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12 August 2016

Women in charge

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Across all WeForest projects women are empowered through income generation and entrepreneurship.

At our community-based tree nurseries in Brazil’s Pontal do Paranapanema women are running the show.

They are equally as well represented here as men, which is so important in a county ranked 73rd out of 169 nations on the United Nations Gender Inequality Index. Research even shows that empowering women with independent incomes will often benefit the whole community. Our Chief Operations Officer, Katrien, has taken a look at how your support is empowering women in Brazil.

Currently standing at 7% of its original size, the project restores Brazil’s Atlantic Forest and increases habitat connectivity between the protected Morro do Diabo State Park and the Iguaçu National Park. Despite its diminished size, the Atlantic Forest is a critical reservoir for carbon. The perfect temperatures, abundant sunlight and rich soils provide optimum conditions for trees to grow quickly, absorbing an impressive amount of carbon along the way, at 317 tons of CO2 per hectare over a period of 30 years.

Our restoration efforts use saplings supplied by ten nurseries and this is where local women are having a big impact.

Mother of five, Iracy set up one of the nurseries 15 years ago and has been working there ever since, propagating and supplying saplings to the project and to neighboring farmers and landowners. 

Katrien met with Iracy recently to discuss her work and find out what it means to her and her family. We heard about the reasons she loves working with us, like being financially independent and being able to provide for her family thanks to the impressive ~300,000 saplings she sells every year. The nursery provides employment for other local women too.  Iracy also told us what it means to her to be able to help restore the forest, admitting that it’s more than a job for her. “It’s become a personal ambition”, she says.

To see what your support means to Iracy watch the video below.