s first and longest standing certified REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) project.
WATER IS LIFE
At the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project in Kenya, community members are investing carbon revenue into improving access to water for all.
PORTRAIT OF A RANGER: CONNIE
At the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project in Kenya, Connie Mwandaa has helped pave the way for female rangers.
Filip-C-Agoo-Everland-Marketing-Kenya-1670-WEB-low-resolution.jpg

KASIGAU, KENYA

logo

THE DETAILS

START DATE: JANUARY, 2010

DURATION: 30 YEARS

PROJECT TYPE: AVOIDED DEFORESTATION REDD+

METHODOLOGY: VM0009

REGISTRY: VERRA

THIRD-PARTY VERIFIED ☑

decorative vector image
decorative vector image
decorative vector image
decorative vector image

DIAGNOSTIC HEALTH LABORATORY RENOVATED AND AFTER-SCHOOL HEALTH EDUCATION PROGRAMS  ESTABLISHED FOR >1200   STUDENTS

OVER 50    CLEAN WATER  AND WATER CONSERVATION PROJECTS COMPLETED

36  SCHOOLS RENOVATED, 10 NEW SCHOOLS BUILT, AND OVER 30,000 SCHOLARSHIPS AWARDED.

1,700 WOMEN PARTICIPATING  IN THE HANDI CRAFT VENTURE THAT GENERATED $250,000  IN REVENUE IN 2021

OVER 400 LOCALLY HIRED EMPLOYEES, 1/3 OF WHOM ARE WOMEN

​IMPACT

HIGHLIGHTS

The Kasigau Corridor  project area is home to over  100,000 forest community members dispersed across 6 towns.

The Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project area is home to over 100,000 people.  The majority of the region is home to people who identify as Taita. The Taita consist of 3 subgroups: the Wadawida, the Wasaghalla, and the Wataveta, all who are thought to have originally migrated to the area around 1000-1300 CE. 

Traditionally, the Taita lived in the hills, close to water sources.    This enabled peaceful coexistence between the large wildlife populations that roamed the plains below. 
 

Traditional economic activities included hunting, livestock rearing, and subsistence agriculture (with crops such as sorghum, millet, and yams). As populations grew and competition for resources intensified, many Taita migrated into the plains below, resulting in increased conflict with the wildlife that roams these plains. 

​ 

The Kasigau Corridor REDD+ project sits right along the famous Mombasa-Nairobi railway, which slices through the heart of the greater Tsavo ecosystem. Being so close to this important trade route, the communities in this area have lived through the slave trade, British colonialization, WWII, and the Mau Mau rebellion. 

ARTICLE 01

Son of a Poacher, 26 year-old Fulfills Dream to Become Conservation Pilot

Daniel Zuma is not your regular character. As a gyrocopter pilot at Wildlife Works, the 26 year-old is living his dream and even more impressively, is dedicated to inspiring his community.

Read more

ARTICLE 02

Scholarship Success Stories


“Having come from a situation where there was no hope for the future to where I am today is my biggest accomplishment," says Julius Mkala, former Wildlife Works scholarship  recipient.

Read more

COMMUNITY STORIES

ECO-CHARCOAL PRODUCTION

Learn more

Charcoal production can be extremely detrimental to the environment, as it requires 10 tons of wood to produce 1 ton of charcoal.   Our sustainable charcoal team has produced tens of thousands of kgs of eco-charcoal without cutting down a single tree and are developing sales channels to increase its distribution. Eight permanent staff manually process 850-1,274 0.5kg briquettes/week.

​COMMUNITY GOVERNANCE
Learn more

The Locational Carbon Committees (LCCs) are the governance structure through which the communities directly allocate carbon revenue towards community driven initiatives. The LCCs are democratically elected and approve    budget spending on various community projects.

EQUALITY IN EDUCATION
Learn more

In addition to funding scholarships and school infrastructure,  communities have chosen to use carbon revenue to fund a after-school  health education programs. In 2021, a pilot program was rolled out in 10 primary schools across the project area, which combined the gender-inclusive sport of volleyball with reproductive health education. Subjects covered, for both boys and girl, include gender-based violence, menstruation, STIs and HIV. 

