300,000 trees and counting!
“I like these activities so much!”
Have you ever been wary of new technology? Certain that something new will never work. Isn’t it exciting when you learn that the “new” thing actually adds value to your life? This is happening in Tanzania.
Deforestation is a major problem in the Kagera region of Tanzania, due to poor agricultural practices and a high demand for firewood. In 2016, ARDF approved a project to address both the need for environmental awareness and the need for practical solutions. The project is now complete and despite what Thobias Kamaana had previously thought, he is now convinced of the importance of growing trees on his land.
‘’Tree planting was not in my plan and [I] could not see why this business [would add value],” said Thobias, a local farmer from Mrugwanza, Tanzania.
Thobias was one of more than 2,000 farmers who attended the environmental conservation trainings provided by Anglican Church, with funding from ARDF. The church trained local farmers to produce their own tree seedlings, after making them aware of the importance of planting trees. By the end of the project, over 300,000 trees had been planted! These trainings changed Thobias’s mindset about tree planting. “I liked the activity so much that I have decided to be part of these events and have set two acres [and] will plant 2,210 various species as the [autumn] rains come.”
The second stage of this project involved training on the importance of energy saving stoves, aimed at reducing reliance on firewood. For example, with the traditional stoves many families used 15 to 18 pieces of wood (or 7 to 9 kg of wood) per day, and between 5,475 to 6,205 pieces a year (1,825 to 2,068 kg). With the new wood-saving stoves, families now use almost 50% less – between 7 to 10 pieces a day (2,555 to 3,285 kg, annually)!
Watch the video of the impact:
After this video was made, we learned that the project has been so successful that there is enough surplus income from the tree nurseries to allow the church to plant another 150,000 trees! Hallelujah!
Working through the local church adds accountability and sustainability. We are proud of this model, which we believe leads to long term results and lives transformed. For this project, the trees planted by the farmers have had an 88% survival rate, much higher than earlier programs supported by the government. The big difference has been the specialized trainings and the development of local leaders. They continue to monitor and assist the local farmers.