System User Spotlight: October 2020

Hey Greenstand community! Welcome to our second System User Spotlight! Today we will be introducing a long-time friend and partner, Beau Miliken, co-founder and co-CEO of Kijani Forestry. 

Kijani Forestry specializes in the sustainable reforestation of fruit and fuelwood trees in and around Gulu, Uganda. They train tree growers to plant indigenous, biodiverse tree species. Kijani has developed a more efficient method of charcoal production, so that when fuelwood trees are eventually harvested, the energy they provide lasts longer and costs the consumer less than traditional methods.

Kijani was born when Beau and co-founder and co-CEO Quinn Neely saw widespread deforestation, and therefore skyrocketing charcoal prices, across Uganda. Changes to the physical environment have had dire consequences on local climate; dry and rainy seasons have shifted so much that farmers can no longer rely on regular rainfall patterns. Rural communities throughout the nation rely on charcoal for heat and fuel, and unfortunately have no other alternative. Unaffordable charcoal, especially in conjunction with climate change, is extremely detrimental to the economic, physical, and mental health of these villages. 

Kijani works with rural Ugandan communities to establish small tree nurseries and woodlots. Villagers are provided with specialized kilns and trained in sustainable charcoal production techniques. Tree growers are also trained in farmer-managed natural regeneration (FMNR) and other agroforestry techniques to ensure that trees are replaced once they have been harvested for charcoal production. This method also protects old-growth forests from being harvested out of economic necessity. 

Greenstand and Kijani’s missions intersect with our shared focus on community development. Rather than donating money and essentials directly to our farmers on the ground, we provide them with the skills and tools to earn a sustainable income while improving their local forests and other ecosystems. Together, Greenstand and Kijani have tracked over 12,000 trees across various villages in Uganda. Our next step is full implementation across all Kijani project sites.

With partners like Kijani, Greenstand is one step closer to our goal of growing and tracking a global forest. Saving the world takes a village, but ours is growing every day. Be sure to join us next month for our third System User Spotlight!

Erin Baker

Communications Lead, Greenstand