1. What is the name of your business and what inspired the name?
The name Plant One Tree came as a response to the high rate of depleting the ozone layer and the general ecosystem. We discovered that the common solution to the many socio-economic problems Lesotho is facing could be mitigated by plating a variety of trees such as fruit, forest, and indigenous trees. So the name and motto came as a plea or movement, Plant One Tree, Save One Planet. We believe that we can rehabilitate and restore the luscious greenery Lesotho once possessed by planting one tree at a go and saving our precious home, Earth.
2. What was the problem you were trying to solve?
We were triggered by the alarming rate of youth unemployment which is currently at 32.8% as of 1st April 2021. This rate of youth unemployment does not only increase the rate of crime but also of drug abuse, unplanned pregnancies, early marriages, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV&AIDS, depression, and other related psychosocial problems hence accelerating poverty as an umbrella pandemic.
Lesotho’s culture of burial of the deceased propels the families to gather forest and indigenous trees as a means of fuel provision in the minimum of week-long preparation for the funeral. This contributes adversely to deforestation and the extinction of trees. Therefore, there is a dire need for forestation and civic education on how to nurture the ecosystem in order to promote biodiversity. The loss of biomass does not only affect biodiversity but also the luscious greenery Lesotho once possessed. Furthermore, usually, this gathering of fuel often requires men to uproot logs and stems of trees. This leaves huge scars on the environment which destroys soil fertility since runoff easily flashes the nutrients found in the soil thereby affecting crop farming produce quality.
Loss of diversity comes with deforestation and uncontrolled use of land. It also disrupts habitats for indigenous organisms in all their different forms, including insects and birds. Similarly, traditional healers use most of the indigenous plants to produce medicinal products and unfortunately, some of them became extinct since no one replants after they have uprooted such species. These various practices, affect fauna thereby negatively impacting tourism and heritage.
According to the UNDP Climate Change Adaptation report 2012, Lesotho’s population is essentially made up of one homogeneous ethnic grouping (Basotho), and is estimated to be 2 million. The population growth rate is 2.3%. Over 80% of the population in Lesotho resides in rural areas. GNP per capita is estimated at US$ 550, which is relatively high compared to other Eastern and Southern African countries. However, a significant portion (49.2%) of the population in Lesotho lives under the poverty line. The poor are more vulnerable to climate change since they do not have sufficient income to prepare and protect themselves from the adverse effects of climate change.
Pollutioncontinues to be one of the leading problems in Africa. Lesotho air quality overview according to UNEP (2015), in response to resolution 7 of the UNEA highlighted that industries have the potential to impact air quality emanate from the following industrial installation of food processing, beverages, textiles, appeal assembly, handicrafts, construction, and tourism. WHO therefore estimates that outdoor air pollution causes ≤100 premature deaths annually. About 56% of households use gas/oil for lighting, while about 38% use candles, about 10% use electricity, and less than 1% use other forms of energy. About 67% of all households in Lesotho use biomass fuels as the main source of energy for space heating while approximately 27% use paraffin, 4% use coal and LPG, and electricity constituted about 3%. This is estimated to cause 200 premature deaths per annual indoor pollution
3. What have you achieved so far?
We have planted more than 248 poplus and a peach orchard at Lesotho High School and Phomolong High School respectively.
4. What were the challenges that you have faced since the establishment of your business
Before we registered our social enterprise, we could not apply for funding and some partnerships. We have also battled power struggle from the external environment regarding ownership and insubordination internally. We have not secured monetary funding from other organizations but have received technical and trees.
5. What partnerships have you made?
We have worked with:
Lesotho High School
Sefika High School
Phomolong High School
Southern African Alliance on Youth Employment
Development for Peace Education
6. How would you encourage people to take part in sustaining the environment?
We would like to encourage Basotho to clean their residential and working spaces; to plant all sorts of trees, flowers, and herbs in order to sustain the health of the environment. We also urge people to teach their children the importance of supporting all kinds of life because we are all interrelated. Those who have organizations make connections and cooperate in order to promote stronger integrations.
7. Contact Details:
Phone: 59463431/ 63941737
Facebook: Plant One Tree