Tropical Tree-Planting PROJECT

Club member and Director of SGG, Carole Keeley, walks through an orchard of bananas, mangos and avocados and counts newly planted fruits. Some of this fruit is sold, but most of the produce of Tengeru Farm is consumed by the girls school next door.

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BACKGROUND

Since July 2017 when Rotary International President Ian Riseley requested every Rotarian to plant at least one tree, the Rotary Club of Newcastle-Gosforth has been committed to a strong tree-planting programme.  One of Gosforth Rotary’s members is the Managing Director of the Tyneside development group Sustainable Global Gardens [SGG], which has an extensive network of African community/farmer groups wanting to increase tree cover on their own farmlands. Club members are aware that tree-planting on East African farms has not only environmental advantages, such as improved soil conservation, climate change mitigation, but also enormous humanitarian benefits which enable both poverty and hunger to be significantly reduced.  Thus, the Club decided in 2017 to invest its tree-planting efforts to help 450 orphans in West Kenya. With the help of a Rotary District grant, club members Paul and Carole Keeley distributed and recorded a tree count of 3,629 by May 2018– one of the highest tree counts by Rotary Clubs in the British Isles.

Furthermore, Rotarian Paul was asked to be “tree champion” for Rotary District 1030, the whole of North-East England.  This role involved giving advice and assistance to Rotary clubs as far away as South-West France, and established a network of tree-planting community groups & Rotary clubs in East Africa.  The result of this effort was some 41,475 trees recorded as planted in West Kenya and Northern Tanzania the following year.  You can find out more details of this project by browsing www.sustainableglobalgardens.org.uk/rotary-tree-planting.

Picture 1              

The above ideas establish that increased agroforestry [tree-planting on farmland] can be a simple and direct method for poverty and hunger alleviation in impoverished rural communities.  This strategy is fully in accordance with Sustainable Development Goal no 1 [no poverty], SDG no 2 [end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture], as  well as SDG no 13 [action to combat climate change].    


Pictures 2 and 3

The above ideas establish that increased agroforestry [tree-planting on farmland] can be a simple and direct method for poverty and hunger alleviation in impoverished rural communities.  This strategy is fully in accordance with Sustainable Development Goal no 1 [no poverty], SDG no 2 [end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture], as  well as SDG no 13 [action to combat climate change]. 

Pictures 4 and 5

The above illustrations show how agroforestry can be a successful strategy for poverty & hunger alleviation for individual farming households as well as a mechanism for economic & community development when widely practised.  Here though we wish to emphasise that all trees capture carbon by the process of photosynthesis, so extensive tropical tree-planting can be an appropriate practical action to combat climate change.  We can make arrangements for the planting, geolocation, monitoring and reporting of trees planted for carbon capture & climate change mitigation.  See below for details how to do this.

PROSPECTS FOR 2019-2020 ROTARY YEAR

After our recent tree-planting success Newcastle-Gosforth Rotary will continue our programme in the coming Rotary year.  We have been raising funds, and the Club plan to undertake the following before July 2020:

·     support at least 10 community, school or Rotary planting groups with a small grant which will allow the planting of at least 1,000 trees each.  Our target for next year is at least 10,000 seedlings in the ground by 15thMay, so that they can be monitored before the end of the 2019-20 Rotary year;

·     our priority will be to support agroforestry systems where planting is on farms and the trees will belong to the farm household.  We know that this improves the survival rate of young seedlings when they are vulnerable in the first year after transplanting. The main benefit of this strategy though is that we shall be making a direct contribution to poverty and hunger reduction in rural Africa;

·     we shall plant trees useful to farmers and appropriate to the environmental conditions on farm.  These include fruits [e.g. avocado, mango, bananas, pawpaw, jackfruit]; medicinal & nutritional species [e.g. neem, moringa], natural pesticides [e.g. tephrosia] as well as multipurpose species [e.g. grevillea, markhamia, mzizi]; 

·     work with SGG, who will take responsibility for monitoring the tree-planting and payment to farmers for the work they have done;

·     SGG will also provide a progress report for all significant donors;

·     look for support from both Rotary clubs and any others, either individuals or groups, wishing to contribute to poverty and hunger eradication  or carbon capture through the strategy of tropical tree-planting. The SGG network can readily find thousands of poor farmers wanting to plant trees, far more than Gosforth Rotary can support on our own.  Thus, we are looking for donor partners, and should funding become available we shall shift our planting target to towards 100,000 trees;

·     we shall also assist our African planting partners to find further funding for their own agroforestry schemes.   One such partner is the Rotary Club of Moshi-Mamba, who are in the process of applying for a Rotary global grant in order to promote commercial avocado and honey production, with a planting target of 100,000 trees.  

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Newcastle-Gosforth Rotary Club can arrange for trees to be planted for as little as 20p for a non-fruit and £1 for fruits.  If you wish to plant a tree, go to https://sustainableglobalgardens.charitycheckout.co.uk/donate, or contact sgginfo16@gmail.comfor further advice.  This report deals with tropical tree-planting, but Gosforth Rotary Club also wishes to promote trees in our local area.  If you would like to volunteer your time and resources to help increase the tree cover of Newcastle, please contact Rotarians Malcolm Eaton [0191 2364997] or Paul Keeley [0191 2530687].

 

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