Global HearthWorks is an investor in TIST, a carbon offset project that supports poor farmers across four countries — including Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and India — to restore their landscapes and improve their lives through tree planting. TIST enables smallholders to earn carbon pre-payments from trees they plant and maintain on their own land, and the program guarantees farmers 70% of the profits from the sale of carbon credits on the voluntary market.

Farmer TIST Project, Kenya

Farmer TIST Project, Kenya

Through small group membership and at regional “cluster” meetings, TIST participants develop and share best practices in areas such as conservation farming, fruit and nut tree cultivation, animal husbandry, and HIV/AIDS prevention.  A system of rotating leadership encourages women and less educated members to participate actively and take on roles of responsibility. Since its inception in 1999, TIST has grown to accomplish the following:

  • 16+ Million trees still alive
  • 78,000+ Subsistence farmers involved
  • 12,000+ Active small groups planting
  • 30,000+ Women actively involved in the program
  • spans 4 countries: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania & India
  • 30,000+ Hectares of small farms alive with trees
  • 3+ Million tonnes of carbon sequestered
  • Countless incomes created and lives touched


October 12, 2017

For the past four years, I have been looking for ways to support solutions to Africa’s climate crisis. In 2013, I set up this foundation with the goal of investing in enterprises that would not only help stem the rapid deforestation of African landscapes, but also bring lasting, and scalable, improvements to people’s lives. I have focused much of my attention on the charcoal problem, providing early-stage funding to companies that distribute alternative fuels and improved cookstoves to low-income African households. TIST presented a different opportunity—a chance to support the restoration of degraded lands, by empowering smallholder farmers with the necessary knowledge and incentives to plant and maintain millions of trees.

Additionally, TIST has a number of firsts to be proud of:

  • TIST was First in the World to be Dually Certified under Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCB)
  • TIST was the first afforestation program in the world to achieve dual certification under both carbon industry standards.
  • TIST was First in the World to be Certified Gold under Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCB) Version 2
  • The TIST Program received Gold Certification under the CCB V2 carbon standard.

GHWF’s support is helping TIST continue its impact in some of the most ecologically devastated parts of the world. 

Learn more: https://www.tist.org/i2/

Video by Michael Davie
Still Photos by Lynn Johnson
Produced by Ripple Effect Images

TIST: The International Small Group and Tree Planting program has now reached more than 60,000 members (35,000 of which are women) and 11 Million trees planted. This video features the women of TIST Kenya who number more than 25,000. "It is a fact that the highest impact programs that mitigate climate change are those that invest in women. Statistics show that when women are offered even a small opportunity, they pay it forward to their families and communities at three times the rate that men do. Climate change dollars designated for women’s programs have a significant impact on both human lives and the environment." Barbara Kingsolver, Ripple Effect Images

Gleaning from the wisdom of Ben Henneke - the founder of TIST

Gleaning from the wisdom of Ben Henneke - the founder of TIST

Press Release: TIST & CAAC Win Environmental Finance's Highest Honors

June 27th, 2016 Clean Air Action Corporation's (CAAC's) TIST Afforestation Program was voted “Best Offsetting Project,” and CAAC was declared “Best Project Developer - Forestry & Land-Use,” in a global ranking conducted by Environmental Finance magazine. These recognitions demonstrate that some of the world's poorest farmers are willing and capable of combating the climate challenge by improving their farms, restoring degraded land, increasing biodiversity and wildlife habitat, and working with each other to raise incomes and improve lives.  Read more ....


On March 30, 2017 TIST program founders Vannesa and Ben Henneke, were honored at American University in Washington, DC where they received the William K. Reilly Award for Environmental Leadership. To honor the farmers who have done the work of planting trees and restoring land, they chose four farmers (from Tanzania, Kenyan and Uganda) and brought them to Washington, DC for the event!  Read more ....

Ashley Petus with Dorothy Naitore from TIST Kenya at the William K. Reilly Award in DC.

Ashley Petus with Dorothy Naitore from TIST Kenya at the William K. Reilly Award in DC.