Floresta is a Christian NGO that works to reverse poverty and deforestation in Tanzania by transforming the lives of the rural poor. We work directly with communities to create economic opportunities through village savings and loan associations, micro-enterprise, implementing sustainable agriculture programs, and encouraging spiritual renewal. Floresta Tanzania is based in the Kilimanjaro Region with offices in Moshi, Siha, Marangu and Same. It is part of a international network of NGOs in the Plant With Purpose family with its international headquarters in San Diego, California. Plant with Purpose
We believe that while environmental degradation negatively affects us all, it is ultimately the poor who suffer most from this unhealthy relationship between people and the environment. We believe that restoring relationships between people, God and the environment is key to resolving many of the world’s social, economic, and environmental problems.
We believe lasting solutions that address the issues of poverty must involve poor individuals themselves in both design and execution. The poor can provide the solutions to many of their own problems when given more opportunity, access to resources, and appropriate coaching.
We believe that God has called us to be agents of encouragement and empowerment, enabling the poor to both feed their families and restore their degraded lands. We believe that God entrusted us with caring for his creation, and that one of our responsibilities is restoring harmony between man and nature.
To reverse deforestation and poverty in Tanzania by transforming the lives of the rural poor.
To see rural communities in need empowered to improve the quality of their lives in a sustainable way and in harmonious relationship with God and his creation.
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. Floresta 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.
Floresta 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.