Tree Capital is an innovation by Tree Adoption Uganda (TAU); a youth led Non-Government Organization that seeks to jointly address youth unemployment, climate change and reduce rural-urban migration by creating local economies in rural communities. We leverage on creatively using environmental conservation activities like tree planting to provide the much needed startup capital for young people with business ideas.
Unemployment; 78% of Ugandans are unemployed (USAID2011), 80% of these are young people (World Bank2011); 44% of them are in rural areas and migrate to the city (USAID 2006) seeking better opportunities (Herrin et al), which are unavailable and thus end up in drugs, crime and slums.
Climate change; in 15 years Uganda’s forest cover has declined by 26% (NEMA/UNEP) without extensive reforestation climate change will worsen and forests will be extinct in next 40 years (NEMA 2012). The climatic changes have made agriculture less productive and decreased the income generated by a particular family.
The program targets the most vulnerable young people in the communities who are selected according to the following criteria.
Orphans; young people who have lost one or both parents
School drop outs
Young people with unplanned pregnancies
Young people living with HIV/AIDS
Young people whose parent(s) are living with HIV/AIDS
Child laborers; young people who are working
Young people with children (dependants)
Young people forced into early marriages
Young people who have been left to fend for themselves
Under the Tree Capital model;
Young people with community developing business ideas are identified through local community leadership. They are then provided with an agricultural value chain enhancing training in setting up fruit tree nurseries of at least 2000 trees each. The training includes; harvesting and processing seeds, preparing a nursery bed, timely weeding and pruning, propagation, budding and grafting with more productive species.
Tree Adoption Uganda then approach customers on behalf or the young people under the TreeCapital program to find a market for the trees. Our customers are informed that by buying from us this income goes ahead to fund entrepreneurship training and provide startup capital to young people to start businesses.
Upon receiving the funds from various, we go back to the young people under the tree capital program who set up nurseries and buy the saplings from them. Our target is that each young person raises at least 1000 USD. We then agree with them that this income generated be used to start the business idea they have always dreamed of. We go ahead to provide each with 6 months entrepreneurship skills training and continue to support and mentor them to ensure their business grows and becomes sustainable.
We then take the fruit trees and together with the young people in the tree capital program and other community members plant the trees around farmlands, in schools, and around family homes where they will give added benefits that include:
Adding nutrients to the soil; thus supporting sustainable agriculture
Offset carbon for our corporate partners
Act as wind breakers to protect crops against the strong winds. Thus protect against stresses that result into food insecurity.
Provide fruits that can supplement the nutrition of children and other community members.