Saturday, October 21, 2006

Women Who Plant Trees

Posted by olvlzl

From: Oxfam Exchange, Fall 2006

Trees not only produce life-sustaining crops like avacados and bananas, but they also provide much-needed shade for coffee and other staple plants, and they prevent erosion- which means that trees are a key to economic growth and a greener world By Chris Hufstader and Andrea Perera

In the misty hills hear the Zimbabwe border, a small group of women review the plans for the nursery in their village, Mukudu. “The hills are steep here, and we want to control erosion. So we are encouraging people to plant fruit trees,” said Justina Nicolao, a 41-year-old mother of six. She and her team are working with the local development group, Kwaedza Simukai Manica Association (KSM), funded by Oxfam. KSM trains workers how to plant and maintain fruit trees, while teaching them how to read and write as part of a “functional literacy” program. Not only has the program helped farmers increase their harvests and reduced erosion, but since women lead the nursery program women are more involved in village affairs and are increasingly seen as leaders in their community.

Ecuador: The indigenous Kichwa people faced a crisis. Once-beautiful Lake Imbakucha was clogged with silt and polluted by chemical runoff from nearby farms. Clean water became scarce. Harvests were dropping off. A project funded by Oxfam launched an effort to replant the hills with trees and grasses to reduce runoff and clear out the streams feeding the lake. Within three years, come communities have doubled the amount of available water, and a network of nurseries is providing employment for women growing trees and plants for organic gardens. Ana Lucia Tocagon, a 20-year-old participant in the project, said that the increase in water was remarkable. “One summer we... had to ration it, with one sector receiving water one day and another sector the following day. Now we have water all day.”

This Fall edition isn’t up on their website but there is a lot of other information about Oxfam America’s programs. An impressive number promote women’s empowerment through agricultural and environmental projects.