Climate change has been making life on Pemba Island, part of the Zanzibar Archipelago, more and more precarious. Community Forests Pemba has been innovating ways of living and working that combat poverty and inequality while also increasing resilience.
All its activities are designed to regenerate the natural systems that people rely on. Inspired by both permaculture and agroforestry, CFP has created The Spice Forest. The polyculture approach of this project combines natural forest restoration with climate-smart spice farming and provides an important stream of income for the community. The forest is run by a farmer-owned co-operative established by CFP.
They have planted over two million trees; converted over 150 hectares of degraded land; and trained over 10,000 rural farmers and women in regenerative livelihoods. They also run a Rural Innovation Campus dedicated to regenerative solutions to climate change, where people from around the world come to learn from grassroots leaders in Pemba.
Much of Survival Internation’s work is concentrated around pressuring governments, multinational corporations and other organisations to respect or uphold tribal rights, and most importantly, land rights. It also funds self-help and indigenous-led projects and challenge racist or prejudicial stereotypes of tribal peoples in the media.
It has achieved hundreds of successes over the years. In 1992, after 20 years of campaigning, Survival secured the demarcation of the Yanomami tribe’s land in Brazil, which together with Yanomami land in Venezuela, is the largest area of rainforest under indigenous control to this day. In 2006, its fight against mining and ‘development’ projects without Bushmen consent resulted in the first court victory where ‘native title’ was recognised in Africa.
Tribal peoples have vast botanical and zoological knowledge and a unique understanding of sustainable living. Eighty percent of the planet’s biodiversity is found in indigenous territories, which is no coincidence. Many areas regarded by outsiders as “wilderness” have actually been carefully managed and shaped by people for thousands of years.
Secure land rights are key to the resilience, mental and physical health, and livelihoods of many tribes around the world. In advocating for the land rights of tribal peoples, Survival supports their regenerative practices.
SPNL is one of the oldest environmental NGO in Lebanon. SPNL was established around two issues: to promote the concept of protected areas, and to manage the hunting situation in Lebanon. SPNL has a long experience in research, education, advocacy, networking and community development.
Its mission revolves around the protection of nature, birds and biodiversity, and SPNL has succeeded in solving the problem of illegal killing of birds and wildlife, especially when it came to law enforcement around hunting. SPNL also works on the promotion of sustainable use of natural resources, through the Hima approach.
SPNL’s history is full of innovative solutions to difficult problems, such as promotion of the concept of protected areas during the civil war, and environmental awareness when it was not a priority; as well as the revival of the Hima approach, and empowering youth and women within patriarchal society.
Its Hima Farm Programme includes organic agriculture, permaculture, sustainable use of resources and no hunting. It raises the capacity of locals, provides jobs for locals and refugees, and conserves native plants & herbs.
Founded in 1995, Fern is an organisation based in the heart of the EU, dedicated to protecting forests and the rights of people who depend on them. It was established out of the need for an organisation to explain how the EU worked and coordinate NGO inputs to forest policy discussions.
It identifies the threats facing the world’s forests and works with affected peoples, social and environmental organisations, and policy makers to devise and deliver solutions where the EU can make a difference.
Fern’s successes include defining a unique policy that bans illegal timber from the EU market and improves the rule of law in highly forested countries. Another of its campaigns led the EU to set incentives for European forests to remove 3 billion tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere between 2020 and 2030, the equivalent of the EU’s total emissions for one year.
Fern believes that it is essential to address the social dimension of environmental conflicts; that strong coalitions are more likely to achieve lasting change; and that presenting ways forward is more effective than highlighting problems.
YICE Uganda works with refugees in Bukompe refugee settlement and the neighbouring communities, seeking to provide smallholder farmers with access to regenerative agricultural training and flexible financial services to reduce hunger and poverty.
Bukome Refugee camp is one of the smallest camps in Uganda and attracts little attention from local government and development partners. The camp is home to over 2800 refugees, 75% of whom are women and children. Over 90% of the households survive on small-scale farming and grow on the same pieces of land every season.
They are consequently forced to use fertilizers and dangerous pesticides on their farms, which affects local biodiversity, degrades the soil, reduces food productivity and has led to food insecurity, poor child feeding and a lack of income. Massive deforestation for charcoal burning has also occurred in the area.
YICE Uganda has been working in Bukompe refugee settlement to engage the camp’s residents around sustainable farming techniques (including Permaculture, tree planting and the production and use of organic fertilizers). Over 100 women farmers have been trained in Permaculture farming, and 20 Permaculture gardens have been established.
The Yes to Life, No to Mining (YLNM) network was founded in November 2014 by a collection of community-based organisations and NGOs from Africa, Europe, Asia and Latin America.
