Giving Compass’ Take:
• Fast Company reports on a refugee camp in Cameroon, where those fleeing from Boko Haram from Nigeria are replanting trees originally cut down to provide firewood. This has improved relations with the local community.
• How can other projects like the one described in this article improve the conditions at other refugee camps around the world and bring along sustainable solutions?
When refugees from Nigeria first started arriving at the Minawao refugee camp in Cameroon, fleeing from Boko Haram, the area was surrounded by trees. As the camp’s population swelled to more than 60,000 people, thousands of those trees have now been cut down for firewood for cooking. At least one hectare of forest — an area about the size of a city block in Manhattan — is typically cut down per person per year in Cameroon for use as firewood or to make charcoal.
Now, refugees at the camp are beginning to replant the trees. At a simple factory at the camp, they’re also turning agricultural waste into “eco briquettes” that can be used for fires instead of wood, and making simple cookstoves out of local clay.
“No longer will trees need to be knocked down to create traditional charcoal or just to use that dried wood to cook,” says Charlotte Jongejan from the Dutch startup Land Life Company, which makes tree-planting products and is working with UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, on the project. “One of the reasons we were really attracted to the project is we were able to create quite a holistic approach to deforestation. Because if you just go at it by replanting trees and cross your fingers and hope the same thing might happen then everything when you come back five years there will be no trees. You have to give people an alternative.”
Read the full article about the refugee camp where residents are replanting trees by Adele Peters at Fast Company.
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