Kenya Luke Allana is one of TIST’s most enthusiastic and committed trainers. Although his surname is “Kenya”, Kenya Luke is Ugandan.
Dust swirls up behind the thin, bald tire as the dirt bike bounces along the unpaved path. Seated on a threadbare cushion behind the driver, Kenya Luke Allana feels each lurch and bump. His mind is preoccupied, however; he’s on the way to his first TIST quantification in northern Uganda.
Although nearly 100% of the region’s inhabitants rely on subsistence farming to survive, the two-decade insurgency of the Lord’s Resistance Army has resulted in a tiny fraction of the land being used for agriculture. Last year 800,000 refugees streamed across the border from South Sudan, pushing an already weakened system to its breaking point. A generation of conflict has resulted in completely denuded landscapes, contributing to a vicious, self-reinforcing cycle of drought and land degradation. Kenya Luke believes he can change all that.
As a community leader during the conflict years, Kenya Luke feels a sense of responsibility for his neighbors. A brief conversation quickly reveals just how much he believes in TIST and tree planting as a way to address many of the problems facing the people of Amuru District. Primarily, Kenya Luke is seeking to find new sources of income for his community. Fruit trees provide multiple sources of income both from their yields and through access to carbon markets offered by TIST; he sees TIST as an opportunity to diversify the region’s economic activities beyond unreliable subsistence agriculture. Planting trees is also viewed as a source of dignity, he adds saying, “When you plant trees, people will not look at you as someone who is a desperate person. People will start respecting you.”
In his rich, gravely voice, Kenya Luke talks about the future. First, he wants TIST to spread to every sub-county in Amuru. From there, he wants to spread even further to barren lands in neighboring districts and even into South Sudan. Trees will provide income, windbreak, soil restoration, shade, food, stability, and beauty. His plan is ambitious, but he has the training, determination, and resources he needs. He’s getting close to the grove, and it all starts with his first quantification.
Kenya Luke and the hundreds of women and men who count live TIST trees in Uganda, Kenya, India, and Tanzania are proud to serve over 88,000 farmers. They are making a difference in preserving the planet. Your support, encouragement, and ideas help us continue to grow. Thank you!
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