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The Rural Environmental Empowerment Initiative
AFFORESTATION, AGROFORESTRY & RE-VEGETATION
T.R.E.E. Initiative have been able to set up a few self-help, long term afforestation and sustainable forest management programs to create national awareness on the need to mitigate the negative consequences of climate change caused by indiscriminate deforestation.
The primary focus here is to reach out to institutions, communities and smallholder farmer clusters across the country particularly in areas where deforestation has become a major concern as a result of the indiscriminate felling of trees and depletion of forest resources due to the booming business of charcoal production for domestic use, industrial use and for export. We are currently working on the following programs to reach our goal of planting and nurturing 10 million trees by 2025:
"And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food..."
ONE STUDENT ONE TREE PROJECT (OSOTP)
The One Student One Tree Project (OSOTP) is a collaborative partnership between T.R.E.E. Initiative and tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
The project was launched in collaboration with the Growing Green Initiatives domiciled at the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) in Nigeria. The project was conceptualized to inspire undergraduates to creatively adopt the culture of conservation that will reverse the environmental degradation in our communities and to ensure that economic development and a better standard of living do not come at the expense of the environment.
The OSOTP has a direct nexus with 9 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. And while adopting OSOTP as Climate Action, we are equally advocating an act of Parliament to make it a policy in both public and private tertiary institutions across Nigeria. We are advocating for an act that will mandate all students, particularly those in the Faculties of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences to plant and nurture trees before graduation. With such an act enacted by the National Assembly, tree planting will henceforth become a national policy and an academic module for undergraduates.
Annually, thousands of seedlings will be distributed freely and some at subsidized rates to smallholder farmers across the country through T.R.E.E. Initiative to promote agroforestry and afforestation.
With the support of donors and State Actors, we are replicating this project across the country one institution at a time.
LAUTECH has established an ambitious afforestation program which is the first of its kind by any University in Africa. Over 1 million trees will be planted within the premise of LAUTECH under the OSOTP. It is expected that over the next 5 years, about 10 million tree seedlings will be raised by Growing Green Initiatives in the University which will be sold to farmers and investors venturing into commercial tree plantation.
NATIONAL SHEA TREE RESTORATION ADVOCACY PROGRAM (NASTREP: 2019-2025)
As part of our Climate Action advocacy, particularly as regards agroforestry, T.R.E.E. Initiative considers the need to mobilize and empower smallholder farmers, particularly women across the Shea Belt in Nigeria spanning about 22 States to adopt the planting of improved Shea Tree seedlings as an innovation in landscape restoration.
T.R.E.E. Initiative with the support and collaboration of donors and partners intends to float this project conceived by to mitigate the possible eventual extinction of the Shea Butter tree in Nigeria. This is because of the strategic importance of the Shea Butter tree in sustaining the livelihood of more than 1 million rural women across the Shea Belt in Nigeria.
The NASTREP also seeks to escalate the advocacy to stop the cutting down of Shea Butter trees for the purpose of charcoal production which is largely exported through Nigerian ports and porous land borders.
More importantly, the plan will facilitate the planting and nurturing of over 2 million improved varieties of Shea Butter tree seedlings using a unique tracking technology platform for monitoring and data collection across 200 communities in 22 States in Nigeria between 2019 and 2025.
COMMEMORATION OF INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FORESTS
The annual commemoration of International Day of Forests is one big event on the T.R.E.E. Initiative and it has been marked yearly since we took off.
In 2018, the International Day of Forests was held in collaboration with at Lead City University. The commemoration event was held at the institution’s Astro Turf Stadium arena. The theme was “Forest and Sustainable Cities.”
The Speakers at the event laid emphasis on the need for continuous engagement of Nigerians on the reality of climate change occasioned by massive cutting of trees, for domestic and commercial purposes. Forests are very important and strategic to human existence, and its sustenance is the only way we can defeat hunger globally. The school management also urged the students to emulate such Climate Action initiatives, and said the program was about building volunteering spirit. Over 1000 students who participated in the program were given Certificate of Participation. The highlight was the symbolic planting of trees within the institution.
In 2019, the International Day of Forests was held in collaboration with Rosebud Schools in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. The theme was ‘Forests & Education’ with a sub-rider: ‘Learn to Love Forests’. This theme creates a connection between SDG 15 (Life on Land) and SDG 4 (Quality Education). The focus was to simplify the importance of trees and forests to school age kids and young adults.
Two students from the school made separate presentations on the importance of forests to life on land and the importance of trees and forests. Other presentations highlighted the importance of SDG 15 and SDG 4, and how the event passes as Climate Action (SDG 13).
FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc., the nation’s leading milk manufacturing company for supported the event with gifts. FrieslandCampina WAMCO via knowledge-sharing, training courses, exchange programmes and the establishment of local milk collection systems has already supported over 3500 local dairy farmers including about 900 rural women to sustain their livelihood.
LOCAL COMMUNITIES TREE PLANTING
The community based afforestation (tree planting) advocacy programs have so far been held in several local government areas across states in Southwest Nigeria. The aim is to create awareness by supporting communities and mobilizing rural dwellers particularly women and youths to take a stand against deforestation and the depletion of forest resources.
It started with a symbolic flag-off ceremony that took place at the premise of an Old Maternity Centre built by the Old Western Region Government at a community called Olodo under Ajorosun L.C.D.A in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria with the planting of hundreds of timber tree seedlings. This community based afforestation advocacy program which was first implemented in Ajorosun L.C.D.A is now responsible for the planting of thousands of different trees species across the seven different local government areas in Nigeria.
The house to house advocacy campaign in these communities were carried out by indigent T.R.E.E. Initiative community volunteers while the massive tree planting started at the peak of the season across some communities in the local government areas.
T.R.E.E. Initiative intends to escalate this approach by engaging more communities and collaborating with local authorities and agencies of Government that can offer capacity building opportunities, productive partnerships and sustainable schemes that can create more economic activities to sustain hard working rural dwellers and discourage them from indiscriminate cutting of trees.