TroFaCo has been following up in Uganda on our agreement with Eastern Archdiocese Development Network of Caritas (EADEN). We sponsored EADEN’s first planting of 1,350 trees, with Caritas Tororo in the South-eastern corner of Uganda.
EADEN is then, on its own initiative and endorsed by the archbishop of Tororo, planting further 1,500 trees in Moroto and 1,500 in Kotido. These are districts in the semi-desert Karamoja area of eastern Uganda.
EADEN will promote collaboration within the global catholic community on using their collabortion with TroFaCo to heed the call of Pope Francisfor effective climate action in his encyclical letter Laudato ‘Si. TroFaCo provides verification and technical assistance.
TroFaCo and our partner in Vietnam, ActionAid are wrapping up our project on participatory forest management.
It has helped form many local forest management groups, who can work jointly with local authorities in planning and management of local forests, where communities own quite large parts.
As a tool for that, the project has taken TroFaCo’s verification system, with GPS- and time referenced photos, and added a few features. Smartphones, in the hand of a local community (or anybody else) can now draw contour maps of an area, using an app developed by the project. As Vietnam’s forest resource is fully digitized and available on a web-based platform, such contour maps can be directly used when the forest authorities do the official planning. Communities and forest officers sit down together and develop the plan, for the area managed by communities.
Now, a plan is one thing, but how does that lead to more forest? And benefit the global climate? And the local people? It does not..
So, the project also developed ways for communities to start producing on areas in the highlands of Vietnam that now are mainly empty. They have been cleared of forest long time ago. Often as a result of shifting cultivation – ‘slash and burn’ – or simply by unsustainable felling of the forest.
These areas can become home for millions of valuable timber-trees. And the timber is demanded by Vietnam’s large wood industry.
But trees take a long time and farmers need income. So they cannot wait…. Well, in Vietnam and China there is huge demand for ‘clean’ food and other farming products (e.g. traditional medicine). So, the project put highland farming communities in touch with companies that are selling such products. That works! People now actively replant forest, while making a living off selling organic ginger, turmeric, ginseng, pineapples or other short-term crops. And when the trees can be harvested many years from now, their children or grandchildren will become quite wealthy.
TroFaCo is now looking for some funding to spread the idea a bit. Or rather a lot! There are social organisations in Vietnam that can take that on – such as the cooperative movement – but they need a bit of inspiration, technical knowledge and vision, for these value chains really to develop. TroFaCo hopes to be able to support this process till it can take off and develop ‘by itself’.
The department of environment, politics and society at DIS Abroad has become a TroFaCo partner. DIS supports TroFaCo’s social project to help local communities build / rebuild local ecosystems by planting local trees that improve local livelihoods and contribute to reforestation. Part of the collaboration is face-to-face skype-meetings between students and TroFaCo’s partners in Uganda.
DIS is a non-profit study abroad foundation established in Denmark in 1959, with locations in Copenhagen and Stockholm. DIS provides programs taught in English, for upper-division undergraduate students from distinguished North American colleges and universities.
Early May 2018 TroFaCo’s CEO was again in Soroti in Uganda to check on progress.
Briefly: CIDI has found an area where to replace the 4,200 trees that the goats ate (See previous post).
The choice is a church, which operates a ‘Child Development Center’ for orphans. More than 2,500 trees have been planted and planting was ongoing. They will reach the 4,200 within a few days.
Also, trees have been planted on four schools under agreement with TroFaCo. Here TroFaCo pays (through GROW|FOR|IT ).
CIDI has worked intensively with the church and schools. Agreements have been signed and the ‘hosts’ for the trees have developed management plans. As the story with the goats show, animals need to be kept out. For this they use Lantana, which you and I can buy in the supermarket. In Africa it forms an impenetrable thicket – and cows and goats do not like them.
The town of Soroti is also replanting some of the dead trees. They have learned the lesson: Now they involve the local communities, who decide where they want the trees and also do the planting. So they have ownership. And CIDI is checking..
In addition, four schools in Western Uganda (Rakai) have planted trees. One of these is sponsored by Danish International Studies abroad/DIS (See previous post).
(Would you like to see a management plan? – send us a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org)
TroFaCo’s CEO was in Uganda in March, working with our local partner CIDI in Soroti district. The work is about identifying sites for new plantings this year (in Soroti you can only plant this time, when the rains are falling). We have met with three schools who are all very interested and have large, suitable land. CIDI is very good in explaining to them that the trees are free, but they need to have clear management mechanisms for the trees and they are responsible to replant, if trees die.
At the same time, we show CIDI how to identify sites on Google Earth, take screenshots of the sites and report the plans for each site to TroFaCo. The pictures show the action:
We received news from our partner CIDI. The trees that were planted for our partner GrowForIt in the town of Soroti, had met a sorry fate. They got eaten by goats! A classic tale of everybody being responsible and therefore nobody taking responsibility. Trees were planted and protected by nice cages, as agreed with TroFaCo. Cages were made of good quality wood, so some people took them and sold the wood. Then the goats had free access. Some goats ‘got arrested’ by police, but that did not help the dead trees. As stated in the agreement between CIDI and the town, the town actually replanted a lot of trees. Goats ate them as well..
And this is ALSO Africa:
TroFaCo’s partner CIDI saw the situation and immediately decided to replant the trees that died. But this time the planting would be together with local communities, who have clear responsibility and sense of ownership. And CIDI pays for the seedlings and replanting.
Vi hørte fra vores partner CIDI: De træer, der var plantet for GrowForIt i Soroti by, var det gået skidt for: Gederne havde ædt dem! En typisk historie om, at mange havde ansvar og ingen kunne leve op til det. Miljøafdelingen havde fået plantet træerne og givet dem gode bure til beskyttelse. De var lavet af godt træ. Så nogen tog burene og solgte træet. Så havde gederne frit spil. Nogle geder blev ‘arresteret’ af politiet, men det hjalp ikke de døde træer. Som aftalen mellem CIDI og bystyret sagde, genplantede byen faktisk en masse træer. De blev også ædt..
Og sådan er det OGSÅ i Afrika
CIDI fulgte situationen og da de så hvor skidt det gik, besluttede de at genplante alle træerne – et andet sted. Og denne gang sammen med lokalsamfund, som har mere klar ansvarsfordeling og ejerskab. Det er sådan set, som TroFaCo altid gør. Nu har vi lært at holde fast i det. Også når en kommunaldirektør lover, byen kan styre det.. (Hvis du ser på kortet fra 2018 er træerne plantet og gror på de tre arealer fra ‘Church of Uganda’)
TroFaCo’s verification expert, Huong Le, worked in Cambodia for a week. Together with her were Mr. Rithea and Ms. Thida from our partner CAFACA. They visited all sites where TroFaCo’s trees compensate for air travel by DanChurchAid. They took photos and interviewed farmer groups and school management (as seen in picture) and provided a comprehensive report. We are proud to be able to report that measurements of carbon in the trees show TroFaCo is delivering even more than we promised!
Based on our previous good experiences we work again in 2017 with student consultants at Copenhagen Business School (CBS). This time we also add collaboration with Kings College in the UK and Antwerp University in Belgium.