The rural communities we partner with are facing a vicious cycle of extreme poverty and environmental degradation. Too often, desperation drives families to cut trees in order to clear more farmland or earn cash by selling charcoal or fire wood. The rampant deforestation ultimately leads to worse conditions for farming families as it depletes the soil and compromises its ability to retain water, resulting in lower crop yields and less income. Plant With Purpose is equipping farmers to get at the literal roots of poverty through reforestation and sustainable farming techniques. By restoring their land, farmers are producing more food to put on the table and more income to provide for household needs. Not only does family nutrition increase, but the additional income also means parents can send their children to school, provide for health care, and meet other needs—all while restoring the land and creating hope for the future.
The vast majority of rural families have little or no access to formal banking systems, leaving few alternatives other than turning to loan sharks who charge oppressive interest rates. Village Savings and Loan Associations (VSLA) provide a financial safety net. This sustainable form of microfinance trains groups of 20 to 30 individuals to work together to save their own money and then make loans to group members to develop small businesses, invest in their farms, send their children to school, and more. The group decides on a fair interest rate, and those interest payments then go back to the group, which increases each member’s individual savings.
Plant With Purpose invests in the whole person through partnerships with local churches. We believe that local churches best understand the needs of their communities and can lead the way in creating change. We equip churches in their efforts to help people experience God’s love. Our church mobilization program trains churches to work with their communities to meet needs using local resources.