MASARD's campaign to plant 5000 trees
On 23rd June, MASARD launched a campaign to plant 5000 trees within the villages they support, made possible by Salt of the Earth funding. The launch was attended by Panchyat Officers, village heads, village leaders, Women’s Self Help Group members as well as members of the villages and children.
The campaign began in the village of Kamandoddi, the village in which MASARD’s Regional Development Center is situated (Read about how SOTE donations built this center) and consisted of an awareness programme followed by the planting of trees on the highway and a rally.
Before the launch day, tree planting training programmes took place within 15 villages. The training was provided by MASARD’s village volunteers and members of Women’s Self Help Groups and helped to teach people the importance of protecting their trees, before receiving them. A collective training programme was also held at Kamandoddi Middle school, a school which Salt of the Earth had previously installed a bore well and water tank, to provide the children with clean drinking water.
Trees previously planted by Indian authorities grew quickly, but had weak branches and struggled to withstand winds. The trees also consumed large amounts of ground water and made areas dry. Because of this, MASARD were careful to select specific trees that provided shade, whilst enhancing the environment and enlisted the advice of environmental experts Mrs Sathyama from Block Resource centre and Mr Ranganathan, Head of an Environmental NGO, to ensure the trees were suitable.
The Environmental experts gave talks at the launch to further educate participants on the importance of planting and maintaining trees. Mr Ranganathan told MASARD staff that “such a response is rarely seen in the similar programmes I participate in” and went on to state that he was impressed by participants passion for the environment.
After the talk, participants planted trees along the highway which proved so impactful, that a local block development officer offered to donate tree guards to protect the trees and instructed the local panchayat officers to extend whatever support was needed for the campaign. Participants were also given their own tree to take home and nurture.
Children accompanied by village leaders and government officers, walked through the villages with signs and information about the environment.
One man raised objection to planting a tree outside his shop, in fear that it would obstruct the view. But, after conversations with our campaigners and seeing the signs the children were holding during the rally, the man promised to plant the tree himself and take care of it.
Each tree provided by MASARD and Salt of the Earth, has been fitted with a tag showing the name of the recipient, to ensure that the trees are well looked after. Our village volunteers have been made responsible for the upkeep of the trees and will provide any further training if necessary.
Over the next 30 days the campaign will continue with the aim to plant a total of 5000 trees. MASARD CEO John Fernandes said “We are very sure that the campaign will turn into a movement, with people volunteering to plant more trees” and went on to say that next year his aim is inform locals of the importance of reducing plastic use.