SUSTAINABLE JOBS
Learn more

The project supports basket weaving women's    groups in the project zone, as well as the production of other eco-crafts such as soaps and clothing,    to strengthen women's    economic opportunities, connecting them to external markets, building capacity and improving product quality of local craft groups.  

CONSERVATION FARMING
Learn more

Our organic greenhouse distributes seedlings to the community for reforestation and community gardens. Carbon revenue also funds water access and sustainable farming training.

WATER CONSERVATION
Learn more

Carbon revenues have funded the completion of water infrastructure projects   (rain catchments, pipes, etc.) that improve access to clean water for over 100,000 people. 

THE COMMUNITY PARTNERS

° Loxodonta africana 

AFRICAN SAVANNAH ELEPHANT

African savanna elephants, the largest land animals on our planet, are also some of the most awe-inspiring. Their incredible memories help them remember key foraging areas as they migrate across the savannahs. Their emotional intelligence and empathy keep their close-knit social groups strong in the face of adversity. They have rich social lives, complete with moments of joy and mourning periods (or “elephant funerals”) when members of their herd die. African elephants are known as “ecosystem engineers” because they create unique habitats for other species by physically altering the environment. Just through their massive footprints, they create small ponds for frogs. They also help to fertilize the soil and spread the seeds of plants that they eat, contributing positively to the life cycle of the ecosystem. Human-wildlife conflict is now one of the top threats to Savanna elephants across Africa, whose populations have decreased by at least 60% over the last 50 years, according to the latest IUCN assessments. Climate change related drought is also an emerging threat to elephants: Kenyan wildlife officials recently reported that drought now kills 20x more elephants than poaching, with 179 elephants succumbing to dehydration in just the first half of 2022. An estimated 11,000 elephants use the corridor as a key migratory route, and over 2,000 elephants use the space as a permanent home.

° Giraffa tippelskirchi 

MAASAI GIRAFFE

Giraffes, the silent giants of the savannah, are pivotal to the health of the ecosystem at our Kasigau Corridor project. With their 6 foot long necks, giraffes feed on and prune the top browse of the iconic, thorny Acacia trees. In this way, giraffes don’t compete with other smaller herbivores for food, and open up the canopy so that plants below can receive more light. In reciprocation, giraffes help spread acacia seeds across the savannah as they migrate. In the last 30 years, giraffe populations across Africa have decreased by over 40% and there are now only around 100,000 giraffes left in Africa. Climate change related droughts, habitat loss and fragmentation, trophy hunting and poaching for giraffe skins and tails are all contributing factors to their decline.

° Panthera leo

LION

Lions are apex predators, and perform the critical job of managing herbivore populations. Without lions, ecosystems become unbalanced, and unchecked populations of zebras, gazelles, and antelopes inevitably overgraze grasslands, leading to habitat degradation. By going after the weakest members of the herd (often those carrying parasites, disease, or genetic defects) lions help to maintain healthy, resilient populations and prevent the spread of disease. Despite this importance, lion populations continue to dwindle globally due to poaching and habitat loss caused by human activities. Worldwide, there are only an estimated 30-40,000 mature lions left in Africa, and they are listed as Vulnerable to extinction on the IUCN. At any given time, there are 15-30 lions in our project area.

° Gyps africanus

WHITE BACKED VULTURE

The White-backed vulture, a critically endangered species at our protected area in Kenya, is critical to maintaining ecosystem health. It may not be the most glamorous of jobs, but as the “garbage men'' of the Savannas, vultures remove toxins from the environment that are harmful to both humans and other species. Despite this importance, 70% of all African vulture species are endangered. Certain medications for cattle, such as Diclofenac, are poisonous to vultures who eat their remains. Vultures are also sometimes intentionally poisoned by poachers who don’t want the flock of birds to give away the location of an illegally killed animal. The loss of vultures ricochets through the food web and detrimentally affects many species, including humans. Without vultures, other scavengers like rats and feral dogs can fill their ecological niche, which leads to harmful diseases being transmitted back to, and in some instances, killing humans. In the case of vultures, it is clear that wildlife works to maintain ecosystem and human health. In partnership with local communities, we are committed to protecting endangered vulture species and the Kasigau Corridor they inhabit.

