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EditPhoto Title:Kenya’s Rural Communities Benefit from Harvesting Natural Products
EditImage Description:Alfred Masinde has tasted a new variety of maize in his corn in his farm in Siranga, western Kenya
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Kenya’s Eastern Afromontane biodiversity hotspot is one of the most biologically rich yet threatened areas on Earth.
Stretching over a curving arc of widely scattered mountains from Saudi Arabia to Mozambique and Zimbabwe, the
Eastern Afromontane hotspot is home to nearly 11,000 species, almost a third of which are found nowhere else on the planet. However, a growing population combined with unsustainable development and use of natural resources threaten the area’s natural resources and their benefits to people.
Managed by Conservation International, Verde Ventures is an investment fund that provides support for businesses that deliver environmental, socioeconomic and financial benefits. Our business partners support human well-being by protecting the important services — like fresh water, food, energy and more — that communities receive from healthy ecosystems, including the species and processes that make up those ecosystems.
To promote conservation of the region’s biodiversity and provide income opportunities to rural populations, a group of organizations — including
Verde Ventures — invested in the Kenyan nonprofit Desert Edge in 2011. As an alternative to logging, unsustainable agriculture and mining, Desert Edge encourages the harvesting and selling of natural products, ranging from honey and beeswax to biofuels made from invasive plants. Desert Edge also helps communities with product development, quality control and increased access to markets. The investment from Verde Ventures is providing working capital that allows for payments to honey farmers, inventory growth and a steady stream of sales — rather than just once a year during the harvest season.
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EditImage Alt Text:Cacao pods from Ambanja, Madagascar. © PYB
EditImage Alt Text:Kayapo mother with children. © Cristina Mittermeier
EditTitle:Partnering with Communities
EditImage Alt Text:Women sell traditional crafts, Konashen Community-Owned Conservation Area in the Konashen Indigenous District, Southern Guyana. © Piotr Naskrecki