The Global Environment Facility’s Small Grant Program (GEF-SGP) has provided $50,000 grants to the Shea Integrated Global Foundation for the conservation of Shea trees in Nasarawa state.
The project aimed at conserving at least 10km of wild shea parkland in Arikya community in the state would in the long run tackle climate change challenge, boost the economy of the community and Nigeria at large as well as improve the livelihood of the people, especially the women.
The GEF-SGP National Coordinator Mrs Ibironke Olubamise while speaking yesterday in Abuha at a dissemination program organized by the She(a) Matters program stated that the project is aimed at conservation and livelihood improvement of women through shea trea value chain development.
She noted that GEF-SGP had focused on providing grants to NGOs to work in community given that the rural communities are usually the most affected as a result of environmental degradation.
She mentioned that in the process of improving the livelihoods of the people they discovered that bees thrive in the forest and that shea trees support the pollination and production of bees, saying cutting down of shea trees does not only affect the livelihood ow women who harvest shea nut for the production of shea butter but also affects the pollination, habitation and production of bees.
The GEF programme officer however revealed that since inception they have worked with over 130 CSOs who have implemented over 180 environmental projects in 200 communities across 29 states of the federation.
She called on the government to include the community members in developing policies and programs and ensure community people have their say in program development stressing the need to improve access to lands by women .
A member of the steering committee of Global Empowerment Facility/ Small Grant Project (GEF)Mr Tom Oderingie stated that the programmes is targeted towards empowering women to take advantage of the immense potential of shear trees.
While mentioning that Shear trees are being cut down across the state, he harped on the need to create more awareness on the huge potential available in the forest. “Forestry resources have huge potential as seen in shear trees. Shear trees must be protected because on their own they can last 300years. So if they can be protected for 300 years, you will enjoy the potentials, ” he stated.
The Co-founder of the Global foundation for the Conservation of Shea Trees Mrs Pricilia Apason Nwosu while highlighting the immense benefit of shea trees noted that with the NGO getting certification for exportation of Shea butter, it would further improve the livelihood of the rural women as well as boost the economy of the country.