FOCAL

WILDLIFE SPECIES

The project area is now home to an incredibly diverse population of wildlife including more than 300 species of birds, 20 species of bats, and over 50 species of large mammals including critical populations of IUCN Red List species such as the Grevy's Zebra and African Wild Dog.

The Kasigau Corridor is composed of over 200,000 hectares of dryland Acacia-Commiphora forest

Many community members rely on Acacia and Commiphora trees to create charcoal, which is then used to cook meals. Our eco-charcoal factory now helps sustainably create charcoal without cutting down trees, and currently produces around a thousand 0.5kg briquettes/ week .

The incredible baobab tree (also known as the Tree of Life) dots the endless horizons of the Kasigau Corridor. As the world’s largest succulent, it can also store over 1000 gallons of water in its trunk and can live for over a thousand years. The baobab tree helps provide shade and critical habitat for wildlife, and is important to the cultural traditions of the local community.  

​THE FOREST

KASIGAU FAQ

For more information about our project development approach, visit Our Process

  • At the start of the project, unplanned slash-and-burn expansion for cattle ranching was the main driver of larger scale deforestation in the area. The project activities have been successful at stopping this illegal activity, since community land owners now have an alternative revenue stream from carbon sales. 

  • Wildlife Works does not restrict activities of community members. Our conservation strategy is founded on holistically partnering with the local communities who choose to protect their surrounding forest by using carbon revenues to fund their self-determined social and economic development plans. Completely stopping deforestation is an unrealistic goal when people live in close proximity to  a forest. Decreasing the rate of deforestation in the project area is the expected goal. Although illegal charcoal burning and poaching have always been and remain a consistent threat, these activities have been dramatically reduced by daily foot and air patrols. Sustainable jobs and economic development that carbon revenue provides to the wider community also curbs reliance on extractive forms of livelihood. The project has proven to reduce deforestation against its validated baseline every year since the start of the project because community development investments have helped to curb the communities’ reliance on extraction. Additional proof that the project has been successful in protecting the forest and wildlife is the return of elephants to the area soon after the project started. Currently there are over 11,000 elephants in the Tsavo ecosystem with about 2,000 of them using the corridor as their permanent home. 

  • The reference area was delineated through requirements outlined in sections 6.3.1 and 6.3.2 of the VM0009 methodology, “Methodology for Avoided Mosaic Deforestation for Tropical Forests.”


    A common misconception is that the reference area must exactly match the socioeconomic conditions of the project area. However, the project area, by its very definition, consists of remaining intact forest to be conserved.  


    In places like Kenya where population pressures and unsustainable development patterns lead to complete deforestation, standing forests tend to have few to no community members living in proposed project areas. Instead, community members are typically surrounding intact forests, which is why these forests are still standing, but are under immense threat from surrounding resource extraction pressures. So in order to predict future deforestation in a standing forest, one must find a geographically and ecologically similar reference area to demonstrate what will happen in the proposed project area. 


    The reference area in Taita Hills was used to calculate the baseline for the project because of its similar ecological properties . The reference area also has nearly identical land tenure to that of the project area, as it is bounded by Tsavo West national park to the west, Tsavo East national park to the Northeast, and group-owned ranches on all other boundaries.
    This reference area has a larger population than the project area (around 100,000 people) because this represents the community members that have moved in and deforested the area, and is a very similar to the population (also around 100,000 people) that would most likely move into the Kasigau Corridor if not for the REDD+ project. The inherent logic behind REDD+ necessitates that the reference area show what would happen if deforestation pressures went unabated. If the project area was not protected, the logical conclusion is that people would move into the area and convert it to subsistence farms. As of today, the project area only has community members surrounding it. Therefore, the forest remains protected, but remains under threat from surrounding deforestation pressures.


