Treetracker Guest Blog: Women Against Poverty Tanzania

In lieu of a Treetracker Spotlight this month, we are letting one of our amazing planting partners speak for themselves. Check out our first Treetracker guest blog by Fiona Barretto, project developer at Women Against Poverty Tanzania!

Women Against Poverty Tanzania, or WAP, is a community-based organization focused on the socioeconomic wellbeing of women and girls living in vulnerable conditions around Mdimini, Kidete, and Kibugumo, Tanzania. Their work includes sourcing school supplies for students, providing education on public health and environmental issues, and investing in local infrastructure projects. Their current mangrove restoration initiative, which includes the planting of 5000 mangrove saplings, employs about ⅔ women and ⅓ unemployed youth. By creating green jobs in their local communities, Women Against Poverty is giving the next generation the tools they need to become mangrove champions!

The Dar es Salaam area of Tanzania offers emblematic mangrove forests, huge areas of seagrasses and some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world. In contrast to the incredible richness of marine biodiversity and natural resources, communities are extremely impoverished with limited access to education and health facilities. This has led to widespread environmental degradation; East Africa has lost 6 million hectares of forest since 2000.

Meanwhile, mangroves are widely considered among the most critical ecosystems for maintaining a functional biosphere. These forests are regarded as some of the  most effective CO2 sequestering ecosystems, acting as “blue carbon” sinks, trapping absorbed carbon through biomass and mud. Perhaps more importantly, they serve as nurseries for tropical ocean fish and invertebrates. Hundreds of species rely on mangroves as safe places for their youth to grow up, before venturing to coral reefs and the open ocean. Without these forests, fish stocks become depleted, directly impacting the lives of fishermen and their families in these coastal communities.  

WAP’s vision is an agroforestry transformation in the developing world, resulting in a massive increase in the use of agroforestry on working landscapes by smallholder rural households that helps ensure security of food, nutrition, income, health, shelter and energy and a regenerative environment. Expanding our forest garden, WAP Tanzania focuses on climate change adaptation and mitigation, including climate-smart agriculture (CSA), bioenergy, tree products and value chains.  

WAP team members have become mangrove champions, not only replanting and protecting their shores, but engaging in mangrove advocacy within their communities. The income they earn from their stewardship through Fairtree’s pay-to-grow model goes towards paying rent, buying food and clothes for their families, paying children’s school fees, and investing in their own education. Our vision is an agroforestry transformation in the developing world, resulting in a massive increase in the use of agroforestry on working landscapes by smallholder rural households that helps ensure security of food, nutrition, income, health, shelter, energy, and a regenerative environment. 

In addition to supporting tree growers, WAP uses their restoration revenue to invest in environmental education programs to ensure the long-term protection of these vulnerable communities. The organization already makes weekly mangrove advocacy visits with local schools, in addition to funding school and community infrastructure projects. 

Together with Fairtree’s pay-to-grow system, Greenstand’s Treetracker app is the solution to transforming landscape and reforestation. It includes the mobile app, a Web Map of every tracked tree, an Admin Panel for project leaders, and the Impact Wallet, which allows growers to own, sell, or trade the environmental impacts of the trees they care for. Utilizing the pay-to-grow system, Greenstand and Fairtree create an immediate and tangible incentive for communities to restore and protect vital ecosystems, such as these coastal mangroves and forests in Southern Tanzania. 

Tree growers take geo-tagged images of each tree they care for and upload those photos to the Treetracker app. Greenstand’s verification team approves tree photos and verifies each tree’s ecological attributes. Each tree’s ecological impacts are digitized into an Impact Token, which can be traded or sold to investors. The pay-to-grow model provides a unique opportunity to tackle the climate crisis and pay some of the poorest people in the world to restore degraded lands. 

Each year, we lose 24 billion tons of fertile soil. This extreme land degradation disproportionately affects the lowest-income communities, which is why their stewardship is so important. Let’s build a global resilience to climate change using Greenstand’s Treetracker and Fairtree's pay-to-grow model. Conserve, restore, and grow trees to earn Impact Tokens that can be traded with investors around the world.

Written by Fiona Barretto, Project Developer at WAP |

Edited by Erin Baker, Communications Lead at Greenstand |