Nabukeya MOMBASA (Xinhua) -- A
small fishing village in Kenya’s coastal region has
earned international recognition as a hub for green
economy thanks to a community-owned carbon offset
project that has enhanced the conservation of mangrove
The Gazi village, located about 40 kilometers south
of the port city of Mombasa, is the site of the project
that has earned global accolades for revolutionizing
conservation of mangrove forests.
Thanks to this project dubbed Mikoko Pamoja (a
Swahili word that means together with mangroves), Gazi
has attracted international visitors to learn how carbon
trade can lift communities’ living standards.
It is an initiative of the local community and Kenya
Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI).
Mikoko Pamoja is the first community-led project of
its kind in the world to use sale of carbon credits to
fund mangrove conservation alongside community
Ecuador, Costa Rica, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Madagascar,
Mozambique and Tanzania are already using Gazi as a
model example and keen to replicate it in their
Kenyan and British marine scientists have partnered
to implement the carbon offset projects that also
incorporates prudent harnessing of local habitats to
Mikoko Pamoja has been approved by Plan Vivo
Standards and Systems to sell approximately 3,000 tonnes
of carbon dioxide annually over a period of 20 years.
James Kairo, Project Developer and Chief Scientist at
KMFRI, said it has unleashed massive benefits to local
people and the wider coastal region.
"Almost 70 percent of the commercial fisheries in
Gazi bay depend in one way or another from mangroves,"
Kairo told Xinhua on Thursday.
A number of projects to enhance access to social
amenities like water and education are financed through
the proceeds generated by sale of carbon credits
generated by mangrove forests.
Kairo is very optimistic about the future of Gazi
carbon project saying it will break new ground in green
economy alongside transformation of fisheries sector in
the coastal region.
Protecting mangroves through programs like Mikoko
Pamoja is a triple win for climate, community and
biodiversity," he added
He noted the project has already expanded to other
coastal villages and has become a focal point for
Kairo is also a member of the International Blue
Carbon Scientific Working Group under the banners of the
Blue Forest, Coastal Ecosystem Services in East Africa (CESEA)
and Sustainable Poverty Alleviation for Coastal
Ecosystem Services (SPACES) projects
He disclosed the next course of action is to provide
evidence-based research that will support replication,
up scaling and adoption of the blue carbon projects as
nature based solutions to climate change challenges.
Kairo reiterated that mangrove forests like any other
marine resource should be utilized well to help in
uplifting the living standards of local communities.
"We created awareness to the community and showed
them how the resources that surround them can be
harnessed to solve their poverty and other social
challenges," said Kairo.
He noted the Gazi Community is already reaping
benefits of conservation effort specifically eco-tourism
and payments for ecosystem services.
One of the landmark projects that have been
established using funds generated from carbon offsetting
is that of water supply to the village.
More importantly, the success of the project has
generated interest in the Kenyan government leading to
the development of a robust National Mangrove Management
The plan recognizes the critical role that mangrove
forests play in environmental conservation and economic
"For a long time, the management of mangrove
resources in Kenya was based on harvesting of wood
products and ignored other essential roles the ecosystem
play like fisheries and carbon storage," remarked
Francis Kariuki, a forestry officer in the coastal
"Lack of a management plan to guide utilization of
mangrove resources is to blame for degradation of
mangrove habitat," Kariuki added.
Mikoko Pamoja is a community-led
mangrove conservation and restoration project
Mikoko Pamoja Mangrove Reforestation
Gazi Bay Kenya
‘Mikoko Pamoja’ is the first
community run project of its kind in Africa
East Africa Forum for Payment of
Ecosystem Services - Mikoko Pamoja project