Regreening Ségou, Mali

TREE AID was established in 1987 by a group of foresters in response to the Ethiopian famine. Their aim was to establish a sustainable way of supporting poor rural communities in Africa. TREE AID help villagers, particularly women, to reduce poverty, protect their environment and earn income from the planting and protection of trees.

Between 1990 and 2010, Mali lost over 11 % of its tree cover. Ségou is part of Mali’s arid Sahelian zone which has suffered dramatic deforestation due to agricultural land clearance, fuelwood use and fodder collection. This has led to soil erosion and desertification.

Nearly 42,000 people in 70 villages will benefit from this project, which will create new forest cover, protect the environment, provide food, training and income to the local community, and create an attractive area for travelllers to visit by:

  • Establishing 11 new tree nurseries, and planting 320,000 trees
  • Organising 80 days of workshops for the communities to agree on the management of the new forests
  • Training 55 people in techniques needed to produce marketable products from Shea and Baobab trees

This is a three year project, which EOCA is part funding together with other funders.

The Update

At the end of the first year of this project, 94,743 trees had been planted. In one area, the villagers chose to plant more eucalyptus trees than other species as this fast growing species quickly provides timber for- and therefore income from – building poles and firewood.  Other species planted include mango, lemon, guave, baobab and shea, all important for income generation in the area.  In the final report, we heard about the project launching the ‘one woman: one moringa, one baobab’ initiative which is providing women with moringa and baobab seedlings and then training them how to grow them and use them.  Increasingly recognised as superfoods, these species have incredible nutritional benefits for women and children.  By the end of the period funded by EOCA, 16,153 trees had been planted using the EOCA funding.

Ten tree nurseries have already been successfully established and 14 people have received training to run the nurseries.  These ten nurseries are in fact proving sufficient for the whole project and the 11th has not been deemed necessary.  Village committees have been established in the two areas of work, to oversee the reforestation projects and will allow the project to achieve the best results for the future. In total, 1200 people have volunteered for, and received training on tree planting and maintenance.  This number shows a real enthusiasm and commitment from local communities to the project, and that number is set to grow as the project continues….

Finally, over 650 people came to a community meeting to discuss how to protect three community forests which are crucial to the survival of families living in the 73 villages.  All of the mayors have agreed to develop and implement forest protection plans.