In Fall 2017, GIPL was pleased to provide a seed grant through our Four Directions Fund to a collaborative project between Georgia Mountains Unitarian Universalist Church and Nacoochee Presbyterian Church. One of ten grant recipients, this funding went towards a Reforestation Project in Espumpuja, Guatemala.
The Reforestation Project impacted a group of 12 women, all members of the Association of Mam Christian Women for Development, a non-profit located in San Juan, Ostuncalco, Guatemala. Currently, the women purchase very small seedlings, grow them for a year, and then sell the buds to farmers and villages to prevent mudslides on homes and farms. Areas which have been reforested do not have landslides. Carmen Romero Marroquin, the president of this organization, is a very successful farmer. She and the Association had a goal of planting 10,000 trees, principally alders and pines, in 2017. The funds from these seedling sales purchase more seedlings and provide the means for their children to attend school.
Members of Nacoochee Presbyterian Church take several trips a year to assist this group with information on topics they request. To connect the project in Guatemala to GMUUC, the project leaders discussed how the use of trees as mudslide barriers could be implemented on the GMUUC playground–a playground next to a steep hillside.
GIPL is honored to support a project with such a global reach. These Creation Care Champions are continuing their project through May 2019, assisting the Association with two years of seedlings. As grant applicant, Mary Lasris noted, “this project works as a micro loan to grow the seedlings so the funds are both paid back and paid forward.”
To qualify for funding from the Four Directions Fund, you and others from your faith community can sign up for a Sacred Activism workshop offered by GIPL. All participants that complete the workshop are eligible to apply for a seed grant of $300 which can be used to fund your special project. To learn more, visit http://www.gipl.org/four-directions-fund-workshop-grant/.