NDF - Financing for climate change and development projects

NCF: Mount Elgon Integrated Watershed Management Project [NDF C3 B12]

Improve living conditions and resilience to the effects of climate change among communities in Mt. Elgon water catchment area.

Mount Elgon Integrated Watershed Management Project
Project ref: NDF C3 B12

Nordic Partner: Vi Skogen (Sweden)
Local Partner: Vi Agroforestry
Total Project Cost: EUR 385,440
NCF Financing: EUR 227,751
Agreement Signed: 5 November 2010
Project Type: Climate change adaptation
Duration: 29 months (completed)

Project Objective

Improve living conditions and resilience to the effects of climate change among communities in Mt. Elgon water catchment area.


Mt. Elgon is one of Kenya’s five major water sources that influence the Kenyan, the Ugandan and the wider Nile Basin ecosystems and is a source for at least 12 rivers and streams. Climate change effects such as flooding, droughts, reduced water availability, massive soil erosion, loss of soil moisture and biodiversity loss is likely to put the Mt. Elgon district’s ecosystem services under severe stress. In addition, land use change from forest to agriculture has reduced volume in the downstream water flow creating water stress. The Mt. Elgon district’s economy majorly depends on agriculture, but the agricultural production is inefficient since it is affected by low land productivity due to decreasing soil fertility, unsuitable agricultural practices and erosion problems.

The project reached the target of 7000 households and established Sustainable Agricultural Land use Management (SALM) practices that mitigated land degradation and facilitated households’ adaptation to climate change, and empowered community based organisations to participate in protection of riverbanks, springs, wells and dams. The SALM practices have focused on agroforestry and tree planting as well as organisational development to ensure the sustainability of the interventions.

As a result of the project, 3,800 households have been trained on sustainable land management practices with 80% adoption rate. In addition, 4,400 households have been trained on improved crop and husbandry measures with 3,394 adopting the methods. The project has established 186 group nurseries each providing 3,000 seedlings. By the end of 2013, 245,000 indigenous trees were planted on farms and riverbanks. 7,000 households have been sensitized on soil and water conservation methods with 4,000 households adopting the methods. 

Relevance for Climate Change

The project has mitigated the negative impacts of climate change through: increased awareness about climate change and its effects; enhanced sustainability of farming systems; efficient utilisation of water; reduced pressure on Mt. Elgon forest ecosystem; and improved resilience to climate change. The project has built capacity among rural communities for better: natural resource management; climate variability adaptation; water management technologies and protection of water sources.

Innovation and Knowledge Transfer

The project’s innovativeness was based on: i) the improved technologies envisaged in the SALM practices; and ii) the fact that the informed and empowered farmers have been supported with the aim of creating local organizations where they can partner or create linkages to service providers to establish enhanced adaptive capacity of the community to climate change related risks. The project has acted as a learning ground for government and non-governmental actors and farmers in Kenya and in the East African region. There are great possibilities to replicate and scale up the project. Farmers learn from seeing and therefore farmer exchange visits have been arranged and, apart from using the already existing agroforestry training centre in Kitale, other learning sites have been established for demonstrations.

For more information

Vi Skogen
Vi Agroforestry
Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI)
Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI)