Mtwara Francis Kariuki
In 2015, Mtwara Francis Kariuki helped start a TIST Cluster in his community that now includes 20 active Small Groups. Kariuki was initially drawn to TIST for its conservation efforts, specifically those that conserve firewood and water. He has farmed his entire life, learning the tricks of the trade from his parents. Now, Karuiki integrates his traditional knowledge of farming with modernized TIST techniques such as conservation farming and raised seedbeds. His grove is filled with a combination of fruit, indigenous, and commercial tree species along with cash crops such as tea plants.
Kariuki actively recruits members by talking to other farmers at meetings, church services, or community announcements. He is also a TIST trainer and helps to teach TIST farming methods to new members. Kariuki also does some work on the side for his fellow members: he takes less experienced members on tours of his farm to offer advice and even allows members to plant their seedlings on his farm until they reach maturity and can be moved.
Kariuki has immensely enjoyed his newfound collaboration with TIST. It’s no surprise Kariuki has managed to create such a successful Cluster; one conversation alone is enough to witness his charisma and kindheartedness. He is particularly excited about energy-saving stoves, especially because they are a much safer alternative for the cooks. He is excited to continue introducing TIST methods to his neighbors and help his community thrive!