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Story

Welcome to EMAUA

Having made its footing in the climate action movement since 2015, EMAUA’s ultimate aim is to develop replicable products and techniques based on the use of free local resources that significantly improve people’s lives. In this regard, we reforest through indigenous tree planting in inhabited areas to mitigate the impact of climate change for those who had least contributed to it: rural communities of the global south.

Western Kenya – with a tropical humid climate and overall low socio-economic rural communities – has proved to bear tremendous potential for climate action through reforestation with the rural communities as a major actor. In this context, our tree planting activities coupled with teachings on more efficient use of local resources – such as regenerative agriculture – have the potential to address both climate issues and living standard disparities.

To our contributors, we aim to be a vector of hope towards a fairer and more sustainable world, whereby striving to display a most transparent overview of the impact of their contribution on the ground. However, despite the possibility of off-setting carbon emissions, we are committed to advocating for a more responsible consumption from the side of the global north without which our world stands no chance of remaining under the 1.5°C threshold set by the Paris agreement.

Mission

We aim to develop replicable products and techniques based on the use of free local resources that significantly improve rural communities’ living standards in Western Kenya. And to plant hundreds of thousands of trees in biodiverse ecosystems.

Facts

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Trees Planted
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Tree Species
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People Sensitized
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Monthly Donors
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Rocket Stoves Built
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Beneficiaries

Activities

We plant hundreds of thousands of trees in biodiverse ecosystems in the tropics. But there, most rural communities remain poor despite local resources that could greatly improve their lives. So with the funds raised through tree planting, we also work on improving their self-reliance. Here are the four activities we perform to do so:

Reforestation is not just a buzz. And tree planting doesn’t just mean any tree. Indigenous trees in biodiverse ecosystems are depended on by the local fauna and flora – they’ve co-evolved for millions of years – and therefore, they should be given the top priority. Moreover, tree planting in the tropics stores up to 6x more CO2 than in temperate areas, and it presents two massive benefits globally: it helps curb climate change as well as the biodiversity collapse. At the local level, trees improve soil fertility, increase soil water retention, provide medicine, and increase biodiversity, fuel source, and food source. How we work: we collect a yearly increasing number of species in a radius of 120 km, that we cultivate in our tree nursery until maturation, then we freely distribute them to farmers. To be eligible, farmers receive training on good practices, after which we visit them to perform an in-depth assessment of their ability to provide conducive conditions, and after plantation, we conduct a close follow-up to ensure the best growth rates.     > LEARN MORE

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When food is little, the well-being of families declines, and even children are hit hard in their academic performance at school. This perpetuates the cycle of poverty, where poor families become poorer. In Busia County, the main drives for hunger are climate change, depleting soil fertility, and inadequate agricultural knowledge, which results in low yields. Using locally available resources presents a high potential in addressing food shortages in rural communities as well as increasing their self-reliance. Through a combination of indigenous and scientific knowledge, farmers are taught about regenerative agriculture. Our techniques aim to improve soil structure, increase crop yields, curb hunger and generate income.    > LEARN MORE

Children are tomorrow’s adults, and they should understand issues like climate change and the essential role of biodiversity in humans’ existence to make appropriate decisions in the future. We visit primary and secondary level institutions to sensitize them on these matters alongside tree planting and conservation. At a later stage, we revisit them to plant trees with them in the school compound, leaving them with a long-term reminder of our teachings. School teachers, as well as pupils, welcome us with eagerness, which creates a conducive environment for learning. And because of the challenge faced by their canteens regarding the need for firewood, we also offer to freely build for them rocket stoves that reduce their firewood consumption by two-thirds compared to the traditional 3-stone stove.    > LEARN MORE

Tree planting is good. But combining it with preventing deforestation is even better. However, nearly half of the global population cooks on open fires and use firewood daily. Therefore, we freely build innovative rocket stoves for individuals and institutions using locally available materials: termite mud, sawdust, and local blocks. These stoves use two-thirds less firewood than the traditional 3-stone stoves and produce minimal smoke, which in turn reduces smoke-related diseases. We also train willing beneficiaries to replicate a second one for him/herself as well as to help his/her community. Due to the availability of materials, our stoves are cheap to make, and their building is particularly easy to learn.    > LEARN MORE

History

2015

A self-sufficiency project or the birth of EMAUA

EMAUA Organization is founded by Julien Kauer in 2015 in Teso District, Malaba Kenya, as an Organic Food Self-sufficiency Program. Its aim is to feed the 300-individuals of Isegeretoto school population over 9-acre piece of land.

EMAUA is born out of the founder’s passion and the potential he saw in the more efficient use of local resources to improve people’s lives. Following a first visit in 2012 – to assess the potential of Tithonia diversifolia (Emaua in Ateso language), a wild plant for its fertilizing properties – he realized that better organic farming knowledge could dramatically improve the living standards of rural communities.