    Kasigau has been independently verified 9 times and is the most visited and awarded REDD+ project in the world.

  • The community land owners are native Taita Kenyan families, the majority of whom have lived in the area for generations. Wildlife Works recognizes the complex socioeconomic and political history of the region, and the structural inequalities it has created. Our community engagement practices and governance structure recognizes and takes these disparities and complexities they create into account. 

  • There are over 100,000 community residents that live in the Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project zone. It should be expected that  each village and each individual will have varying degrees of knowledge and direct interaction with the project. Since starting the REDD+ project in 2010, community engagement activities have only increased. 

    The core of the community democratic governance structure is the Local Carbon Committees and the Community Trust. Project activities are determined by a unique Community Trust model that centers the needs of villagers to allot revenues from the sale of carbon credits in the Wildlife Works REDD+ Project. Each self-determined community project evolves in a democratic process that ensures transparency and equity. The Community Trust was set up in 2011, with standard operating guidelines regularly updated to account for community needs and legal/regulatory changes. The Trust’s core decision-making are Locational Carbon Committees (LCCs). Each LCC represents a village and is composed of 7-9 democratically elected members, with equitable representation in gender, age and physical ability . The LCCs meet four times a year to decide and vote on projects to benefit the Kasigua communities. They are advised by non-voting representatives from local and county governments, for example an engineer from a water board to provide guidance on pipeline construction.

  • Wildlife Works had been partnering with community members in the area for 10 years prior to the start of the REDD+ project. Proper and thorough FPIC was conducted with the community land owners and community members for them to consent to the REDD+ project.  We believe FPIC is a continuous process, and does not end once communities give their consent for the start of a project. Read more about our continuous, fluid FPIC process   here
    Wildlife Works’ REDD+ projects follow the Cancun Safeguards for Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC), a process protected by international human rights standards that states, ‘all peoples have the right to self-determination’ and ‘all peoples have the right to freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.’ 

MAI NDOMBE

 DRC

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Mai Ndombe REDD+ project protects 300,000 hectares of tropical rainforest.

Learn more

PACIFIC ECOREGION

COLOMBIA

In the Pacific Coastal Ecoregion of Colombia, we have 3 projects in development to protect 500,000 hectares of forest.

Learn more

EXPLORE OUR OTHER PROJECTS

ORIGINS

The Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project serves as a critical wildlife corridor between the two halves of Kenya’s largest national park: Tsavo East and Tsavo West. 

In the late 1990’s, the dry-land forest of the Kasigau Corridor had become degraded by a combination of factors including cattle overgrazing, clear cutting of trees for charcoal  and illegal hunters easily accessing the land. Centuries of exploitation and marginalization had pushed these community members to a breaking point, and their pursuit to meet their basic needs was causing them to live in an unsustainable way that destroyed the very environment they relied on.

THE PROJECT

With this foundational  project, Wildlife Works broke the mold of the traditional (and failing) fortress model    of conservation, and pioneered a new method of conservation: one that places    communities at the center of decision making.  The goal of this project was to alleviate pressure on the ecosystem through job creation. 

 

By protecting the forest and earning revenue from carbon credit sales, we partner with the local community of the Kasigau Corridor region to co-create long-term jobs that replace the unsustainable sources of income such as poaching, subsistence farming, and illegal tree harvesting. ​​This includes jobs that protect wildlife, create eco-friendly products, support education, and co-develop conservation agriculture techniques with farmers.

 

Through an innovative model of community governance, the communities of Kasigau establish their own priorities for utilizing carbon revenue, resulting in sustained    investments in scholarships for children, school infrastructure, water infrastructure, and other programs to improve the economy, health, and well-being of the community.   Learn more about    the impacts, community, wildlife, and forest of this project in the sections below.   For detailed information on the verification, third-party validation, and historic issuances of this project, see the Useful Links section,  or explore the Frequently Asked Questions section.

bottom of page