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Building sustainable businesses

Read about our enterprise development approach.

We support communities to make and sell tree products, like shea butter and soap. The income they make from their businesses helps them to pay for essential healthcare and education. 

This is our enterprise development approach.

Why is this needed?

Around the world, more than 700 million people live in extreme poverty. Over 70% of these people live in Africa. With limited job opportunities, most people must work on farms to grow food and make money. 

But a drastic reduction in fertile land and the climate crisis is making it harder for people to grow crops to eat and sell. Without a stable source of income, essentials like healthcare and education are out of reach.  

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    of employed workers in sub-Saharan Africa are still living in poverty

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    people in sub-Saharan Africa are living in extreme poverty

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    of Africa's population are in 'vulnerable' employment

How do we help?

We grow businessesoften led by women. This gives communities an income today and stability for the future. We work with local people, in groups called Village Tree Enterprises, so they have what they need to make and sell products from trees.

That includes everything from production skills and tools, to storage warehouses. The income they make from their businesses pays for essential healthcare and education, helping communities to tackle poverty.  

Our impact in 2018/19

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    new enterprises established

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    generated by 596 enterprise groups from tree products

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    tonnes of tree products sold

The power of shea

Communities tell us which trees work best for them and their environment. Some trees have lots of benefits.

Take the shea tree. The shea fruit is a great source of nutrients. The shea nut can be processed into butter for cooking or to make cosmetics, which are used all over the world. The tree itself helps to keep land fertile and protect against drought and floods.

Growing leaves for livelihoods

A community-led approach to building sustainable business is at the heart of our new Leaves For Livelihoods appeal. With your support, we can expand our work across Africa's drylands to help more people grow sustainable livelihoods from the leaves of trees like baobab and moringa.

"Before Tree Aid came here, we didn’t know the importance of trees. Tree Aid taught us how to care for and nurture trees, collect the shea nuts and produce the butter. Trees have a lot of importance for us." Awa, Torem Village, Burkina Faso