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COTAP’s Winter 2015/2016 Newsletter

December 29th, 2015

Due to a large number of updates, we put a simple summary in the actual email newsletter linking to this post, which contains all the details, photos, and links. Enjoy!

New Beneficiary Profiles from Uganda and Malawi


Meet (left to right) Musingo Mikhaya, Dorothy and Vekelani Nthala, Daniel Mukhwana, and Petrol Khinda. Together they’re projected to earn $1,567 for planting 1,363 trees which will sequester over 431 tonnes of CO2. Check out their profiles to see how their supplemental carbon offset earnings are improving their lives.



Transparency Updates


Partner Payments & Credit Retirements. In early November we completed project payments to our four projects for tonnes pooled from our individual and business supporters all over the world. We’re currently in the process of retiring these credits, the progress of which can be tracked at COTAP.org/Transparency.

Annual Reports. Since our last project update, the 2014 Malawi and India Annual Reports were approved and posted to our Transparency page, and can be found with all projects’ most recent Annual Reports, Project Design Documents (PDD) and Technical Specifications (TS) in COTAP’s Dropbox folder.



Phase-out of the Sofala Mozambique Project


In February, COTAP paused allocations to Sofala, meaning no money coming in would go towards buying carbon credits from the project until it re-attained good standing. That did not happen. In October, project operator Associação Envirotrade Carbon Livelihoods announced its decision to formally wind down the project.

The project is will thus to be phased out of COTAP and replaced in the coming months. A final third-party verification is underway. When the report is released we’ll share it, along with our plan for addressing any projected CO2 reduction shortfall.



Plan Vivo Foundation Updates


(Full gallery by ZeroMission is here.) From September 28-30, the Plan Vivo Foundation and its longtime partner ZeroMission hosted the biannual Plan Vivo stakeholder event in Sigtuna, Sweden. COTAP met with Plan Vivo staff as well as Kahlil Baker of Taking Root (Nicaragua), Pauline Nantongo Kalunda and Sarah Nachuha of Ecotrust (Uganda), and Ariana Constant of the Clinton Development Initiative (Malawi). Plan Vivo unveiled its brief outlining its very strong alignment with 7 of the 17 recently announced United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as the Global Goals.

Last but not least, Plan Vivo also recently released its annual report and announced that, for the first time, they’re offsetting their own organization carbon emissions… through COTAP!

Meet A Farmer: Petrol Khinda

December 2nd, 2015

Petrol Khinda

Community: Nthanga
Year joined: 2008
Number of trees planted: 433 trees in 13×100-meter segments of boundary plantings
Carbon benefit created by Sinoliyamu: 106 tonnes of CO2
Earnings to date: $276
Total expected earnings: $460 (over 10 years, based on successful maintenance of plantings)

Petrol Khinda decided to join the Clinton Development Initiative’s Trees of Hope project in Malawi because he wanted to improve soil fertility on his farm. Prior to this, he had been farming on a degraded land, yielding low crop harvests. After learning about the different species of trees that can help to restore soil fertility, Petrol started growing trees and integrating them into his farmland.

Petrol has used his earnings from carbon credits he’s generated to purchase inorganic farm inputs. These include granulated urea, a bag of which he is proudly displaying in the above photo. It supplements the organic input sources, locally referred to as “green manure,” from the trees he is growing. He believes that he will have a bumper yield this year, which will provide plenty of food for his household throughout the remainder of the year.

Support Farmers Like Petrol


Create income for farming families of the Clinton Development Initiative’s Trees of Hope project here and learn more about the project at COTAP.org/Malawi.

Meet A Farmer: Daniel Mukhwana (and friends!)

November 11th, 2015

In this ‘Farmer Focus’ episode by Ecotrust, Communications and Public Relations Officer Jonah Butsatsa interviews Daniel Mukhwana, a Trees for Global Benefits (TGB) participant and beneficiary.

Daniel is a soft-spoken family man who lives in the Manafwa district of Eastern Uganda and is making efforts to plan and use his land sustainably. Not only is he a TGB participant, but he has also both recruited several of his peers into the program and helped train them by passing on the capacity given to him by Ecotrust.

