Trees 4 Livelihoods (T4L) is a partnership initiative of the International Tree Foundation (ITF) and Sahel Eco, funded by the Big Lottery Fund. It aims to improve the livelihoods of 28,000 people living in 29 villages in central Mali.
T4L is a 4-year community-led programme which aims to increase food security, reduce poverty and build resilience to climatic shocks and long term climate change. This is achieved by strengthening local skills and capacity to manage agricultural land and forest resources more sustainably and productively.
T4L addresses the downward spiral of deforestation, land degradation, soil infertility, reduced yields, food insecurity, increasing poverty and malnutrition in Mali. As the project draws to a close in 2017, it demonstrates the effectiveness and the sustainability of locally owned solutions to food insecurity. Solutions that recognise and address the different causal factors: environmental degradation, economic exclusion and political powerlessness.
Trees 4 Livelihoods works in the Mopti District of Mali in the 4 communes of Konna, Borondougou, Koubaye and Ouro Modi. The four major objectives are:
Outcome 1: Smallholder farmers in dryland areas of the Konna and Borondougou communes adopt more sustainable land management practices, with the aim of restoring tree cover, reducing erosion and improving soil fertility.
Outcome 2: Municipal and traditional authorities in Konna and Borondougou communes agree and implement investment plans to restore the productive potential of 55 hectares of highly degraded land, and increased access by disadvantaged communities.
Outcome 3: Disadvantaged communities work together with the Municipal and traditional authorities to develop and implement a road map towards more sustainable and inclusive management of the Koubaye forest leading to greater involvement in the management of the forests and, in the longer term, greater access to enhanced forest resources.
Due to insecurity around the Koubaye forest, this outcome had to be abandoned.
Outcome 4: Women in project villages in the four target communes, who harvest, transform and trade non-timber forest products, improve their organisation, skills and access to markets and begin to manage the trees that they depend on, thus increasing incomes and security of access.
Trees 4 Livelihoods is in its final year in 2017, and there are already visible results. 8,022 people have been trained since the beginning of the project and many are implementing new agricultural practices adapted to the dryland environment. Crop yields have increased by as much as 62% through the use of different techniques, and 127,866 trees have been planted or regenerated.
T4L Shortlisted for the Lush Spring Prize
In 2017, Trees 4 Livelihoods was shortlisted for the first Lush Spring Prize Established Projects award. The project was chosen for its achievements in regenerating the drylands, introducing new techniques in land management and for its holistic approach involving all members of the community in project activities.