by Sebastian Africano, International Director
It’s now been two years since we first sat down with our current partner in Guatemala, The Association for Community Forestry: Ut’z Che’, to discuss how we might work together to bring TWP’s programs to their network of 32 community organizations. In 2013, this relationship has flourished – growing from the seed planted at that initial meeting into an impactful partnership.
For seven years, Ut’z Che’ (“good tree” in the K’iche’ dialect) has built a strong foundation by uniting community groups from around Guatemala that want to responsibly manage their forest resources. There are many small groups around the country that create livelihoods with forest products such as fruit and timber, and activities like furniture production, handicrafts, and tourism. However, Ut’z Che’ saw an opportunity to blend their diverse approaches and challenges for the benefit of both communities and the environment.
This year, TWP and Ut’z Che’ have built 87 clean cookstoves. This pilot project will soon be replicated in more Ut’z Che communities based on the positive feedback we have received from families. We have also grown over 85,000 trees for four partner communities, to be used in watershed protection, as orchards, and for future sources of timber and hardwood. Based on the success of these two programs, we have asked Ut’z Che’ to become a distributor of solar energy products in our Central American network.
So, as we continue to expand our work in Guatemala, keep visiting our website for information on how you can support this growing partnership. Help us build a positive future for the people and the environment that make Guatemala so unique!