ITF’s partner projects are funded from various sources, ranging from fundraising campaigns, legacies, monthly membership donations to those running marathons.
But this year, one of our projects has been funded entirely from gifts at one couple’s wedding! Ina and David Stewart decided to donate half of all the money raised at their wedding to ITF, which was enough to fund a one year project in Zambia.
‘We wanted to do something positive with the goodwill of our friends and family’, says Ina. The couple decided that they didn’t need many gifts to celebrate their wedding, and began looking for a charity in the eco/sustainability sector, with a particular interest in tree planting and reforestation.
With their donation, ITF was able to fund a project submitted to our Sustainable Community Forestry Programme.
About the project
Based in the Lundazi District of Zambia, Revival is a small community-based organisation which aims to counteract environmental degradation and deforestation. The organisation works with 70 women’s and youth clubs in Zambia.
Tobacco, cotton and maize are grown here on large scales, contributing significantly to high deforestation rates as land is cleared for agricultural activities. Additionally, unsustainable farming methods have increased soil erosion and uncontrolled bush fires and the overgrazing of livestock has degraded the local environment.
Working with Katondo women’s group to improve forest and farmland
Communities in the area are mainly small-scale farmers, and Revival recognises the need to balance their environmental goals with attaining sustainable livelihoods.
The project aims to introduce agroforestry to the Katondo women’s club in Kapichila, an area where the power of integrating trees into agricultural systems is poorly understood. 25 members will benefit from tree planting on their farms. Each member will receive help to measure and plant their ‘agroforest’, as well as capacity building. Revival will also work with the participants to find a market for their products, and the income from these activities will help them to plant more trees in their fields as part of the sustainability strategy.
Spreading the word to the wider community
Women and youth will be the main beneficiaries in all activities and their training should enable knowledge transfer into the wider community and set an example for other small-scale farmers to follow.
This project will simultaneously help restore the health and productivity of the members’ farms and return degraded forests and grazing land to healthy biodiverse ecosystems.
A less materialistic way of sharing joy!
After their wedding, Ina and David got in touch to ask us where their donation would be going. “We liked the fact that ITF’s projects focus on working with local communities”, says David. “This seemed like a longer term solution to improve areas through changing the ways communities work with their natural resources, rather than imposing a project on a location”.
Since they are from different countries, David from London and Ina from South-west Germany, it was important to find something that worked in one or both of their homelands and also looked abroad to where it could do the most good. ITF ‘ticked all these boxes’ and after discussing their donation with us, Ina and David chose to help fund the Revival project. The Sustainable Community Forestry Programme appealed to the couple because of the combination of ecological and social aspects with a focus on education and the chance of providing a sustainable income to communities.
Family and friends were very positive about their decision. Instead of buying items off a list, they were free to donate as much or as little as they wanted to the project. The decision to donate also fitted well with the theme of the wedding and provided their guests with ‘a less materialistic way of sharing their joy’.
The reception was held at a local sustainably-run farm and was very much a hands-on affair, with all the guests helping to prepare the food together, from harvesting vegetables through to baking bread and making sausages from scratch. To Ina and David ‘the idea of also donating some of our gifts to a good cause made sense in this context.’
Ina and David got married in August last year in Munich, the city in which they met and now live. “We love the idea that our wedding will have a longer-term positive impact, and kind of “live on” somewhere else rather than just result in a photo album and a collection of home-wares”.
We would like to express our upmost thanks to Ina and David. We will be updating them and their guests about the project that they have funded as it progresses. Their donation has entirely funded Revival’s project in Zambia.
Individual donations are vital to our work! If you would also like to donate, get involved with our work or have a similar idea, please get in touch or visit our ‘How to Help’ page.