WeForest is establishing a connection between communities and nature through their restoration efforts, contributing to the overall ecological integrity of Zambia.
WIth the decline of local mining in Zambia, unemployment and poverty have increased, prompting people to leave their homes for cities. This rapid urbanization has led to environmental degradation, as communities turn to charcoal production, which leads to deforestation and soil infertility. Today, Zambia has one of Africa’s highest deforestation rates, losing 60% of forest cover in the past five years.
WeForest, founded in 2019, aims to restore these forest and landscape ecosystems by engaging communities to implement sustainable solutions for climate, nature, and people.
A technical partner of AFR100, WeForest has a broad range of expertise in assessing restoration opportunities and scaling up implementation on the ground. The organization has helped communities restore land in Ethiopia and Zambia, where it focuses on the restoration of the Katanino Forest, spanning over 7,100 hectares.
WeForest has also taken the initiative to create forest-friendly livelihoods for the local communities in the area. In this biodiverse region, TerraFund for AFR100, an initiative of World Resources Institute, One Tree Planted, and Realize Impact that finances Africa's top restoration enterprises and projects, has funded WeForest to introduce alternate livelihoods, such as beekeeping to 401 households, agriculture conservation techniques to 113 households, goats to 80 households and chicken farming to 164 households. The project's success has not only contributed to the restoration of the forest but has also improved the quality of life for those living in the area.
The organization recognizes gender disparities and is working to address them by ensuring that 43% of their beneficiaries are women. This has encouraged communities to increase women’s involvement in their restoration efforts.
WeForest aims to expand their reach across countries and continents to enter the carbon credit market. This will raise funds to support forest restoration activities and establish forest-based enterprises, creating structured value chains for communities and generating income.
WeForest demonstrates that partnering with communities not only revitalizes forests but also improves livelihoods and is creating a bright and greener future for Zambia.