A growing population puts pressure on nature, and overexploitation degrades soil and vegetation. Go Forest and Faja Lobi empower the local population in a highly fragmented civil society where the government remains absent. With reforestation, we not only restore the landscape, but through agroforestry, we ensure a new sustainable economy so that people and nature can live in harmony again with increased self-reliance.
Founded in 2012 by Jurgen Heytens in Belgium, the organization focuses on projects near Idiofa in Congo-Kinshasa addressing environmental and social challenges. The Idiofa territory lost already 240.000 ha of forests in the last 50 years. The actual vegetation is a mixture of savannah highlands, with fragmentated gallery forests belong the rivers. Faja Lobi works to combat the resource degradation within the country brought on by population growth and overexploitation of soil and vegetation in the country. These programs, combining tree planting with cultural, educational, health, and economical programs contribute to the reconstruction of civil society and help local communities to protect the environment around them.
Each restoration project starts by making an agreement with the population about the aim of forestry. An agreement is signed about the land use with financial compensation for the involved village and local workers are given a formation to start up nurseries & plant forestry trees in the zones. Creation of fire breaks is an important issue in the formation. Tree planting restores landscape and is followed by a spontaneous regeneration of other species, which completes the biodiversity. Near the villages a zone for agroforestry is provided, so most of the forest can stay as natural zone.
In pursuit of this goal, Faja Lobi only employs local people to achieve their goals: currently, around 500 local employees are working on their various reforestation projects. 80 percent of Faja Lobi’s budget contributes to the well-being of its workforce through salaries, meals, and tuition fees for local youth. Supporting the local community is one of the pillars of Faja Lobi’s work.
Since starting in 2012, Faja Lobi has reforested 2,700 hectares, and has committed to scaling up in the coming years, with a long-term milestone of 50,000 hectares restored. These efforts will stem further desertification of the region while preserving the biodiversity of the savannah highlands of Idiofa.Restoring a buffer of new forests will ultimately help to protect the primary forest.
Available funding is now the limiting factor. We can quickly respond and expand our reforestation projects in response to new funding opportunities.