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Kenya-Japan – Social forestry in Africa


Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) in collaboration with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

Country (ies):

18 countries in eastern, central and southern Africa, namely: Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Other self-supported beneficiaries included Ghana and Madagascar.


Environmental resilience and improved quality of life are development issues that require regional cooperation. The entry point is Social forestry or forestry for the people, as a participatory concept and tool which not only integrate biological and socio-economic diversity prevailing in the area, but is also responsive to subsistence and development needs of rural and non-rural communities. It recognizes capacity building as key for growth among African countries to enhance awareness, understanding and actions.


The declining state of the environment, particularly the forests, woodlands and drylands in Africa has been a major concern globally and at the local level. Capacity building stands out as a major measure to enhancing environmental resilience and improving the quality of life in Africa. For about two decades, the Government of Japan through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) within its "Environment Pillar" has been committed to improving both Kenya's and sub-Saharan Africa's capacity to undertake social forestry development. This has been achieved, first in collaboration with Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) through three major Technical Cooperation and Grant Aid Projects, namely: Social Forestry Training Project (SFTP – 1986 -1997), Social Forestry Extension Model Development Project (SOFEM – 1997-2002) and Intensified Social Forestry Project (2004 – 2009), with emphasis on technical and participatory capacity building initiatives. Secondly, in Africa, with the experience and expertise gained, KEFRI has been able to facilitate regional collaboration by promoting and enhancing adoption of social forestry through capacity building based on common socio-economic and biophysical characteristics within the region.

It is within this context that JICA under its Third Country Training Programme (TCTP) initiated and has been supporting KEFRI to implement the Regional Training Course on Promotion of Social Forestry in Africa (1995-2005), Regional Training Course on Enhancing Adoption of Social Forestry in Africa (2005-2009), and presently Regional Training course on Mitigating Climate Change in Africa through Social Forestry. The eastern, central and southern Africa countries involved include: Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.


Coordination and Implementation
The Regional Training Programme was jointly implemented by KEFRI within the Social Forestry Training Centre (SFTC) and JICA Kenya Office KEFRI

Implementation under: Director (1)
Assistant Director (1)
Training Manager (1)
Training Officers (2)
Training Assistants (3)
Support staff (12)
JICA Kenya Office Chief Resident Representative (1)
Assistant resident Representative (1)
Senior Programme Officer (1)

The senior members from both organisations constituted the Training Committee to oversee efficient and effective implementation to realise the desired impacts and compliance with the Records of Discussion (RoD)


KEFRI takes pride in the ultra-modern research and training facilities and equipment, which were provided under Grant Aid and Technical cooperation by JICA in two phases, 1986/1987 and 1995. However, these are complemented by facilities in relevant other institutions to enhance the experience sharing and learning process.

Course eligibility

The applicant should:
1. Be nominated by their respective organization.
2. Be in good health, both physically and mentally, to follow and complete the course.
3. Have a working experience of three years in forestry or other related fields.
4. Hold B.Sc. or Diploma or equivalent in forestry or other related fields.
5. Have a good command of spoken and written English.
6. Be less than forty-five (45) years of age.
7. Be presently engaged in forest-related extension planning, implementation or monitoring as administrators, managers, trainers and extension officers within Government or NGOs.

Course Objectives

The main objectives of the course were to:

–Facilitate learning and sharing knowledge, skills and motivation to identify, plan and implement effective actions on promoting and enhancing adoption of social forestry.–Provide a forum to foster regional collaboration on technological development of social forestry

Course Content

•Consisted of 5 interactive themes covering 32 topics, 18 field activities and about 85 sessions

•Content was developed within local context to remain relevant and interactive

–Introductory concepts
–Technological development
–Action planning
–Supporting topics and field visits

Course methodology
•Built on a participatory approach to ensure a balance between interactive presentations, discussions, application, field visits and evaluation

•A detailed course programme guided implementation and ensured a balance between the various themesResource personsThe course drew resources from at least 17 different institutions, farmers and participants to draw on their diverse, comparative and practical experiences. These included governmental agencies, civil society, private sector and international agencies (e.g. ICRAF). KEFRI's contribution alone, accounted for about 54% of the resource person.

