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January 14, 2018

Strong families, safe forest

Rainforest is best protected when families are strong and healthy enough to defend it. It’s no surprise that health and nutrition are investment priorities for our rainforest partners.

Cool Earth has helped to expand and vary the diets of people in the communities, as well as ensuring protein is regularly available. Healthy people make for a healthy forest.

Strong families, safe forest

Eating your greens

Malnutrition is the underlying cause of most health issues in our partner villages. Whilst rainforest are teeming with life, cultural preferences and availability means people’s diets often depend on a single staple like yucca (manioc). That’s why our Asháninka partners have invested in making protein and micronutrients available to every family. As a result, we have our first nutrition technician, Edgar, who has been running a pilot scheme with 78 families. The perennial challenge of getting children to eat more vegetables has been one of Edgar’s early successes. Tomatoes, spinach, pumpkin and beans are growing in food gardens and he’s meticulously recording what works and what doesn’t so we can scale the project in the coming year.

Strong families, safe forest

Fish suppers

River fish is the principal source of protein in the Awajún communities that Cool Earth works alongside. Deforestation and contamination have meant fish numbers have fallen and catches declined. As a result, the village of Huaracayo has invested in fish farms. Thanks to Bernado Ipukuy, our fish technician and one of Cool Earth’s greatest assets, a makeshift breeding centre has been built and the fish ponds are brimming with bream. Alongside Cool Earth’s local Coordinator, Josue Morales, Bernado able to produce eggs all year round, providing a sustainable income as well as protein for the over 100 families in Huaracayo.

Strong families, safe forest

Gardening in Papua New Guinea

For coastal communities in Papua New Guinea, fish and vegetables form the basis of most meals. The devastating droughts of recent years, associated with a particularly severe El Nino, all but destroyed many food gardens that provided the staple crops of taro and yucca. The communities are taking advantage of better growing conditions to diversify their crops with plans to trial more resistant varieties. Shade protection is especially important and we hope the same approaches that have worked so well in our Peruvian partnerships using Inga trees will take root in Gadaisu and Wabumari.

Strong families, safe forest

Safer stoves

Across the world, fumes and smoke from open cooking fires kill more people than AIDS and malaria combined. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, demand for fuelwood is the biggest pressure on the forest so safer, more efficient stoves has been a priority for our partners in Lubutu. Following six months of local testing, households have worked together to build 347 over the last year, with more planned by April 2018. As a result, fuelwood extraction from the forest has dropped by 58% for families using the new stoves. (It’s so impressive a number, we checked it twice). Women spend less time collecting fuelwood and cleaning their cooking pots, and more with their families and businesses.

Strong families, safe forest

Drought resilience

Our Papua New Guinea partners’ preparations for future droughts don’t stop at resistant crops. Now that devastating droughts, once regarded as 50 year events, occur every five years, preserving drinking water is a top priority. We have a programme of installing 9,000 litre tanks to store water from the rainy season in the community of Wabumari and are monitoring how they are used to see if bigger is better or a network of smaller tanks makes more sense. Whatever works best will determine resilience investments this year.

Strong families, safe forest


A lack of education leaves local people vulnerable to exploitation in many different ways, so our partner communities are making children’s schooling a top priority. This year we’ve seen more students receive scholarships than ever before at Cool Earth.

Strong families, safe forest


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