Tree Academy Groups and Clubs (TAGs & TACs)

Published: 20 September 2021
Last edited: 20 September 2021

Tree Academy Groups (TAGs) are formal community led conservation and advocacy associations established in Local Communities under the Village Savings and Loan Association (VSLA) Model, while Tree Academy Clubs (TACs) are student/pupil led and are established in schools (both primary and Secondary). They are grassroots channels of communication and distribution of our products and services, as well as implementers of various conservation and livelihood programs under the IPaCoPA initiative.

They facilitate platforms for members to express their views and opinions on matters affecting them to influence policy and decision making processes at local and national level. They also play an important role in amplifying TUA's awareness creation on critical issues of environment and livelihood development. 

The VSLA Scheme facilitates periodic meetings by group members  (usually weekly), during which they make savings and deliberate on impotant commununity development issues. It also keeps members active whilst facilitating knowledge sharing and joint decision making on general group development issues such as joint ventures. Members at times decide to invest their savings  in joint projects such as Tree Nursery, Tents and Chairs for hire e.t.c to generate more revenues into the group.

Classifications

Category
Alliance and partnership development
Co-management building
Collection of baseline and monitoring data and knowledge
Communication, outreach and awareness building
Education, training and other capacity development activities
Evaluation, effectiveness measures and learning
Legal and policy frameworks, policy advocacy
Sustainable financing
Sustainable livelihoods
Scale of implementation
Local
Phase of solution
Implementation

Enabling factors

  1. Favourable political environment and supportive local leaders. 
  2. Existence of a strong project team with relevant expertise in community mobilization and entrepreneurial design production. 
  3. Willingness by community members and students/pupils to team together and form Groups and Clubs. 
  4. Increasing effects of climate change and the need for concerted efforts to curb down the situation. 
  5. Availability of Credit Financial Institutions willing to partner with us and extend soft loans to the groups. 

Lessons learned

  1. Holding preliminary meetings with community/school leaders and enlisting their support simplifies the mobilization and participation of the target populations.  
  2. The youth are seemingly difficult to mobilize, and pop culture plays a significant role in influencing the youth and getting millennials to participate. Partnering with popular youth-centric brands and integrating Music Dance and Drama has vastly increased our reach among youth and students.
  3. Integration of the VSLA model stimulates community members to elect responsible representatives, guarantees regular meetings and access to finance which keep members active to coordinate various program activities.
  4. Allowing communities to prioritize and select quick impact projects solidifies support, galvanizes local participation and accelerates entrepreneurship.
  5. Transparency and effective communication are essential igredients in projects that require community participation and to retain community trust.

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