The lack of water is one of the biggest problems in the areas where Better Globe Forestry (“BGF”) operate. Water shortages lead not only to practical problems with planting the trees but also to problems relating to health, hygiene, food and schooling.
BGF have chosen to plant the trees in areas of semi-desert. These areas are arid and developing into desert due to deforestation and little precipitation. They are often exposed to erosion since there are no roots and plants to keep the soil in place during rainy periods. That is why we have had to plant trees that are natural to this environment and that can cope more or less on their own.
The two types of trees that BGF plant are primarily Mukau and Acacia trees. If these trees survive the first year, they tend to cope on their own afterwards. Acacia trees are particularly resistant to a lack of water, and we have seen them survive for up to a year and a half without water.
To be sure of success BGF water both manually and through drip irrigation. In the latter case, they lay out hoses on the ground along the lines of trees, in some cases covering them with soil to avoid evaporation, and making a small hole in the hose at the tree to concentrate the water to where it is needed the most. When the trees start growing, they shade the ground around them, and this in turn helps vegetation to start growing which holds the soil in place, captures the dew at night and helps to retain water when it rains. It is the beginning of a virtuous cycle.
Increased access to clean water
Most people living here lack access to clean water. They may have to walk many hours every day to fetch water. It is often women and children who have this task.
Some have access to “water kiosks” where they will queue up to buy their water from a faucet. Others may seek out river beds where they dig holes to get down to the ground water which often is dirty and contaminated. In cases where the children need to help out, it prevents them from going to school.
Better Globe Forestry Ltd. builds and renovates schools, in cooperation with Child Africa, in these areas. They provide buildings with gutters and large water tanks that are replenished during the rainy periods. This simple operation has, according to the headmaster of a school in Sosoma which Child Africa has supported, led to twice as high attendance than before the water tanks were installed. It is easier for parents to send their children to school if the school provides them with water during the warmest hours of the day.
When BGF supply water to our plantations, we at the same time make sure that the surrounding communities get access to this water supply. In many cases the aid may be water cisterns and gutters. In other cases, drilled wells. We are able to provide this aid, thanks to the contributions from the donation packages.
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