Cool Earth has always believed that the best way to save rainforest is to put power into the hands of the people who depend on it most.
Wherever possible, we give funds directly to communities, to invest in what they need to strengthen their families and keep their forest standing.
We’ve proved it works: in our partnerships in Peru, less than ½% of forest is degraded or cleared. In the surrounding areas that figure is 28%.
Obviously, we need to make sure that the money goes to the right people. We also want to make sure we know how the money’s been spent, so we can report back to you.
That’s why first thing we ask when we partner with a new village is that they form a community association. Because we want to give funds to the community as a whole, rather than a single individual or third party. This association needs to be democratically elected by the whole community, and re-elected every two years. It’s so the views of everyone are taken into account. We aim for at least a third of the families in the community to be represented in the association, and we actively encourage women to stand.
Community workshops are carried out to provide training in keeping accounts, writing minutes, and holding votes etc.
The community association then votes on how to spend Cool Earth funds, making sure the community as a whole benefits and the investments contribute to forest conservation.
We also ask the community association to open a community bank account that we can give funds to, and we ask that the account has two signatories for withdrawals.
Finally, we ask that the community association provides us with a plan of how they’re going to invest funds, and take part in reporting every year, so we can report back to our donors and stakeholders.
In this model, we differ from most other organisations that fund rainforest protection. Instead of giving money to middle men in the forms of other NGOs, your donations go directly to villages who depend on the rainforest.
No middle men. No inflated admin budgets. 100% rainforest.