Forest restoration by local Togolese women in the village of Agouegan, Togo. Photo: Soka Gakkai
Yokohama, Japan, 27 February 2023: Soka Gakkai, a community-driven global Buddhist organization, has released a video of a field visit to an ITTO initiative in Togo’s Blitta and Lacs prefectures that has increased the financial independence of local women and enabled them to restore degraded landscapes, adopt agroforestry practices and increase food security for their families.
The initiative, which has been underway since January 2021, is being implemented by the African Women’s Network for Community Management of Forest (REFACOF), with financial assistance from Soka Gakkai. A delegation from Soka Gakkai,* which included Mr Aishima Tomohiko, Chair of the Peace Committee, and Mr Fumiaki Arai, Director of the Public Relations Office, visited Agouegan village in Lacs Prefecture on 23–25 January 2023. The video documents the visit, including interviews with key actors.
“Women in Togo were trained in agroforestry systems for forest landscape restoration and crop production,” said REFACOF’s Dr Amah Atutonu, speaking in the video. “We have also secured land for reforestation with the support of the government and local community chiefs. Importantly, we are improving the independence of local women and the livelihoods of their families, as well as food security in the region.”
“One hundred and fifty women have benefited and we have now restored 35 hectares of forest,” said Ms Cécile Ndjebet, founder and president of REFACOF. “The women have produced 48 000 seedlings for reforestation and planted 25 000 trees in just the last two years. The flora has been recovering very well. … One important point is that the women take the agroforestry approach [in which] we combined tree planting with some agricultural products. Here in the village of Agouegan, along with afforestation, we are growing cassava, corn and peanuts. This has helped local women improve food security for their families. They can also earn some income by selling the surplus.”
Ms Ndjebet expressed gratitude for the support provided by the initiative.
Watch the video in Japanese (original), English and French.
Download the original article published in Seikyo Shimbun (Japanese) below.
* Soka Gakkai and ITTO signed an agreement in July 2020 to promote the conservation of tropical forests and sustainable forest management through a reforestation project in Togo.