How Bamboo is Keeping Families in Kenya Safe | doGood

Planting bamboo in landslide-prone areas could save many lives in Kenya.

According to the World Economic Forum, landslides displace thousands of people and kill hundreds more each year in Kenya.  The possibility of this occurring during the country’s rainy season is a concern for many.

Samuel Karanja, a farmer in Kenya, claims that Kenya’s deforested slopes are worsening the problem.  Tea factories are cutting down and burning the trees for their own use, but fewer trees increase the odds of a detrimental landslide.

A simple solution is to plant new trees.  Community leader Zachary Muriu says that planting, “bamboo along with crops on hilly land and along river banks,” which will help to prevent soil erosion.

1,000 families in Kenya have followed that advice by planting bamboo on their farms. These efforts will keep them safe and restore deforested areas in the country.

But farmers stand to gain even more than landslide prevention when planting bamboo.  These plants can also help farmers earn more money.

Bamboo serves many purposes and can be used as material for furniture making and home construction.  Bamboo plants can also be used as fence poles.

According to Karanja, a single mother bamboo plant can help farmers earn 100,000 Kenyan shillings, or $983, each year.  With enough plants, the extra money could add up and be helpful.

Landslides are a serious concern, but the innovative farmers in Kenya have a solution that will keep their families safe while generating a profit.

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