Hands hold up a baby tree as a crowd looks on.


Partnering with farmers to plant and maintain small-scale, income-generating tree farms.

Seventy-five percent of Africa’s poor are farmers. Many struggle to put enough food on the table to feed their families, and resort to chopping down indigenous trees to make and sell charcoal. While this can provide short-term financial relief, it also increases vulnerability—as deforestation increases soil erosion and temperatures, and decreases productivity of the land.

KOMAZA is a social enterprise focused solely on these interconnected issues of rural poverty and deforestation in Africa’s semi-arid regions. The organization’s name stems from a Swahili word that means to promote development and encourage growth. The organization created a micro-forestry model to help families plant and maintain small-scale income-generating tree farms. With deep roots and efficient metabolisms, trees can thrive in areas where short-term crops perish. By partnering with KOMAZA, farmers make their lands more productive and more resilient to the impacts of climate change. Many participants experience a tripling of earning from each acre of land.

Erastus Jefwa Lazaro, pictured above, was one of the first KOMAZA farmers to harvest trees. He has since earned enough money to install electricity in his home. And soon after the first harvest, his trees began to grow again, promising income for his family for years—or even decades—to come.

Barr Foundation is proud to have supported KOMAZA with a grant in 2013 to strengthen its business model and core operations and to enable 500 farmers to participate in the KOMAZA initiative in Kenya. In 2015, Barr awarded another grant to help KOMAZA to build and solidify its information technology, monitoring and evaluation, and nursery/forest research and development.

To learn more, watch the short video below and visit komaza.org.


To build and solidify capacity for information technology, monitoring, and evaluation, and for forest research and development.

  • Award Date: 6/23/2015
  • Amount: $200,000
  • Term: 18 months
  • Program: Global


To strengthen operations and expand the business model designed to lift smallholder farmers in Africa’s semi-arid regions out of poverty.

  • Award Date: 9/11/2013
  • Amount: $600,000
  • Term: 24 months
  • Program: Global

KOMAZA is a U.S.-based social enterprise founded in 2006 with afforestation operations currently focused in coastal Kenya. It partners with local smallholder farmers to grow trees as a cash crop. KOMAZA provides farmers with the inputs and training they need to grow fast-growing trees on their unused land to generate life-changing income for their families and create a sustainable wood supply for growing local markets.