Climate Action

These 12 innovations are helping to grow Africa’s next natural wonder

Aerial image of the Sahel, which is a transition zone between the arid north and the tropical green forest that borders the maritime coast.

Meet the cohort members who are restoring and growing Africa’s next natural wonder. Image: Daniel Tiveau/CIFOR

Gianluca Gygax
Impact Lead, Uplink,
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  • In March 2021, and UpLink launched the Trillion Trees Challenge for the Sahel and the Great Green Wall
  • The goal being to source innovative solutions that help accelerate landscape restoration, help sustain livelihoods, foster food security, combat desertification and create economic opportunities in the region.
  • Over the coming months, 12 innovators will have an opportunity to scale their impact through promotion on social media, participation at events and introductions to experts and potential funders.

Africa’s Great Green Wall Initiative is a bold movement launched by the African Union to restore degraded lands in the Sahel by 2030. The aim is to re-green an 8000km-long area spanning the continent from Senegal to Djibouti. Growing this Natural World Wonder will be key to achieving sustainable development goals.

In March 2021, and UpLink launched the Trillion Trees Challenge for the Sahel and the Great Green Wall to call for innovative solutions to accelerate landscape restoration, help sustain livelihoods, foster food security, combat desertification and create economic opportunities in the region.

All solutions submitted on UpLink were carefully reviewed and assessed by the community of experts from to elect an UpLink cohort of 12 innovators. Over the coming months, the innovators will have an opportunity to share and learn from each other, and and UpLink will work extensively with this group to scale their impact by promoting their work on our social media platforms, presenting them at our events and introducing them to experts and potential funders who can accelerate their ideas.


Here are the UpLink Trillion Trees cohort members who are restoring and growing Africa’s next natural wonder:

Amman Immam’s Landscape Restoration for Ecosystem Recovery initiative is dedicated to the sustainable management and rehabilitation of wetlands and pasturelands, coupled with sustainable agroforestry in the Azawak, Niger and aims to empower and support Africa’s most vulnerable indigenous peoples.

Forested Foods is an agroforestry business that demonstrates biodiverse forests can be more lucrative conserved than destroyed. They are working across the supply chain in Ethiopia, from cultivation and aggregation to processing and packaging, as well as marketing and partnering with farmers living in forests to sustainably grow portfolios of forest-based products.

GasLowCost is preventing further ecosystem degradation by enabling urban populations to substitute their energy generated through charcoal with biogas, which is produced from slaughterhouse waste, household waste and compost.

Green Aid – One Billion Trees for Africa restores and grows native trees across the Sahel by using traditional technologies for integrated agroforestry practices, developing non-timber forest products value chain and creating rural land restoration-based jobs.

Groupe de Réflexion et Développement Durable works closely with Mali’s local population to take up sustainable forest management practices, develop new value chains based on restoration and agroforestry and create the necessary supporting activities (capacity building, inclusive governance, etc.).

Labousitari is a local women’s movement in Niger to protect and restore local tree species in the fight against desertification and create animal fodder value chains to increase the income and create jobs for the surrounding populations from Tahoua to N'Guigimi.

ProNat, a women-led social enterprise in Niger, provides local and regional markets with a healthy and balanced diet based on hive products and natural oils.

Sahara Sahel Foods processes and markets foods from pristine, indigenous Wild Perennial Crops beneficial to the environment. In doing so, they create markets for the rural small-holder farmers, destigmatise these foods and bring them back into peoples' food habits.

SeriousShea champions a novel value chain for shea butter that avoids the use of wood in the production of shea butter. They provide processing centres for women shea butter processors using innovative equipment, running on renewable energy and optimizing logistics within a sustainable forestry management model.

SoilWatch applies remote sensing technology and machine learning to provide up-to-date, reliable, and low-cost soil carbon measurements and to develop verified carbon offset projects for Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration, regenerative agricultural and pastoralism projects.

Tele Bere’s Green AgroFarms promote community-managed agroforestry and agroecology initiatives in Northern Ghana which serve as a catalyst for landscape restoration, income generation and food and nutrition security for rural women and youth.

Typha Alimentation Animale is providing sustainable animal fodder in Mauritania from Typha and Desert Dates in Mauritania based on an innovative sustainable land management approach.

Do you have an idea which could help our forests? Do you want to offer help to one of the Innovators? Join UpLink now.

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Related topics:
Climate ActionNature and BiodiversityGeographies in Depth
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