Mariya Alsedeg Mustafa is one of the beneficiaries of the Integrated Carbon Sequestration Project, living in the small village of AlMagarba in Madani. She started with planting a couple of trees and worked hard on maintaining them, till they grew to be a small forest. “She took really good care of those trees, she used to not let anyone get near them” her niece explains. As a deaf-mute individual in a rural area, Mariya didn’t have much to do before her tree planting project. Now, not only has her work benefited the community and helped in the larger goal of mitigating climate action through direct intervention, it gave her the sense of involvement and achievement she needed in her life.
Before the implementation of this project; the communities of these areas were used to cutting trees and burning them into coal to be used as a source of much needed energy. Then in 2015 the activities of the integrated Carbon Sequestration began with raising awareness; starting with talking to community leaders – Sheikhs- and trickled down to include women, youth, and children to encourage a communal sense that gave these communities ownership. Conversations about the importance of sequestration and the maintenance of re- cultivated lands resulted in local communities engaging in planting more trees. In addition, it led to a significant reduction in tree cutting; especially now that the community is more aware and has access to alternative energy sources.
AlMagarba village in Medani, hometown of Mariya Alsedeg Mustafa
The engagement of local communities in project activities with a particular focus on women has proven to be a successful strategy for the sustainability of the project and its objectives. Local communities in many target areas have become the custodians of the forests that have been planted, making sure plants are properly irrigated, taken care of, and that nobody cuts the trees. Stories like Mariya’s show how the impact of this project on the communities is not only the direct result; but how the beneficiaries of the project have become the main players in sustaining that impact.