Amsha Africa Foundation and Partners in Action
Africa, a continent of breathtaking beauty and unparalleled biodiversity, also faces a daunting challenge – the relentless march of land degradation in its semi-arid regions. This blog delves deep into the remarkable journey of the Amsha Africa Foundation, in collaboration with esteemed partners like Justdiggit.org and others. Together, they are taking on the herculean task of restoring Africa’s degraded landscapes using a simple yet ingenious technique: soil bunds.
The Vicious Cycle of Land Degradation
Land degradation and diminishing vegetation are trapped in a vicious cycle, with each exacerbating the other. As vegetation vanishes, it becomes increasingly arduous for new growth to take root. The soil becomes nutrient-starved, and its compacted top layer impedes water infiltration. This leads to a landscape marked by barrenness, erosion, flooding, and overall environmental degradation.
Reviving the Earth: The Role of Bunds
Bunds, often affectionately referred to as “earth smiles,” are the linchpin in reversing this bleak trajectory. These semi-circular soil structures are simple in design but profoundly effective in execution.
Key Benefits of Bunds:
- Improved Soil Moisture: Bunds capture rainwater, elevating soil moisture levels to create an ideal environment for vegetation to thrive.
- Erosion Prevention: By slowing down runoff water, bunds prevent soil erosion, safeguarding fertile topsoil.
- Enhanced Soil Fertility: Bunds act as nutrient reservoirs, fostering robust plant growth and regeneration.
- Local Climate Improvement: The shade and transpiration from the vegetation nurtured by bunds help moderate local temperatures, mitigating climate change effects.
Women prepare half-moon bunds in readiness for the coming rains in Olorika, Kajiado County. Photo Credit: Leon Lidigu
The Science Behind Temperature Buffering
Understanding the science behind bunds’ impact on temperature is crucial. The energy balance of a landscape is a delicate interplay between solar energy being used for evapotranspiration (latent heat flux) or contributing to air and soil heating (sensible heat flux).
Bunds, with their increased soil moisture, enable evapotranspiration, diverting solar energy toward cooling processes rather than heating the environment. This cooling effect benefits local and global climate efforts.
Regreening the Continent
Bunds play a pivotal role in the ambitious goal of regreening vast areas of degraded African landscapes.
Their undeniable success has given rise to dedicated “bund programs” that aim to scale up bund implementation, ensuring a greener, more sustainable future.
Image courtesy: Justdiggit
Supporting Bunds and Regreening
You can join this transformative journey by supporting bunds through Amsha Africa Foundation’s regreening platform. Here’s how:
Your contribution directly supports African farmers who dig these bunds. You’ll even receive a photo of your unique bund, witnessing the regreening process firsthand.
Photo Credit Franklin Lemasulani a PlantVillage field officer in Isiolo County.
Bund Benefits for the Environment and Communities
The impact of bunds extends far beyond aesthetics; they are catalysts for change:
- Cooling Effect: The shade and transpiration from vegetation cool both the soil and the surrounding air.
- Restoring the Water Cycle: Vegetation’s transpiration contributes to cloud formation, increasing the likelihood of rain and restoring the water cycle.
- Improved Water Availability: Vegetation’s root systems enhance soil porosity, enabling easier water infiltration and reducing evaporation.
- Enhanced Soil Quality: Increased vegetation enriches soil with organic matter and nutrients, vital for plant and tree growth.
- Erosion Prevention: Plant and tree roots retain the upper soil layer during heavy rainfall, preventing erosion.
- Carbon Sequestration: Vegetation removes CO2 from the atmosphere, reducing the greenhouse effect and mitigating global warming.
Sustainable Land Management and Community Empowerment
Amsha Africa Foundation, Justdiggit, and our local partners employ a combination of sustainable land management techniques to select interventions suitable for project areas.
These decisions consider both physical and social conditions, ensuring a clear socio-economic benefit for local communities.
Collaboration with local partners and NGOs ensures the delivery of sustainable solutions tailored to each region’s unique needs.
Maasai women digging soil bunds at the foot of the Kilimanjaro. Credit: Justdiggit
A Greener Tomorrow for Africa & Arid Lands Globally
Amsha Africa Foundation and its partners are not just reviving the land; they are rejuvenating lives, rekindling hope, and restoring our shared future.
By supporting bunds and regreening initiatives, you become an integral part of this inspiring journey towards a greener, healthier, and more sustainable Africa.
Together, we can restore the beauty of the land and ensure a brighter future for generations to come.
Step-by-Step Guide On Building Bunds.
Read our project page on how you can build these bunds step-by-step by clicking here or the picture below.