Tevis Howard

Ashoka Fellow
Mombasa, CO, Kenya
Fellow Since 2011


This profile was prepared when Tevis Howard was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2011.
The New Idea
Tevis is using agro-forestry to get arid land farmers out of poverty by shifting their mindsets from looking at trees as a tool for environmental conservation to treating them as assets with great economic power. By aggregating thousands of small-scale farmers to the extent that they can supply wood to meet the demand of a very large wood products market, Tevis is redefining the way that this market gets its wood. The wood markets formerly relied mainly on large-scale commercial tree growers and unsustainable deforestation for its wood, but Tevis is introducing small-scale tree growers to the value chain. He has set up an extension services network providing seedlings, farm inputs and staffed by well-trained locals to provide guidance and ongoing support and monitoring to local farmers in tree farm management (as well as other agricultural production) and to build trust and long-term commitment among the farmers.

By focusing on arid lands, Tevis is bringing these areas back into the development agenda and providing a unique solution that allows farmers to capture the value of a crop well suited to their environment. By creating a scalable enterprise that both helps farmers grow and harvest trees, and will process and sell the timber, Tevis’ KOMAZA offers hope for substantially impacting the livelihoods of poor arid land farmers not only in Kenya, but throughout arid parts of East Africa and beyond.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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