Defending people’s rights

Imagine there is a tree near your home. Each year, it has a good crop of fruit, but it is starting to look unhealthy. Should you look after it? Should you plant another one? First you need to know if you are allowed to – and that you will see the benefits if you do.

In the areas of Africa in which we work, traditional unwritten agreements about using land and trees are often unclear and groups like women are often excluded. Sometimes forests are controlled by the government too, with permits, taxes and fines. Unless villagers trust the system, they won’t invest in helping to protect the forest.

What TREE AID does

We help villagers get access to the land they need and the right to plant, own and use trees – so they can invest in trees for the future. We also work with communities to agree rules for using shared forests, so the environment is protected, and the forests become a group interest.

Living Proof: Clarisse Kiendrebeogo, 54, Passintinga, Burkina Faso

“Last year, my field had around 238 trees, of which 124 were shea. They would have started to produce this year but unfortunately I’ve experienced a loss. My trees were to a large extent destroyed by people who wanted a space in our field to cultivate.
I was devastated, I cried a lot and I felt the loss like a woman losing her child. I had looked after my trees for many years so lovingly without neglecting the risks of snakes that are in the field! The work of several years destroyed in several hours. I was inconsolable, so I decided to abandon everything but thanks to the advice, encouragement and support of others in my village and TREE AID I had the courage to start again in my field. This unfortunate time caused me great pain but raised awareness of the need for us all to be involved in protecting trees.”