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Loans keep women afloat as they plant fast-vanishing mangroves in Kenya by Dominic Kirui December 06,2021   |  Source: Reuters

When she was growing up, Tima Abudhi remembers watching her neighbours cut away at the mangrove forests around her village on Pate Island, on Kenya's east coast, chopping down the coastal trees to build houses or to sell as timber.

As the mangroves disappeared, so did the fish that live and breed among their roots - a disaster for the fishing village of Kizingitini, recalls the now 55-year-old mother of five.

Today, the women of Kizingitini no longer have to struggle to both make a living and conserve the mangroves, thanks to a loan scheme that helps them keep food on the table so they can afford to continue planting.

Lamu County is home to more than 60% of Kenya's mangroves, according to a 10-year national management plan published in 2017 by the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute.

Overall, mangroves make up 3% of forests in the country, which lost about a fifth of its mangroves between 1985 and 2009, the equivalent of about 450 hectares per year.

Sumaiya Harunany, founder of the Blue Earth Organization, a community-based conservation group, said destruction of the country's mangroves has been driven by a combination of factors, including demand for timber, infrastructure development and spreading urbanisation.

But according to NRT figures, more

Theme(s): Communities and Organisations.

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