From day one, Mr. Kauer assimilates into the community, lives in a traditional house and strives to learn Swahili language.

2016

Inception of the schools' sensitization campaign

During the second year, EMAUA successfully produces 21% of Isegeretoto’s food needs, and their use of Tithonia diversifolia – named emaua in the Teso language – as green manure shows promising results. However, the production is challenged by an increasingly unstable climate due to climate change, causing high rainfalls and therefore, resulting in week-long flooding followed by a 9-month drought (instead of 4 months normally).
 
Based on their results, EMAUA starts a community education program that reaches 2,000 people in one year. By visiting churches and schools mainly, they sensitize larger congregations on more efficient use of local resources. The program focuses on soil health and biological pest control in organic farming.
 

They also start doing trials and improvements on an improved stove that could reduce firewood consumption for households.

2017

Establishment of the tree nursery

EMAUA receives its first unrestricted large donation, that will be allocated to the acquisition of a piece of land and a 200 cc motorbike. The new vehicle contributes tremendously towards reaching 17,000 people through the community education program.
 
They complete the “Grand Hut”, an 800 square foot grass-thatched house – among the biggest in the region – built to offer accommodation to visitors and volunteers. A visiting mechanical engineer develops prototypes for improved “rocket stoves” that save on firewood and reduces smoke, using refractory bricks and concrete.
 

They launch a tree nursery project that manages to produce 15,000 indigenous trees that were freely distributed to individual farmers and schools.

2018

Start of the improved stoves building campaign

After 3 years of trials, the organization finally manages to produce a viable prototype of an improved stove named “rocket stove”, made from local resources only. The stove reduces by two-thirds the use of firewood for households and is attracting a lot of attention from privates and institutions.

The tree nursery manages to produce another 15,000 indigenous trees and distribute them freely to beneficiaries. The team starts feeling the need for a new responsible, to better follow up on the tree planting activities from the side of the beneficiaries. The community education program reaches out to 9,000 pupils.

In Switzerland, EMAUA Switzerland hosts the 6th edition of a worldwide event called “The Meal” in Fribourg.

2019

Creation of EMAUA Center

EMAUA is half a decade old and purchases a 4 acre (1.6 ha) piece of land in Musoma (Busia county). This piece of land is meant to allow for the creation of a center that will aim to teach a more efficient use of local resources for better self-reliance of the communities in organic farming and other fields related to human basic needs. It manages to plant 15’640 trees of 27 species with 103 beneficiaries.

The year 2019 also marks the end of EMAUA’s constitutive project, the Isegeretoto Organic Food Self-sufficiency Project, as the organization relocates to its new field in Musoma and hands over the project to the school. The organization manages to hire its first field officer, who takes over the duties of teaching numerous institutions, collecting tree orders, and following up on projects after tree plantation. It now counts 9 employees in Kenya and 4 volunteers in Switzerland.

The advice and support by a digital marketing professional allows the organization to upgrade its website and to self-host its first crowdfunding campaign.

2020

Business model improvement

The organization improves its business model from being a solely humanitarian organization to becoming a mixed model between the former and a social project providing services that answer the growing need of particulars in Switzerland to plant trees globally. The surplus funds finance activities like community education, the building of improved stoves, and the teaching of organic farming, which are all provided free of charge to beneficiaries in Busia County.
 
EMAUA achieves the production and distribution of 30,256 trees of 32 different species and the building of 380 improved stoves in 114 households and institutions. All 30K planting tubes are self-produced using bamboo. Unfortunately, due to covid-19, the community education program is put on hold.
 

The 6-month volunteering stay of an agronomist develops our understanding of compost production and induces the extensive use of the Cuban organopònicos – raised beds with high contents of compost – in our center for vegetable production. The difference in terms of vegetable health is apparent, and it calls for further improvements, especially coming from the side of a growing movement of farmers in Québec: market gardening.

2021

Upscaling the tree planting

Its crowdfunding strategy allows EMAUA to double up the number of trees planted as compared to the previous year, for the 2nd consecutive year. 61,113 trees of 32 species are distributed to 335 beneficiaries. Improvements in terms of substrate composition are made, that improve dramatically the tree seedling growth. Composted waste material from a neighboring sugarcane factory makes up 60% of it.

EMAUA manages to build 402 rocket stoves, that reduce by 66% families’ and institutions’ use of firewood, summing the total to 834 since 2018. Our sensitization department resumes its activities in November–after covid restrictions were lifted concerning school visitation from outsiders–and manages to sensitize pupils of 18 schools about the ecological importance of indigenous trees.

EMAUA counts 13 full time employees in Kenya and creates a media production department, that allows it to improve its visibility towards followers on the social media.