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World Vision reforestation project receives Africa’s first ever UN-administered carbon credit

  • Project has turned barren rocky land into fertile green forests
  • Community expected to earn $700,000 over next 10 years for sale of credits
  • Farmers have reinvested money into grain mills, loans for small business venture

Media contact:

Lauren Fisher

Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA (October 18, 2012) World Vision is celebrating a huge milestone in sustainable development with an eye towards the environment. The organization’s program in Humbo, Ethiopia recently was awarded Africa’s first-ever United Nations-administered carbon credit.

The project focused on a farming community in southern Ethiopia. By changing tree pruning and harvesting techniques, farmers were able to restore vegetation on more than 2,700 hectares degraded forest. The result is less flooding, more fodder and fuel wood, a return of wildlife and greater income in addition to an overall reduction in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Humbo site 2005 prior to project

Humbo project site 2007 (one year after implementation)

“The visual difference is very striking even two years into the project — a transformation from barren, rocky hills to grass covered hills with dense stands of trees up to 4 meters tall and wildlife returning,” said World Vision agroforestry expert Tony Rinaudo. “Where farmers are practicing FMNR on farmland there can be a significant change in two to three years where crop yields increase, livestock have more fodder and farmers can be actively harvesting trees and branches to supplement their income.”

This month, Humbo residents were awarded 73,000 credits under the United Nation’s Clean Development Mechanism. The credits represent the successful capture of 73,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. These credits can be sold to industrialized countries to help them fulfill their obligations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It is expected credits will provide an income stream of more than $700,000 to local communities for at least the next 10 years. The community has used that money to build grain storage sheds, buy a grain grinder and support the purchase of livestock. Community members have plans to use the next payments to start a brick-making business, buying a small truck so they can cart their wares into town.

"The most important part of this initiative is that it is bringing communities together for common goals related to improving their environment, strengthening their long term resilience and improving the well-being of children," said Margaret M. Schuler, World Vision’s national director in Ethiopia.

The change has sparked others who hope to simulate the reforestation project. Five countries in East Africa have expressed interest in starting a similar project and there has been wider interest globally. World Vision currently has agroforestry programs in several other countries vulnerable to drought and food shortages, including Niger and Senegal.

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About World Vision:
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. We serve the world's poor — regardless of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. For more information on their efforts, visit WorldVision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews

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