TREE AID and RPS - Our Story
Since the turn of the new Millennium we at RPS were looking for a humanitarian and environmental charity with whom we might partner longer term. In 2005 we met some amazing people from a charity called TREE AID. Since 1987 they had been been working in remote and isolated communities in Sub-Saharan Africa, where people live in extreme poverty and have little food, money or opportunity to improve their lives. Talking to TREE AID about their grassroots approach we soon realised that our search might be over.
RPS has been a very proud supporter of TREE AID for over a decade now. TREE AID’s outstanding humanitarian and environmental work has helped to alleviate poverty, build climate resilience and establish vital tree-related enterprises within some of Sub-Saharan Africa’s poorest subsistence farming communities. This includes ground breaking work in Southern Mali, Burkina Faso, Upper East and Northern Ghana, Niger and Ethiopia. TREE AID’s achievements are remarkable by any measure but all the more so given the enormous challenges they often face in the field.
In addition to being TREE AID’s leading corporate sponsor, RPS has been unique among its donors in also providing the charity with extensive pro bona technical expertise in disciplines such as remote sensing and GIS, biodiversity and erosion risk mapping, land surveying, hydrological modelling and with the civil engineering and construction supervision of several community built weirs.
In London in March of 2016, RPS Group Plc and TREE AID received a joint Business Charity Award for their collaboration on the ‘Bongo River Trees Restoration Project’ from Third Sector Magazine. Then in June 2016, TREE AID won a special award for the same project from the Ghana Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation recognising the charity’s unique contribution to ‘rehabilitating degraded land and protecting vital ecosystems’.
There is a colourful and highly illustrative photobook on the development of the four Bongo Community Weirs which can be viewed in full here.
Meanwhile, in southern Mali, RPS has been supporting TREE AID on a number of highly successful reforestation programmes. The Greening Mopti project set up in 2012 to establish over 200,000 trees within sixteen communities has been the most ambitious to date. RPS match funded this project alongside the European Union. The end of project assessment published in April 2016 reported that:
1,084,124 trees have been cultivated, surpassing the original target five-fold and more! Of these 147,467 have been established as part of agroforestry planting of direct economic benefit to the sixteen communities. In addition, 180 hectares of productive agricultural land was reclaimed from the desert within the three most precarious communes of Segeu, Timiniri and Bara-sara.
Between July 2017 and June 2020, RPS is to support a three year TREE AID project in Ethiopia with funding of £375,000 spread over the three years. The ‘Sustainabile Livelihoods and Healthy Ecosystems’ project will assist and educate impoverished agricultural communities living either side of the Meki River above Lake Ziway in the Central Rift Valley. More information on RPS’ recent projects with TREE AID can be viewed here.
If you might be interested in lending TREE AID your own support visit: www.treeaid.org.uk