Caring for Creation Through Competition
Written by Plant With Purpose on January 22, 2015 in General
Today our hearts and minds are in Tanzania where Plant With Purpose farmers are celebrating this year’s work. At a large agricultural festival, local families and officials will come together to recognize the winners of Tanzania’s group competition!
The competition, a tree-planting frenzy that encourages Plant With Purpose groups to reforest as much land as they can within a limited time, is a recent approach to community engagement. Richard Mhina, Plant With Purpose Tanzania’s country director, designed the program. Richard’s master’s thesis focused on group competition as a development strategy that positively reinforces what is programmatically being done well. Now his research is being tested in real life with equally encouraging results. Over 90 percent of participants believed that competition is having a positive impact on savings-and-loan group performance, agricultural production, and environmental conservation.
“We have seen our community’s willingness to participate in tree planting with various institutions because of our group competition model. We have seen … communities care more about taking care of God’s creation. This is proven through their increased participation in growing organic vegetables and planting trees,” Richard said.
Last year’s group competition culminated in December with an extravagant ceremony. Local leadership from savings groups recruited schools and churches to join the effort. Not only was the massive reforestation effort a significant step toward healing local land, but it was a witness to the community that planting trees is key in building a stable agriculture economy. As a Plant With Purpose staff member explained, “The desire to heal the land and its people is the main motivating factor of this gathering.”
We expect an even greater turnout at today’s ceremony and celebrate with our partners from afar. Stay tuned for reports on this year’s group competition and agricultural festival!