A little over a year ago, three organisations were supported through the ‘Sustainable Community Forestry (SCF) Programme’ run by the International Tree Foundation. Since then an additional project has been added to the programme due to the success of fundraising at Wessanen UK, and the high standard of applications received.

Each of the successful applicants received a grant to go towards the development of specific projects within their respective communities. The projects span four African countries and aim to tackle a broad range of environmental and community challenges.

As part of Wessanen UK’s partnership with ITF we provided financial support and regularly receive updates on how each project is progressing:

Uganda: Alpha Women’s Empowerment Initiative

Alpha have just completed their first project, funded by Wessanen UK, which covers six remote villages in the Rwenzori Mountains. As part of the project, 500 beneficiaries were taught about the negative impacts of deforestation and given training in agricultural practices by past beneficiaries. They also learnt how to graft mangoes and over 10,000 mango trees were planted. The project also led to the formation of two forest management committees made up of local community members. Their aim is to protect the local forests and create by-laws with local government. Women’s participation is high, and there is demand from neighbouring villages for similar interventions.

Madagascar: Ny Tanintsika

Ny Tanintsika (which means ‘Our Land’) work with local communities around the rainforest to plant trees on their land, as well as in the forest. Supporting rural communities who are often overlooked by large conservation projects, the project funded by Wessanen UK is promoting the use of native trees on farms. Many farmers prefer to plant exotic species which grow quickly and can be cut down for timber – but put local biodiversity at risk. Ny Tanintsika train local community members on how to collect seeds from the rainforest and propagate them. Farmers are then encouraged to integrate these onto their land through agroforestry, both improving agricultural systems and conserving the wonderful tree species of Madagascar.

Cameroon: CENDEP

CENDEP’s project is based on the concept of the ‘food forest’. With Wessanen’s funding, 15 young people have been trained on creating food forests, tree nursery establishment and seedling production and with this knowledge can now go on to create their own tree nurseries. Through the project, eight hectares of degraded land has also been fenced off for up to 30 women to restore and plant with annual crops. The newly planted trees on the land are helping to improve the soil structure.

Ghana: CSRAD

This project aims to conserve a sacred forest in Ghana, which is culturally important to the local community. The approach is based on protecting the core of the forest, which is very biodiverse by establishing a clear boundary of trees. CSRAD are also working with local farmers, many of whom grow cocoa, to plant trees on their land (which is known as agroforestry). Cocoa benefits from shade so agroforestry provides the perfect system to grow cocoa. The trees planted will provide some timber for the farmers, reducing the pressure on forest resources and growing towards sustainable timber harvesting.

These projects are just a few of the initiatives that Wessanen UK are supporting across Africa and in the UK with International Tree Foundation.