International Co-Director of Africa Area
For most people, "elephants" isn't the answer they would give to the question, "what are your significant operating challenges?" But Andrew Kinzer is not most people. And his work, co-directing Eden in his homeland of Kenya and across Africa in some of the world's most remote and unstable places, is inspiring and transformational.
Andrew works with the local community to creatively solve unexpected challenges. This is seen when a herd of elephants came in the night to eat the cement off the posts of a brand new nursery fence protecting over a million seedlings. How'd they deter the elephants? A big moat, planting elephant-repelling chili peppers, and a nightly bonfire. Creative solutions are at the heart of our growth, scaling up in each new nation with its own new challenges while always putting people first.
For Andrew, the inspiration behind his unwavering commitment to the mission is seeing the local community have the opportunity to control their own economic futures by planting millions of trees with their own hands.
As Co-Directors, Andrew and his wife, Alex both know that the strength of Eden is the people and their drive to build a better future. As they start new projects in each new nation, they build teams and programs, taking on all challenges, including desperate poverty, decimated forests, washed-out roads, extreme weather, pythons, lions - and those fence-eating elephants.
"It's mind-blowing to me to think about all the jobs we're creating through planting trees and working in the nurseries. We've seen new shops pop up in the villages. We've seen families build living structures," he says. "It all starts with working with the community to find people who might otherwise be overlooked and connect them to opportunities at Eden."Andrew Kinzer