January 14, 2018

Growing livelihoods

One of the biggest drivers of deforestation is poverty. Building diverse income streams that can withstand bad harvest, floods, droughts and unforeseen emergencies can be the biggest asset in a communities’ arsenal against forest loss. Investing in skills, from accounting to engineering, help create alternative options to selling trees. 

“The rainforest is everything to me. It’s where I can find the things I like to eat and seeds to make jewellery. I hope that people will continue to buy our jewellery in order to help my community” Rosalina, Uracuza village.

Growing livelihoods

Peruvian paddies

This year, the Awajún partnership had another bright income generating idea. Growing and harvesting rice. Rice has a triple benefit; it can be grown on marginal flooded land, it can be sold at the market and it provides a reliable staple food for the community. With just four months between sowing and harvesting, it is possible to have three harvests a year.

Growing livelihoods

Coffee culture

Getting access to local markets can be as much of a struggle as growing award winning coffee and cacao. That’s why so much time has been spent forging links between the Asháninka producers and the cooperative buyers in the local frontier town, Satipo. With a local ethical buyer that offer a fair price and help with shipping the sacks eight hours up river, the growers are taking control of every stage of production.

Growing livelihoods

Amazing inga

Slash and burn agriculture destroys rainforest. It sometimes takes just two years to exhaust the soil in a small plot. If a new plot is then cleared, a cycle of destruction can emerge and with smallholder farmers responsible for more than 70% of the food calories produced in the tropics, there is nothing small scale about the impact. Cool Earth has focused on halting this cycle using a miraculous native plant, the Inga. Inga fixes nitrogen, restores phosphorous, provides shade for crops and yields firewood. When planted in rows, it stabilises soils and enhances the yields of crops planted in between, so that the same garden plots are used year in, year out. Study visits to Honduras have created Inga specialists who become community trainers to keep food gardens thriving, stoves burning, and bellies full.

Growing livelihoods


Following last year’s exchange trip, the Jeto craft cooperative in our Ashaninka partnership is going from strength to strength. Its members will be collaborating with Lima-based designer, CHINCHE to produce a bag collection. Ten members of the group took part in a series of workshops to discuss every stage of production, from designing and pricing, to dividing up the tasks. We hope Christmas 2018 will see the fruits of their work on sale around the world.

Growing livelihoods

Cake walk

In just two years the Dabu bakery in Gadaisu, Papua New Guinea has become the heart of village life. The success of the business means that members are now earning up to K200 (£50) a week, almost three times as much as last year. We are now working with the 40 members of the Dabu cooperative to provide training in bookkeeping and other value business skills to help scale the economic impact.

Growing livelihoods

A stitch at a time

The Gadaisu sewing group goes from strength to strength and just completed its biggest ever order; 50 sets of robes for a pastors’ retreat. The range of products has also expanded, the group are producing dresses, skirts and, the local favourite, Meri blouses. In 2018, the group are looking to apply for community funding for a new generator to take production into the evening and keep up with the demand.

Growing livelihoods


  • David S Wilkie says:

    My name is Dr. David Wilkie and I work for the Wildlife Conservation Society. We have been using Rick’s BNS (modified to include the value of owned assets) in an increasing number of our programs. I am interested in how you are approaching time series analysis of BNS data. I would very much like to chat with someone from your team who is working on your BNS data collection. I hope to talk with someone soon. Best wishes David

    • Lewis Gillingham says:

      Hello Dr Wilkie, I’ve passed your comment on to the programmes team and somebody will be in touch shortly. Best wishes, Lewis.

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