Sustainability has permeated the work of Better Globe Forestry Ltd. since the start in 2004. The heart and passion of BGF is to meet the enormous potential of the people and environment in Kenya and Uganda, in a way that strengthens the people, the environment and leads to sustainable businesses and communities.
Globally and locally in Kenya and Uganda, a major urbanization is taking place. Better Globe Forestry’s work, in the areas where they operate, leads to slowing down the urbanization, and the creation of opportunities for people to stay or move back.
BGF promote sustainable communities and sustainable jobs for those living in the neighbouring areas. As the communities keep growing, people can earn a living and continue to run their farms. The different services in community come to them instead of vice versa.
Populating the rural areas
When Better Globe Forestry Ltd. started operating in Kiambere, the village was made up by a small collection of five houses. There was little or no hope for the residents of the village to be able to create any kind of prosperity in that place back then.
Today, the same village consists of 109 houses and BGF is a big and attractive employer in the middle of what could be best described as a wasteland. Many other businesses can also be found in the area now, and several farms in connection with Better Globe’s tree plantations provide more and more residents.
In other parts of northern Kenya where BGF is not yet established, people move to larger villages and cities looking for work or trying find other ways to survive. They can often get access to food rations through aid programs, but while they’re gone drought and erosion take over their old farmland and makes it increasingly unusable.
Jobs are created
One of the keys to slowing down depopulation and desertification in these areas is sustainable work based on real needs, real commercial rules and especially in areas of business with great needs in the foreseeable future. The global demand for timber and timber related product is large and it takes a long time to meet since trees grow slowly.
Demand for quality wood continues to be greater than supply, which is positive for BGF, as we focus on planting Mukau trees. Mukau is of similar quality to mahogany and grows relatively quickly. Every year a large amount of new trees are planted on our plantations, which need to be cared for throughout the tree’s production time (about 20 years). This ensures that there will be jobs there for a long time. Planting forests in semi-desert areas is definitely a growth industry for several reasons.
A sustainable local economy
The villagers do whatever they can to organize their lives so that they can stay in the villages. They even have a collective approach to money and other resources. There is usually a village-fund or common economy and the little that is collectively owned is looked after. But the village-fund is often too small to really make a lasting difference in the village.
Better Globe can by donation packages inject money in the shape of microloans which can result in small businesses or joint village projects being launched that generate new values and revenue. It is, most often, women who are allowed to borrow a small amount of money so they can start some kind of income-generating activity or invest in something that allows them to save money in the long run.
Awareness means sustainability
People who can live and interact with nature are often aware that they are dependent of the biological ecosystem. At our plantations it becomes gradually more and more clear for employees and staff that you need to care about the land and nature. That it is thanks to the trees planted in the soil that a value is created that allows people to live, and that they bring many positive byproducts for the surrounding areas.
Sustainability is also to be aware of how the economic cycle in society works. Once the economic cycle has started, the need for external assistance is soon reduced.
One of the BGF’s main objectives is to fight poverty and corruption. Thus, it is a key feature of our organization to ensure that everyone becomes a winner in the places where we work. People should be able to trust that they will be treated fairly and that our work is based on sound and sustainable relationships.
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