Green Community Initiative: Sustainable Land Management and Poverty Reduction.

To Reverse deforestation and Promote Agro-led alternative Livelihood.

Photo of KELECHUKWU OKEZIE
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Eligibility Criteria

  • I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge and that I am eligible to apply.
  • I am 18 years old or older.

Initiative's representative name

KELECHUKWU OKEZIE

Initiative's representative date of birth

23rd June 1966

Initiative's representative gender

  • Man

Headquarters location: country

  • Nigeria

Headquarters location: city

ABAKALIKI

Where are you making a difference?

Nigeria, Ebonyi State, Abakaliki.

Website or social media url(s)

http:www.newfoundationng.org www.facebook.com/newfoundationngo www.linkedin.com/in/okezie-kelechukwu-34916940

Date Started

August, 2013

Project Stage

  • Established (successfully passed early phases, have a plan going forward)

Yearly Budget : What is your current yearly budget for the initiative?

  • €10k - €50k

Organization Type

  • Nonprofit/NGO

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

Over 18,000 inhabitants of Enyigba and Edda communities depend on forest resources for sustenance. Baselines studies show that the natural forests dwindled to less than 20% of its original status. Lots of the flora and fauna endemic to the communities have gone into extinction or threatened. Again over 70% of arable lands have become degraded and infertile resulting in very low crop yields and poverty index of 33.3%. Agricultural activities and high demand for land led to the intensification of natural land exploitation, reduction and fragmentation of natural habitat and emergence of drought in the region. There is the urgent need to reverse deforestation, introduce agroforestry and build climate change resilience.

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

I am trying to address the problems of massive deforestation, biodiversity loss and food insecurity. This is done to restore ownership and management of forests by the local communities. Agricultural lands become sustainably managed through abandoning the practice of farming that impoverishes the soil such as the application of chemical fertilizers and bush burning by farmers. I am also addressing climate change vulnerability, biodiversity loss and poverty through innovative actions.

3. Your solution: How are you working to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

I work in collaboration with the local community to protect the forests and change agricultural land-use practices that degrade the soil and promote poverty. My strategy is through joint participation and ownership of forests and the natural resources that engender peace, resilience and human development. I work with the community members to identify and find answers to felt needs. This is done through participatory rural appraisal (PRA) and small immediate do-able actions (SIDA) that halt land degradation, biodiversity loss, and poverty through best agricultural practices. The farmers undergo hands-on practical training on agroforestry, tree nursery operations and compost manure making. Also, we research on and reintroduce tree species that are indigenous to the people and that are of economic value facing extinction. We follow up through technical assistance to ensure the farmers are independent and can replicate the model across their community and others. We organise town hall meetings where emerging issues and challenges are collectively addressed and solved. Through these processes, everyone is involved in providing local solutions to a wide range of challenges.

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

Through the PRA, we identify community challenges and find common solutions through the integration of indigenous knowledge and modern technology. We work together with women and youth groups to identify and reintroduce threatened plants species and the planting of fodder and fuelwood trees that address food for livestock and demand for fuelwood. Also, we encourage the practice of agroforestry in which both crops and trees are interspersed in the farmland. By planting economic trees that are indigenous to the people in the community land, we diversify local income, protect and extend forests taxa and fauna. We revived a local stream that was drying up due to evaporation, farming and felling trees near the stream source and course.

5. Collaboration: How does your initiative seek to bring key players together to preserve biodiversity?

My model for change is inclusivity through mapping individuals, norms and institutions that control or make for change. Traditional rulers, men, women and youth leaders are involved in project design, implementation and monitoring. The women identify key tree crops that enhance their personal income and meet their family nutrients needs; while the men and youths fire trace, map and provide security till the trees are stabilised. We work and link the community project to government agencies such as the Ministry of Agriculture and of Environment for additional support. I use my connection serving in sustainable land management (SLM) committee of the Ministry of Agriculture to link the community to the government and vice versa. The bi-monthly town hall meetings bring together all stakeholders to collaborate and leverage on areas of comparative advantage of the other. Sharing our success stories and best practices during knowledge fairs enrich researchers interest in our work.

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far — in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

My project has made many sustainable impacts in the preservation of forests and their resources in four communities; Edda, Enyigba, Nwofe and Nkaliki, all in Ebonyi state. Between 2013 till date, we have secured, safeguarded and conserved four forests measuring over 120 hectares each, together with their rich bio-diversity that could have been destroyed if left unprotected till today. We worked with over 4200 farmers who are today practising agroforestry as suitable agricultural practice. Between 2013 and 2018, we have been able to raise and plant over 53,000 high yielding economic trees improving household income by 30%. Over 600 widows and persons with a disability received improved tree seedlings which reduced their burden of dependency. These initiatives also brought together various segments of the society to work together, cementing friendship and peaceful cohesion. Today the forest is not an alien to be conquered but a friend to be protected.