It was launched as a call to action, making visible the growing number of communities wanting to say NO to mining and resist an inherently unsustainable industry predicated on ecological and social harm. As a network, it exists to support its members in resisting unwanted mining and develop and protect life-sustaining alternatives.
After its launch as a web platform, the YLNM network grew organically, with an increasing number of communities, organisations and other networks joining from every inhabited continent.
These members began organising to support and amplify each others’ campaigns online, source funding for members, and provide reactive solidarity support in emergencies, for example in the case of Mongolian Earth Defender Beejin Khastumur.
YLNM coordinates work around three key areas:
Uryadi’s Village (UV) was established in 2014 in response to a request from the local leadership in Soddo, Ethiopia, to help them address the growing number of orphaned and abandoned children in their area.
It became clear that the degradation of Ethiopia’s land was linked to widespread food access issues, and that this was linked with the high orphan population. (Newborns were abandoned because their parents could not feed them.)
UV agreed to co-develop a sustainable approach to this challenge. A community based on Permaculture principles has been created, guided by the vision of a beautiful, productive home for orphaned and abandoned children, which also strengthens the community and is a source of innovative progress and abundance.
UV cares for 97 orphaned children and supports the education of another 95 in the local community who have families but would not stay in school without some financial help.
It is working with the local government to scale up a local adoption program and is one of the only orphanages around to accept special-needs children. It is also developing support systems and tools for parents of children with special needs to avoid abandonment in the first place.
Located in the Mabale communal lands on the edge of Hwange national park, Zimbabwe, the Soft Foot Alliance (SFA) seeks to support the holistic management of this landscape. The Permaculture ethics of earth care, people care and fair share guide its work in creating solutions that support people and wildlife to live side by side.
In the two years that it has been operating, SFA has offered a range of training opportunities. It has taught 300+ women how to make their own rocket stoves; has facilitated Permaculture training and site visits for community members; and has offered support in implementing passive rain water harvesting.
It has trained local builders to create ferro-cement rain-water tanks and rain Jars for homesteads and has offered training for herders and women in making predator-proof mobile livestock bomas (that also result in improved land fertility and crop yields). Barefoot beehive construction has also been used to protect fields and gardens from elephants.
SFC has helped establish Kulisumpula Beads (a 15 women co-operative making beads from recycled glass), and SFA has partnered with Bio-Innovation Zimbabwe to train in the collection and pre-processing of indigenous nuts and seeds and the propagation of these trees in two wards around Hwange national park.
In 2013, a meeting was held with farmers and indigenous leaders from the region of Risaralda, Colombia. The meeting raised community issues around biodiversity loss, cultural disappearance, unequal distribution of land, food sovereignty and access to contemporary and ancestral technologies.
To address these issues, the artistic and research-based project Minkalab was formed on a farm near the village Santa Rosa de Cabal. It provides space for mutual exchange among local and international communities. The project combines current and ancestral knowledge about cultivation in order to bring this culture of “Buen Vivir” back to the countryside.
Since 2015, people from different backgrounds (including indigenous leaders, farmers, artisans, local citizens, artists, designers, cultural and environmental activists and theorists) have gathered together for a variety of activities.
These have included workshops on different topics and an annual Minkalab event where up to 150 local and international participants come together. The Minkalab community has built a Maloka to host meetings, a dry toilet, a laboratory kitchen and ecological gardens.
A 10-hectare reforestation plan has been created that uses native trees on a territory formerly used for stock-farming, and a year-long training program is being developed that will lead to a “Diploma de Cultivadores Culturales”.
Ecosystem Restoration Camps (ERC) exist to regenerate our soils, souls and societies. Camps are built on or near land that is degraded, and ‘campers’ who seek to learn how to restore natural and agricultural ecosystems, economies and communities are welcomed.
Restoration techniques learnt are then shared with land owners surrounding the camps.
The ‘ERC’ idea arose in 2016 when ecosystem ambassador John D. Liu began discussing the concept. This galvanised people from around the world and resulted in the organisation’s launch in February 2017.
The first camp was set up in the Murcian region of Spain where people have been living and learning how to restore the land around them since June 2017. This camp is now in its second phase: having built soil carbon and soil organic matter content, retained water and increased biodiversity, it is now creating an agroforestry system using plants that are commonly used in the region.
The system was designed to inspire other local landowners to think about how they can still farm the same crops but in more regenerative ways.
A second camp is about to open in Mexico, and there are plans for camps in California, the Netherlands, Australia and Brazil. The Foundation also organises Re-Generation Festivals, where mass land-restoration activities are run alongside performances from world class musicians, theatre makers and artists.