Meet Diego Sis Hernandez, a young man sent by the local alternative school Aktenamit last Aug-Oct, who completed a 10-week training program with Contour Lines. He learned everything from site design and planting to community organizing to proposal writing. This particular intern (out of the 7) was the most capable and dedicated, elected as their group leader, and has since gone on to actually begin implementing the proposal he wrote during the internship, organizing a community in his home region of Baja Verapaz, a new region for Contour Lines thanks to him. He began designing the sites last October after recruiting 16 families, and just this past December planted the first 50 trees per family (10 fruit trees (avocado, pear, citrus and apple) and 40 legume support trees.
So far iGiveTrees has sponsored the next 1,000 trees for his project, as he expands into a new region.
Sean Dixon Sullivan is coordinator at Camp Contour Lines helping rural Guatemalan communities transition their lands away from slash and burn into agroforestry.
iGiveTrees is proud to be among their partner organizations, as they work with smallholders in Guatemala. We have sponsored a total of 7,000 native species trees for their projects restoring 7 hectares at the time of this update.
This both restores ecological health and generates economic wealth. Slash and burn corn is the cause of devegetation of entire hillsides, which in this high rainfall, steep terrain tropics, also means severe soil erosion.
The use of chemical herbicides and the corn monocultures,further degrades soil fertility and biodiversity. So on the bright side, these communities now understand that corn monocultures are bad for their wallets and for their land.
These projects are 100% owned by local communities and planted on their lands. The produce is sold or consumed by their families. That’s why there’s been such a high survival rates of the trees and high participation among the communities.
They have the land, they have the manpower, and they have the willpower to make this transition. The only thing lacking is the funding to buy the fruit trees and to break free from that that cycle of slash and burn corn.
They’re raising funds to plant 36 sites across three villages: El Cedro, La Pintada and La Guaira Cocoli, totaling 2,700 fruit trees, 11,000 legume trees and 14,000 annuals: mainly pineapple, cassava and plantain, while training 82 local men and women and transitioning 25 acres out of slash and burn into agroforestry which will touch the lives of 2,500 locals.
In the last 18 months, they’ve planted 21 projects sites, the owners of those have selected and trained who, will become the owners of these projects sites funded by this campaign. In 2021 iGiveTrees has sponsored an additional 2,000 native hardwood trees, namely Mahogany (Calophyllum brasiliense) and Santa Maria (Calophyllum brasiliense) to be planted in rural Q’echi communities of La Guaria Coccoli and Plan Grande Tatin, in Livingston, Guatemala.