The Diversity of

Barry waved at us as we alighted at KEFRI’s (Kenya Forest Research Institute) workshop.

We were immediately dazzled by the bamboo objects around him and other creatives around there. He was working on a bamboo cup, beautifully curved and smoothly polished.

We were finally physically meeting after months of chatting and writing about bamboo projects we had in mind. This was an opportunity to experience the material’s process in real life.

He is currently working on a contract with The Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI)

We got to learn a lot about Bamboo and the various machines used in the different processes from weaving to cutting and treatment of the bamboo stems too!

We were later  introduced to Robert, the technical lead of INBAR, a partner to KEFRI.

The International Bamboo and Rattan Organization (INBAR) is an intergovernmental development organization that promotes environmentally sustainable development using bamboo and rattan.

It has 47 Member States. In addition to its Secretariat headquarters in China, INBAR has Regional Offices in Cameroon, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana and India.

Bamboo has contributed immensely to the forest cover in Kenya.

 INBAR aim to reach 10% forest cover through bamboo. 

We’re currently at 6%.


They support innovation, advocate for youth, women and the disabled and are working to improve the livelihoods of the marginalized communities through bamboo programs.

These include training farmers how to cultivate bamboo.

They ensure the cycle continues by providing seedlings to a few farmers, and having those farmers providing deed e stems for planting to other farmers.

Bamboo growth is monitored via satellites, and farmers advised if need be.

This program ensures that bamboo is accessible, affordable and relatable. They also focus on sharing information on how to work with bamboo as a sustainable material in design, architecture and engineering by;

  • Including and modifying bamboo curriculum in technical schools, offering trainings to design students.
  • Offering materials and technical know-how to students and young designers.
  • Offering Opportunities where young designers meet with clients and create products that are then taken to market

We all have a responsibility to protect our environment.

Bamboo knowledge needs to be more accessible to creatives so as to encourage its use and utilize its diverse artistic qualities.

We had an insightful conversation about the projects we’re working on, especially because we are using bamboo as one of the materials and a collaboration was suggested.


(1)The Philippines creation myth believe that the first man and woman came out of a bamboo.

(2)Bamboo grows very fast, nearly 5cm per hour

(3)Bamboo can absorb toxins such as human urine, and clean our waters!

(4)When you cut a Bamboo stem with a machete it grows back, but with a hacksaw, it doesn't grow back .😀

Written by: Naitiemu Nyanjom. Creative Project Manager. (NDW)

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Barry holding one of his lampshades

The Diversity of Bamboo

Bamboo knowledge needs to be more accessible to creatives so as to encourage its use and utilize its diverse artistic qualities.


Find out where, when and how... very soon.