Nguge Hills Lodge is located in Siaya County in the western part of Kenya, on a 25-acre degraded rainforest that is home to numerous communities and a growing monkey population. Their ecosystem restoration efforts are focussed on the restoration of monkey habitats, community education and empowerment to reduce the impact of climate change, and livelihood restoration. Monkey and ape populations have ravaged the farmers crops in recent years, which has halted most agricultural production, leading to food shortages within the community. Coupled with the very low economic status for most locals, there is a risk of malnutrition. The establishment of food forests located away from the villages is now helping to keep the monkeys away from the subsistence crops. Deforestation of the land for charcoal has led to erosion and waterlogging in the valley communities, resulting from unobstructed waterflow. To mitigate this challenge, Nguge Hills’ aims to plant five new trees for every one tree cut for bio char production or construction in the local villages. Since 2016, Nguge Hills has restored 2 acres of land with the local communities by planting over 5000 trees while protecting indigenous trees. The trees are selected by their ability to grow in harmony with the indigenous trees and vegetation, the provision of both shelter, food or medicinal value, and their ability to help achieve ecosystem conservation goals.
Before the establishment of the lodge, conversations with the local community made Nguge Hills Lodge aware of environmental threats to the greater locality. In designing the lodge, one of the greatest priorities was a commitment to preserve and restore the local ecosystem for the benefit of the local community and wildlife alike. Nguge Hills Lodge is using their education pillar to support the local community by offering alternatives to forced early marriages and teenage pregnancies. They believe that the longer young women stay in school, the higher the chances of them improving their quality of life and their families in future. The eco-lodge’s mission to uplift – and providing real work opportunities for – women and youth of West Gem ward in Siaya county, thereby enabling them to earn a living. Nguge Hills’ livelihood pillar supports young people and women with temporary work, permanent work, and a market for their art. As agroforestry champions for the local community, this ecosystem restoration community strives to be at the frontline of advocating for reducing human footprints in the region, in an effort to reduce their impact on climate change.
Nguge Hills’ big goal is to restore 300 acres of land by 2032 with the help from the local community. In addition to having restored two acres of land and planted over 5,000 trees between 2016 and 2022, Nguge Hills has begun implementing the use of seed balls from Seedballs Kenya to fast-track the process of reforestation. Through these actions Nguge Hills has inspired the local community to establish more forests which has aided the restoration of the monkey habitats in the region. They have also created a tree nursery where tree seedlings are sold and donated to members of the community to support reforestation efforts in the region. They pride themselves on a farm-to-fork culture, taking responsibility for what they and the lodge guests consume. They are also fully off-grid (powered exclusively by solar) and use primarily local resources to improve the economic status of the local community. Efforts to educate and advise local stakeholders on local and regional environmental law are ongoing.
Inner restoration for personal healing
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