World Environment Day was last week, which has kept (you guessed it) the environment fresh on our minds. Environmental stewardship can seem daunting… between climate change, deforestation, and desertification; at times it appears the effort needed is too great to really affect change.
|Street scene in Togo.|
Then we found out about this village in Northern Togo, Ando-Kpomey. In response to a devastating forest fire in 1973, the community banded together to protect the forest around their community from destructive fires, typically set by hunters flushing out game. Their protected area of green-belt has since grown to over 100 hectares. Sustainability is at the core of their collective planning to ensure the forest remains intact, as well as useful for the community. The success of the collective has spurred on Global attention. Ando-Kpomey received the 2012 Equator Prize (link) and is now considered a best practice model to be replicated by other communities in the region of West Africa.
|Members of the Ando-Kpomey Collective.|
This locally driven, collective action on a small, yet expanding scale is what gives us hope that the rejuvenation of our planet is possible. This region of West Africa experiences some of the highest levels of forest loss in the world, which contributes to desertification of land and changes in rainfall patterns, which in turn, greatly affects the lives of subsistence farmers and habitat in rural Togo.
|Alaffia plants 6,ooo saplings a year in order to combat deforestation in Togo.|
Alaffia has been working against widespread environmental degradation with our Reforestation Project, and we are encouraged by the progress of this collective of individuals striving to preserve their region. It is important for us to recognize, as a global community, the communities around the world that are banding together and using their indigenous knowledge to better their environment. We all have a chance to make a difference in our world, through our direct action, as well as through spreading awareness of the actions of others.
|The Alaffia nursery, filled with fruit and forage trees, ready to be planted.|
|Alaffia's Reforestation Project focuses on women farmers, who studies have shown are more likely to give saplings the extra care they require in the first years of planting.|
|By planting fruit trees, not only are we impacting deforestation, but also food security, a concern of so many on the African continent.|
We are proud of the grass roots efforts of our fellow Togolese activists. Keep on promoting environmental stability, and we will keep following your progress.