Meet Jeniffer Kithure

Jeniffer Kithure with her TIST Trees

An amazing story of human perseverance against all odds.

Healing a Death by Nourishing Life

Jeniffer's husband, a primary school teacher, was attacked by a gang on the way home from work and died from his injuries. Jeniffer was left with raising three daughters and one son, young, by herself. She had no formal income, just farming. By pure grit, she educated three of her children through 4th grade and one through 8th grade.

In 2005, TIST (The International Small Group and Tree Planting Program) came to her area. She and her neighbors formed Umoja A, which means United in Swahili. Jeniffer’s group became a Best Small Group in that area and were given the responsibility of recruiting and training new groups. With TIST training, Jeniffer’s harvest increased dramatically with the use of Conservation Farming techniques. She has learned nursery preparation and management and her trees have a higher survival rate because she uses planting best practices for an arid climate. She has an energy saving cook stove made from locally available materials that conserves firewood and vents smoke outside the cooking hut so she and her children do not have to breathe it.

Jeniffer is now a strong TIST Leader. She is on the Kenya Operational Leadership Council, is in charge of an initiative to plant indigenous trees by rivers to decrease erosion, went to Uganda to help facilitate a seminar, and has started a new TIST area as a TIST Social Entrepreneur. She mentors other women who join the program and teaches them additional income producing skills.

Local Farmers Make it all Possible

The real credit for the outstanding results of this program belongs to the local subsistence farmers who collect indigenous seeds, make nurseries, plant seedlings, and keep them alive through droughts, floods, cattle and goat raids and rogue elephants. TIST farmers are proud of the benefits their trees are having on their lives and on the global environment.

Co-Founder, TIST