Cool Earth is committed to sharing information openly, broadly and deliberately.
Over the past two years, we have focused on doing this, within the organisation and with our rainforest partners. We are now aiming to do the same with our donors and stakeholders. Cool Earth’s digital team is working on ways to close the gap between supporters and the people on the ground and in these quarterly updates, we hope to provide a true picture of Cool Earth’s successes and challenges.
In Peru, a review of funded activity has sparked the development of a new plan for the next three years. In the Congo, the first project phase is complete and we’re looking to the future. And in Papua New Guinea, lessons learnt with the Asháninka are helping to shape how sustainable livelihoods are built.
Cool Earth’s Progress in Peru
When Cool Earth started working with the Asháninka and Awajún communities in the Peruvian Amazon, we wanted to improve well-being as well as develop income streams that could outprice forest destruction. We assumed the two went hand in hand. There’s no denying that Cool Earth’s interventions have had an impact. In January alone, Cool Earth assisted with seven emergency evacuations in the Asháninka partnership. It’s thanks to Cool Earth supporters that those seven evacuations resulted in seven healthy people returning home to their family. But a recent evaluation has shown that to do more, we need to do less.
Cool Earth’s programme team is carrying out a root and branch review of its activities in Peru. There’s been a huge amount of activity in the partnership over the last few years, but we were concerned about ensuring that we were scrutinising what we were funding and why.
Evaluations were carried out by the in-country teams and 23 detailed reports were produced on everything from coffee production in the Asháninka to nutrition in the Awajún. The reports detailed things like project goals and the number of people benefiting and discussed what had worked, what didn’t work so well and why.
The results of the evaluation showed how much there is to celebrate. No sales of trees to logging or mining companies have taken place, family incomes have increased and there are far fewer incidences of waterborne diseases. Cool Earth has also proved the presence of at-risk and elusive species like the Spectacled Bear, demonstrating the value of keeping forest intact.
The evaluation also highlights some big challenges that need addressing in the next phase of the partnerships. These challenges are not unique to Cool Earth, and we don’t have all the answers, but by highlighting them, they can be confronted.