On September 24th, the Hazda communities of the Yaeda Valley in Tanzania were awarded the 2019 Equator Prize by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Equator Initiative. In the words of the UNDP, the award is presented to communities for their “local, innovative, and nature-based climate solutions.”
The Yaeda Valley Project, in partnership with Carbon Tanzania, is a conservation project where funds are provided through the sale of certified carbon offset credits. Successful avoided deforestation is being achieved through a series of interventions, including reinforcing the implementation of the approved village land use plans and associated village by-laws, improving forest conservation and management activities, and addressing the primary driver of deforestation: the expansion of illegal agricultural activities.
Native, using the principles of its Help BuildTM finance model, committed to purchasing five years of credits, allowing the Hadza community to count on reliable income. Jo Anderson of Carbon Tanzania had this to say about Native’s role in the project: “The long term agreements that we have with Native have been a major factor in allowing us to deliver stable and sustainable revenues to the communities which in turn has promoted strengthened governance and effective natural resource protection by the communities. We are proud to say that this is a true conservation success story that demonstrates that social and environmental outcomes can be achieved while also addressing climate change.”
The community benefits resulting from this project extend well beyond avoided deforestation. The up-front project financing has also allowed the community to invest in targeted health and education services such as bi-annual health clinics to address common health concerns and provide TB testing, as well as secondary school placement for exemplary students.