To restore and conserve Zimbabwe’s woodlands, My Trees Trust educates and involves communities in planting the right trees in the right places. These efforts come together to recognize the importance of these ecosystems to the agro-based economy.
Zimbabwe’s woodlands and tropical grasslands are at risk of rapid loss due to expanding agriculture, urbanization, soil erosion and growing demand for wood to cure tobacco, the region;s dominant crop. This loss affects communities across Zimbabwe and parts of Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia.
My Trees Trust, founded in 2019, aims to involve communities in restoring land, replanting and protecting indigenous forests, fostering sustainable development, and conserving the ecology to improve livelihoods across the region.
“When My Trees Trust started, we took the time to learn from and about the communities we are serving. Through this research and relationship building, we quickly learned that the environment suffers because people suffer. To change this, we had to show the value of natural resources and how nurturing the environment ensures that these resources are utilized for a communal and societal win,” shares Tendayi Jeyacheya, the operations manager.
With the support of TerraFund for AFR100, an initiative of World Resources Institute, One Tree Planted, and Realize Impact that finances Africa's top restoration enterprises and projects, My Trees Trust has expanded its network of 250 contract growers and built new nursery clusters in the Honde Valley, all to help restore the country’s rich landscapes.
“With the kind of land degradation we saw, our efforts focused on conservation and reparative work. We have initiated nurseries in rural communities. To date, about 180,000 trees have been planted and 120,000 hectares are under management. All of this has come to life with our focus on reforesting, preserving and providing alternative livelihoods,” says Tendayi.
My Trees Trust not only invests in forests, but also creates partnerships with the community by working with rural district councils and leaders. In this community-led program, the organization aims to reduce the rate of natural woodland loss and preserve biodiversity within this threatened landscape.
The goal of the program is not only to restore and protect the environment within the Zambezi landscape, but also to improve the community's way of life. To achieve this, the program has hired 300 community members to become "tree champions" that advocate for sustainable practices.
My Trees Trust plans to extend its operations beyond Zimbabwe and the surrounding region, with the goal of involving even more local communities. Within Zimbabwe, they aim to plant 250,000 trees across 850 hectares through the 2023 planting season. The program also intends to expand its network of “tree champions” to 626 community members.
My Trees Trust is creating sustainable solutions, promoting development and empowering individuals and communities across Zimbabwe to become problem solvers who have a positive impact on their communities and the environment.