Women for Forests: Celebrating International Women's Day
Meaghan Weeden | March 2, 2021 | 4 min read
Planting Trees to Empower Women and Restore the Environment
International Women's Day is coming up and we’re proud to have many female-led initiatives dedicated to reforestation at the heart of our organization. And this year, we’re taking it one step further: in celebration of International Women's Day, One Tree Planted and Planet Women are uniting with female smallholder farmers to plant trees, support healthy communities, and restore the environment.
And we’re not just doing it because seeing women empowered to improve their lives and help the environment makes us do a happy dance (which, for the record, it does). Studies have found that women reinvest 90% of their income in their families and communities, while men reinvest 30-40%.
But it goes much deeper than that: research also shows that women’s actions tend to be informed by the needs of the collective rather than the individual — and that therefore, they’re more likely to make decisions that support the public good and improve the welfare of others (including nature). This means that empowering women has a powerful and sustained ripple effect on their communities and the surrounding environment — and as a result, it's a top climate change solution.
Here's How We're Supporting Women and the Environment
From supporting coffee and shade tree farmers in Rwanda to providing clean water and fruit trees in Malawi to supporting gender equality and farmer-led conservation in Tanzania, we’re passionate about working with women to create more productive farms, healthier families, greater biodiversity, higher carbon sequestration potential, cleaner water resources, and more resilient communities. All by planting trees!
The primary goal of this project is to provide trees to three communities of smallholder coffee farmers in Rwanda that include many women. The project will provide an increase in harvest and income, empowering over 200 coffee farmers to invest in their futures and create thriving communities. And through a 15-month Fellowship Program led by Kula Project, farmers are also trained by expert agronomists in Tree Canopy Management, Coffee Tree and Variety Characteristics, Soil Productivity, Harvesting, Erosion Control, Weeding and Waste Management, Composting and Amendment, and Shade Trees.
This project will plant 100% indigenous trees in cooperation with Wells for Zoë and local community members, as well as installing well water pumps and planting fruit trees for nutritional and social impact. One of the main goals is to decrease pressure on mature indigenous forests and provide firewood for local communities to end the cycle of women carrying firewood for many miles. Additional objectives are to improve the microclimate and reduce soil erosion, enhance biodiversity, and invite milder temperatures.
This project is created by and for farmers to show how small-scale agroforestry on individually owned pieces of land is an invaluable tool in addressing climate change. The project mandates gender parity at all levels of leadership. This is implemented by adherence to rotational leadership, where a new leader takes over every 4 months, with gender alternation. Through participation in The International Small Group and Tree Planting (TIST) program, farmers are also able to access education on beekeeping and FAO Conservation Farming principles. This leads to increased crop yields, organic compost fertilizer, and climate resiliency.
The mission of Planet Women is to partner with women to create a healthy planet for the benefit of all life. That means combining the best elements of conservation with a radical new approach to leadership and culture to build a stronger, more inclusive environmental movement.
We work on the ground with our partners in Africa, the Amazon River Basin and the Colorado River Basin. Together, we are restoring and protecting critical forests and watersheds, using strategies that are co-created and led by women in the communities most affected by environmental degradation.
One Tree Planted
Put simply: We plant trees. That's the One Tree Planted mission. We plant on six continents around the world.
Our reforestation projects are driven by the six pillars: Air, Water, Biodiversity, Health, Climate, and Social Impact. Planting trees creates jobs and employment while restoring habitats and promoting biodiversity. Reforestation is the best-known means of restoring healthy ecosystems.
Women are socially and economically disadvantaged in many parts of the world, but you can contribute to a more equitable vision. Want to learn more? Be sure to follow us on Instagram, where we’ll be sharing fun facts about the special skills and unique roles that women bring to the table when it comes to protecting our planet and taking care of nature.
And finally, join us in celebrating International Women’s Day by planting trees, empowering women, and creating social impact that will last for generations to come.
We plant trees on 4 continents around the world. Want to choose where yours are planted?