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

My growth strategies are through training of at least 2000 farmers every year for the next 5 years in five eastern states of Nigeria. Technology drives development and through investing and researching on new agro-technology, a large impact would be achieved. Discovering and networking with persons and organisations across the globe with relevant knowledge and technology will enhance my capacity for regional impact. Through co-creation with private and business sectors actors in the agribusiness, I will be able to scale impact and create an ecosystem of Enviro-Agric Entrepreneurs. By bringing together conservationist and environmental actors and leveraging on the competences of each other, I will unleash the full potentials of the people.

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for society? Or different stakeholders?

Shared values are created when each component believes in their abilities and brings something to the table. All persons are endowed with unique gifts and by harnessing such, we create social growth and development. Our environment defines our values and working together to protect our environment and its resources we harness our strength in diversity. Realizing that some necessities such as water, education, food and better living conditions guarantee social cohesion, I bring people to work together to address a common felt need after working through an evaluation process. Identifying and mapping the resources in a single forest made them realise that forests are a rich source of values.

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

To fund my project, I need to engage with partners and funders interested in my work. This could be sourced through grants or co-creating partnership. Also by establishing pilot farms and nurseries, I will be able to raise many tree stocks in nursery and market these to provide fund for my projects sustainability. I can also source fund from UN Agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Agricultural Credit Banks in my country, and from other government establishments that are promoting sustainable agricultural practices and environmental conservation. Also, as a consultant after this co-creation and partnership with ASPIRE RE, I would become more knowledgeable as to becoming engaged for a fee by the private sectors.

10. Team: what is the current composition of your current team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

My team consist of 5 full-time staff (Male and female) with University degrees in Environmental management, Forestry, Industrial chemistry and Agriculture. I have7 member Board, who are committed to the works I do. We work with over 100 volunteers from diverse educational and occupational affiliations. We are bonded with a common goal and passion which are to protect the forest resources and its rich biodiversity; improve resilience and poverty reduction.

11. How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Ashoka page or contact
  • Email

Evaluation results

7 evaluations so far

1. 1) OVERALL EVALUATION

Yes, absolutely! - 14.3%

Yes/maybe - 71.4%

Maybe - 14.3%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%

2. 2) CONNECTION TO BIODIVERSITY

5 —Absolutely! It’s crystal clear how the solution is directly contributing to preserving and/or restoring biodiversity. - 0%

4—Yes, it establishes a clear connection to biodiversity. - 71.4%

3—Somewhat, the entry speaks to biodiversity but the direct impact is not well established and/or it is focused on a single species without considering its impact on the broader ecosystem - 28.6%

2—Not really, the connection to biodiversity is weak - 0%

1—No. The entry does not reference the solution’s impact on biodiversity. - 0%

3. 3) Is this entry IMPACTFUL?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 0%

4- Yes, I think so. - 71.4%

3- Maybe. - 28.6%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%

4. 4) Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 0%

4- Yes, I think so. - 14.3%

3- Maybe. - 57.1%

2- Probably not. - 28.6%

1- No. - 0%

5. 5) Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 0%

4- Yes, I think so. - 14.3%

3- Maybe. - 71.4%

2- Probably not. - 14.3%

1- No. - 0%

6. 6) Is this entry ACTIVATING CHANGEMAKING?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 14.3%

4- Yes, I think so. - 57.1%

3- Maybe. - 28.6%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%

7. 7) Does this entry value COLLABORATION WITH OTHER STAKEHOLDERS in its approach?

5- Yes, absolutely! - 0%

4- Yes, I think ko. - 28.6%

3- Maybe. - 71.4%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%

8. 8) FEEDBACK – Highlights

INNOVATION: You have a great understanding of the problem, have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful new solutions - 66.7%

IMPACT: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) and you have a plan for measuring impact - 66.7%

GROWTH & LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL: You have a thoughtful plan for growth and your founding team has a strong combination of leadership and knowledge-based skills - 33.3%

VIABIBLITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work from a financial perspective in the present and future - 100%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: You value thinking around how to activate changemakers and empower them to innovate through your product or programming - 100%

POTENTIAL TO CREATE SHARED VALUE: You have a clearly defined plan on how to maximize shared value across multiple sectors and stakeholders - 33.3%

WRITING STYLE: Your writing style is concise, descriptive, clear, and specific - 33.3%

Other option - 0%

9. 9) FEEDBACK - Areas for Improvement

INNOVATION: Be more specific in your description of the research you have done into the past solutions to this problem and focus on how your solution is unique and innovative - 50%

IMPACT: Provide specific instances of your social impact and how you plan to measure impact – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, products and programming, and provide evidence of (or plan for) how to measure impact - 50%

GROWTH & LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL: Your plan for growing the organization can benefit from more specifics. How can you round out the various skills of your current leadership team to make the project a long-term success? - 75%

VIABILITY: Make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 100%

POTENTIAL TO CREATE SHARED VALUE: your plan can benefit from more thought on how to create value for all stakeholders, not just immediate beneficiaries - 0%

WRITING STYLE: Try to be more concise, descriptive, clear, and specific. Avoid jargon. - 0%

Nothing – I thought everything was great! - 0%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: Try to provide more insights into how you are activating changemakers and empowering them to innovate through your product or programming - 0%

Other option - 0%

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Attachments (3)

women participating.jpg

Forests and Bio-diversity conservation is a duty for all gender. We also work with the women in the communities.

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