With the help of The PaperSeed Foundation and matching donors, TKP expands businesses to support education and health care programs in Kilgoris for decades to come.
Forty acres of eucalyptus trees swaying in the Kenyan breeze. Hundreds of seedlings in a tree nursery. A local economy growing and supporting the education of rural Kenyan students.
It’s happening, through The Kilgoris Project and our partner, The PaperSeed Foundation. The foundation is a non-profit dedicated to strengthening educational opportunities for children and young people in resource-lacking communities around the world. They first partnered with TKP in 2014 to support the completion of our Nentekeny Preschool campus , where 140 children currently attend school.
This spring, PaperSeed awarded a second grant to TKP, for $25,000, which was matched with another $30,000 from a generous group of donors. In August, TKP used the funds to purchase the land that will hold our future farm—growing our farm operations from seven to 40 acres. The land is just the first step in creating a growing and profitable business in Kenya that will begin to cover TKP’s Kenyan education and health care expenses over the next five to ten years.
“The tree farm is a new kind of project for PaperSeed, and we are enthusiastic about the promise of long-term sustainability that it offers not only for The Kilgoris Project, but the community and the families it serves,” said Aliyya Mattos, executive director, The PaperSeed Foundation. “Education and economic means can transform regions, and empower people in remarkable ways—we’re looking forward to seeing that continue in Kilgoris.”
Transformation through Trees
Eucalyptus trees are a major commodity in Kilgoris. They are used for building materials and telephone poles because of how quickly they grow (eight years from seedling to harvest) and their strength. TKP’s business plan, developed with guidance from the Kenyan Forestry Research Institute and the Kenya Forestry Service, calls for planting three and a half acres of land per year for eight years on a rotating basis to produce a reliable annual harvest that will be sold to support TKP’s growing schools and health care initiatives.
“It’s important that we build a tree farm and maintain the land in a way that is environmentally responsible and that benefits the entire community,” explains Tia McNelly, director of opportunity, The Kilgoris Project. “As part of our investment we will hire local laborers and protect a fresh water spring on the farm land. This will help keep the water source clean and allow both village residents and animals to access it safely.”
As more students attend TKP schools, income from the farm will continue to fuel TKP’s growth and help expand our vision of helping students forge transformative lives for themselves, their families and their communities.