The project is now well under way, and so far we have seen truly incredible levels of participation. In total, 417 gum arabic farmers and other members of target communities have been trained in forest management and sustainable harvesting technique; of these, 119 are women. Community leaders have expressed strong support for the trainings, and have recently gone to local government headquarters to register the land on which their acacia groves grow in order to protect them from grazing and other forms of deforestation.
In the coming months, we will begin to disburse microcredit funds to recent trainees. Fund recipients say their first priority with the money will be to purchase cylinder ovens and a supply of gas to use for fuel so that they no longer have to cut down acacia trees for wood.
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