Authors: Natalie Marchant
Affiliated organisation: World Economic Forum
Site of publication: weforum.org
Type of publication: Article
Date of publication: 2 September 2021
Once one of Africa’s most lush pastoral lands, the Azawak has badly suffered from desertification and water scarcity due to climate change. In this region wetlands, forests and pastures play a significant role in preserving biodiversity and mitigating the effects of climate change, as well as in reducing gender inequality and boosting economic opportunity.
One non-profit organisation is exploring innovative methods to revitalize the landscape in the Azawak – not just by restoring the environment, but with a wholesale sustainable restoration of the ecosystem.
Water scarcity in Azawak
Just decades ago, the Azawak had a five-month rainy season, today, its rains last just a month, pasturelands and forests have all but disappeared, and groundwater evaporates quickly.
Training local farmers and the community in agroforestry and permaculture techniques is also key for sustainable ecosystem regeneration, reforestation and food production
Desertification has had a devastating impact on the ecosystem and livestock.
This impacts women, as they make up 80% of the 100,000-120,000 climate refugees in Niger, leaving many of them vulnerable to slavery, prostitution and trafficking.
To help the region tackle these issues, Amman Imman developed its ambitious Landscape Restoration for Ecosystem Recovery (LRER) initiative. The project aims to empower and support vulnerable indigenous people through the sustainable rehabilitation and management of the Azawak in Niger.
They have built five boreholes, including one in partnership with UNICEF, to access water in an aquifer deep underground. To date, they serve about 100,000 people and their livestock during the height of the dry season in March, April and May, and at least 25,000 and their animals at other times. Not only have these had positive outcomes in terms of health, hygiene and both food and water security, it has also freed up adults to generate incomes and children to attend school.
Wholesale ecosystem restoration
The LRER initiative is seeking to go even further and create wholesale ecosystem restoration, which simultaneously restores forests, pastures, and watersheds. The non-profit aims to take a holistic approach to rebuilding ecosystems, economies, and livelihoods.
This impacts women, as they make up 80% of the 100,000-120,000 climate refugees in Niger, leaving many of them vulnerable to slavery, prostitution and trafficking
Training is key
Training local farmers and the community in agroforestry and permaculture techniques is also key for sustainable ecosystem regeneration, reforestation and food production.
On a global level, it also wants to educate and mobilize pupils in partner schools about issues such as climate change and Africa’s Great Green Wall.
Amman Imman is one of the organizations selected for the Uplink Trillion Trees: the Sahel and Great Green Wall challenge, launched in partnership with the World Economic Forum.
The challenge looks for innovative and entrepreneurial solutions to landscape restoration to support the Great Green Wall initiative and deliver benefits to the environment and people of the Sahel.
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