Course evaluation
•Four different tools of evaluation developed and used:
–Extra Evaluation Form, which gives a feedback on performance of each resource person
–After Course Evaluation Form, which accesses logistical and immediate impact of the course
–Inter-participant Assessment Questionnaire, which accesses each participants ability to contribute as in:

•Technical, Initiative, Communication, Leadership, Analytical, Participation and Facilitation skills–Reviews (day to day discussions) Outcomes:
•3 phases of the regional training were consecutively and successfully implemented in 14 years (1995-2008)
•The regional training evolved in scope from "promotion" to "adoption of Social forestry". It is now a household name in the region
•294 out of 654 participants from 18 countries in eastern, central, and southern Africa trained. Thus an achievement of about 102.3% was realised •Created a demand for training in Social forestry. This is because out of 654 eligible applicants, only 294.
•KEFRI's capacity to organise and implement the regional training has been enhanced
•Special training programmes for Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Namibia, Madagascar and Tanzania were implemented on request, thus a recognition of the importance of the focus of the regional training
•5 Social forestry study tours for Japanese university students (102) and professors (4) initiated and successfully implemented (2002-2009). The Study tour focuses on the youth and aims at enhancing the cordial relationship between Japan and Kenya, as well as bringing with it the diversity, joy of friendship and mutual exposure to challenges in environmental, socio-cultural and international relations that are appealing to the Japanese university students and Kenyan communities.
•4social forestry intern students from Japanese universities accepted and supported for a period of 2 to 5 months to undertake studies in various social forestry and ecotourism themes. One such internship student (Mr. Hayato Sato) is now an employee of JICA in Tokyo, Japan•Climate change is a looming challenge to most developing countries in Africa. Request and preparation to JICA to support a new phase (2009-2013) to Mitigate climate change through social forestry was approved in November 2009 and preparations for the 1st Regional Training Course Mitigating Climate Change in Africa is on-going

Aid Effectiveness:

Comprehensive Joint Terminal Evaluations of TCTP in line with JICA's evaluation system as well as end of course evaluations has been instrumental in informing collaborating institutions and providing the overall impact and relevance of the regional training course in terms of course delivery and applicability of lessons learnt. The value of planning, timely interventions, interactive discussions, and field visits to selected sites greatly enhanced the learning process. Commitment by all participating countries in nominating participants, their representation and participation (ambassadors and high commissioners), the minister (host country Kenya) and other dignitaries during official functions of the training enhanced commitment and status to a noble cause for the benefit of the region, and its endeavour for sustainable rural development.

Emerging challenges

Increasing demand as reflected in the number of eligible applicants against the available opportunity. [657 vs. 294]

•Likelihood of very few promising actions proposed during the training being ever fully implemented by ex-participants
•Ensuring the training remains relevant and interactive to respond to the dynamic needs and aspirations of the beneficiaries •Ensuring gender balance

Capacity Development:

With growth, come professional challenges to enhance awareness, understanding and actions The most successful organisations in the future are those that build the right teams through a deliberate capacity building programmeHow we embrace participation in social forestry activities is what gives it value and creates a demand for peoples' involvement or participation


The course was held once a year• The course covered a period of 5 weeks (33-35 days)It was held in months of September to October or January – February. These were preferred due to prevailing dry weather conditions to depict the true ecological conditions in Kenya and similar areas of the participating countries

Budget (Optional):

Japan International Cooperation Agency's (JICA) contribution to 14 courses in 14 years is about US$ 1 million•Kenya Forestry Research Institute's (KEFRI) Ksh 12.8 million

Name of Primary Contact Person:

Michael Mukolwe; Josephine Wanjiku;. Dr. Ebby Chagala-Odera; Dr. Ben E.N. Chikamai

Title of Primary Contact Person:

Senior Scientist/Training Manager; Senior Scientist/Training Officer; Assistant Director; Director


Nairobi, Kenya