Land for Life: farming communities develop innovative agroforestry system preserving the rainforests and ensuring better livelihoods

Description of the project: Inga-alley cropping is a simple but revolutionary agroforestry system that provides sustainable alternatives to old subsistence farming practices destroying the rainforest. Inga trees are planted in hedgerows between rows of food crops. Growing rapidly, the trees essentially recreate a rainforest that is managed by a virtuous cycle of yearly pruning after cropping, yielding protective thick mulch from leaves as well as vital firewood from branches. The pruned trees allow sunlight to reach the food crops. Working in harmony with nature, small farmers are empowered towards climate resilient food sovereignty.

Climate impact: Loss of biodiversity, forest ecosystem destruction and the resultant loss of habitat are among the first causes of global warming. Inga-alley adoption is a model for climate mitigation and adaptation through organic and sustainable regenerative agriculture, saving N2O emissions. By preventing slash & burn practices, this project has preserved 600 ha of rainforest and saved 12,300 t CO2 in 4 years. Since 2013, it has helped 40 to 300 families withstand Honduras’ terrible floods and droughts and ensured their food security.

Gender impact: Land for Life is a debt-free program that transforms livelihood options for the entire family. Agroforestry trainings are offered to women and men equally, enabling women to access new agricultural resources: women have been trained as foresters or tree-nursery managers. Women in the beneficiary communities have gained decision power regarding the family land. This reinforces their land inheritance rights, secured by a favorable legal environment in Honduras.

Scalability / replicability: Started in 2012 with 40 families, the project expanded to 300 households in Honduras and has been successfully replicated in Madagascar. Inga-alley agroforestry system is simple and cost effective; the model can be easily replicated. As farmers work cooperatively, they can access larger markets where demand for organic food is raising. The Inga foundation is looking into opportunities to access regional channels while keeping their bottom-up approach.

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Innovative business model: local female vendors phasing out kerosene lights in energy poor communities

Description of the project: The main objective of this project is to combat light poverty by providing affordable quality solar lights to rural and peri-urban households relying on increasingly expensive kerosene. Five local women have been trained to raise awareness and sell solar lights. They offer flexible payment models to ensure everyone’s access to the lights, including the poorest households in the villages. 650 households in 10 villages (approx. 3250 people) have been reached so far; the majority of the customers have been women. The solar lights provide clearer light, increase the villagers’ productive hours, reduce carbon emissions and the exposure to harmful smoke/air pollution.

Climate impact: This is a climate change mitigation project striving to reduce carbon emissions from kerosene lamps. The burning of 1 liter of kerosene produces 2.5 kg of CO2. Each household in the target communities uses an average of 50 liters/year. Jiro Solèra estimates that so far they have managed to reduce 81,250 kg of CO2 a year. Their goal is to reach 10,000 households, thus reducing 1,250,000 kg of CO2 yearly.

Gender impact: Jiro Solèra works to improve the economic opportunities of local women through a women-led enterprise. The target communities are sceptical to the new sustainable energy source. To date, 7 local women have been trained on raising awareness on the benefits of switching to quality solar lights. They teach women, children and men about the disproportionate effect indoor air pollution and kerosene has on women’s health. They then sell the lights and become role models within their communities.

Scalability / replicability: This project is suitable for energy poor communities; there are still many villages in Madagascar that can be reached. The Roddenberry Foundation provides the project with a catalyst grant and the solar lights are sold at full market price with a small profit margin. The profit is reinvested in new lights, and pooled into salaries. Only solar lights, with 2-year warranty, meeting the Global Lighting Quality Standard are distributed. The team teach the community how to use the warranty.

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