Charity aims to train 32,000 families to grow trees, fight hunger

Earlier today I asked readers to help Republic of Change plant 1,000,000 mangroves around Madagascar. Not only could this help fight climate change, I argued, but it can help alleviate poverty too.

Republic of Change aren't the only ones who are working to leverage the power of trees. UK-based Tree Aid is a charity entirely devoted to using tree planting as a tool for poverty alleviation and community empowerment. Their Grow Hope appeal is looking to raise funds to help 32,000 people get the skills they need to grow trees, regenerate their natural environment and provide much needed food security for the people of the drylands of Africa.

Here's how Tree Aid describes the ask:

"In the drylands “weather extremes” such as drought and flooding make harvests unpredictable and there are few opportunities to earn extra income for the family. Native tree species are perfectly adapted to these extremes and carry on producing food, even when other crops fail.

Jamila Mustafa, mother of six from Northern Ghana says: “There are days that I cannot eat at all, because I want to be able to give my children something. I work hard but I can’t ever be sure of having enough food to feed my children. I am keen to learn new skills, make money and save so that I will have something to fall back on next time the hungry months come.”

Of course, as we all know, trees carry an added bonus: reforesting our degraded lands could go a long way toward mitigating and eventually reversing the manmade climate change that has made life in the drylands so challenging.

From Ethiopia regreening its hillsides to India planting 2 billion trees, there are hopeful signs that reforestation and forest protection are finally getting the attention they deserve.

Campaigns like Grow Hope and Republic of Change are one way that all of us can get in on this positive effort on the ground level.

Tags: Activism | Biodiversity | Forestry

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