Trees for Credit: Integrating Environment Sustainability, Livelihoods and Development

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Authors
The model has been experimented with a Women Self Help Group named “Aiswarya Dhanswaroopini Kudumbasree Ayalkoottam” at Thalavadi Grama Panchayat in Kuttanadu, Kerala. By the end of 2009, the group was given training on environmental issues and importance of planting trees.
The terms and conditions of the “Trees for Credit” model were communicated to all members in a group meeting, as given below:
  • If the SHG planted 100 trees and conserved them for 3 to 5 months, a micro loan of Rs. 20,000/- would be made available to start an income generation activity of their choice.
  • The SHG should arrange the saplings or seeds themselves.
  • They could plant trees of their choice; however, only native species should be planted to encourage biodiversity and to prevent mono-cropping of foreign species.
  • They could plant the trees either in their own land or in any public place.
  • They should repay the loan at the rate of Rs. 1,000/- per month for 20 months.
  • As long as they protect all the trees during the loan period, they need not pay any interest. Otherwise, depending on the survival rate of the trees, they have to pay interest (if 80% percent of trees survive, interest would be 5%, and if 60% survive, it would be 10%, etc.).
  • They should make a public pledge that no trees would be cut in future unless they plant two new trees and conserve them for at least one year.

About the Founder
Mathews Mullackal is the Chief Executive of Green Harmony. He did his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Calicut, post graduate diplomas in Environmental Management and NGO Management from Annamalai University, and a Masters degree in International Development from the University of Bristol, UK.  He has around ten years of work experience, mainly in water, environment and development sector in India and abroad. He has strong interest in environment and development, and believes that ‘Bottom Up’ development leading to community empowerment and emancipation of marginalized sections is essential for addressing the challenges of the present world.
August 02, 2010

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