Word-of-Mouth Program Growth Within Local Communities


Daniel explains to Jonah, who is also known locally as ‘Mandu,’ how Ecotrust recruited him, his progress in planting trees, and his plans to add more. Joining Daniel to his left are Wango Emmanuel, who’s considering joining the program, and Steven Kimiyanyi, who already has.

Wango came to learn more about the program’s environmental and economic benefits, which he’d heard about through Daniel. Wango’s enrollment into the program would be key, because he’s chairman of the local youth organization. He’s a direct and important ambassador to the next generation and can thus pass on not only knowledge about the many important roles trees play, but also technical know-how on how to plant and care for them.

Steven, who is a registered TGB participant like Daniel, explains the straightforward agreement between himself and Ecotrust. “They taught us that if we plant trees, they will help us,” he says. “If we want after they have grown, and we’ve looked after them we can get money to educate our children.” Later in the interview Steven adds how Ecotrust instilled in him the importance of sharing program benefits with his family. “They told us do not keep the money for yourself and not share with your wife and children,” he says. “These trees have to be there, and so it is important that you work with your family and share with them. Otherwise, you will be gone one day and come back only to find that they have cut them down.”

Diverse Species, Inter-Planting, and Benefit Sharing


As the group takes a mini-tour of some of Daniel’s land, he explains that some plantings end up drying out due to the heat, but when that happens they replant. He explains how he’s incorporated indigenous trees not just on bare land, but also alongside with coffee and food crops.

The species Daniel has planted include Bikhiri (cordia), Bisola (markamia) aka Nile tulip, Mitoto (ficus), Bihuyu (another type of ficus), Bisabazi (balanite egyptica). His plantings also include several local species like Bisubyu, Sakasi and Nibuchulyu, as well as the the popular Mvule (kimirumba). Daniel states “Trees have helped me a lot. They help provide shade for my coffee. When the sun is out, the coffee doesn’t do so well. The trees shed leaves which decay, so the soil retains its fertility.”

How Your Carbon Offsetting Educates Children in Uganda


Education is a common theme with regards to how farmers utilize Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) through Ecotrust, which has been a COTAP partner since 2011. Daniel is no exception, using some of his earnings to help pay his children’s school fees. Along with his wife, they also assist him with planting the trees and looking after them.

Support Farmers Like Daniel, Wango, and Steven


You can create income for farming families of Ecotrust Uganda’s Trees for Global Benefits project here and learn more about the project at COTAP.org/Uganda.

Meet A Farmer: Dorothy & Vekelani Nthala

October 4th, 2015

Dorothy & Vekelani Nthala

Community: Tchale, Malawi
Year joined: 2008
Number of trees planted: 600 trees in 18×100-meter segments of boundary plantings
Carbon benefit created by Sinoliyamu: 147 tonnes of CO2
Earnings to date: $381
Total expected earnings: $635 (over 10 years, based on successful maintenance of plantings)

Dorothy and Vekelani Nthala wanted to have impact on their own lives as well as their community’s. Planting trees with Trees of Hope Project seemed ideal, as they recognized the ability of trees to improve the soils. As they are subsistence farmers, soil health is integral to the success of their crop yields, and thus an improvement in soil quality related to the planting of trees is critically important to their well-being. The couple joined and started planting their trees in 2008.

They’ve used the revenue from carbon credits they’ve generated to purchase iron corrugated sheets for their house. The iron sheets have saved them from worrying about the rains since their roof no longer leaks, unlike the grass-thatched roof they had previously. The couple says that their trees also provide poles for constructing their tobacco-curing sheds and firewood for cooking. They noted that the soil fertility of their field is improving with the help of the trees they are growing.

Support Farmers Like Dorothy & Vekelani


Create income for farming families of the Clinton Development Initiative’s Trees of Hope project here and learn more about the project at COTAP.org/Malawi.

COTAP’s September 2015 Newsletter

September 22nd, 2015

This issue focuses on updates about COTAP as an organization.

You can view and share the full newsletter here.

In it, you’ll find more information on:

  • COTAP’s presentation at the Oakland NewCo Festival on Oct. 8th.
  • COTAP’s new brochure. 
  • COTAP’s new mobile-friendly website. 
  • A big THANK-YOU to an anonymous donor who helped make the above two items possible!