We bring you the story of Justdiggit- an organization busy cooling the planet and making it greener for the future generation. Their believe in-when you heat the planet you can help cool it too.
Dennis Karpes, co-founder of Dance4Life (a foundation that educates the youth about HIV and AIDS), had been told to talk to Peter Westerveld, an artist, conservationist and visionary. He got inspired straight away. Peter’s father was responsible for a big part of the deforestation in Kenya and Peter wanted to do something in return: re-greening Africa on a greater scale. After meeting social entrepreneur Dennis, together they founded the Naga Foundation in 2010.
Naga is from Sanskrit, it means bringers of rain, guardians of water. In 2013 the foundation was ready to come out with the campaign and show the world the solution for climate change. Together with a creative agency we came up with the name Justdiggit the name of our campaign. With a nod to Nike’s Just do it and the double “g” standing for understanding. All combined we came up with Justdiggit and the shovel as our logo.
Justdiggit jump starts landscape restoration programs and creates a global social movement for climate action. Our main goal is to positively impact the regional climate (temperature, humidity and rainfall) through large scale landscape restoration. On the program side we restore the small water cycle, improving biodiversity and livelihoods in regions of our Hydrologic Corridor program.
On the social side, we build a global community for consumers, companies, scientists and artists inspired by the success and simplicity of our programs, combined with our creative marketing and communication.
Our first Hydrologic Corridor program started in East Africa. (Peter grew up in Kenya).
The aim is to keep the snow on the Kilimanjaro. Peter unfortunately past away in August 2014, but we still carry his idea.
We’ve recently visited our projects in Amboseli & Kuku, Kenya and filmed the benefits for the local community.
Local commitment and ownership of the projects are an essential component of our success criteria. If we fail to involve local communities in the co-creation process of our land interventions the program will derail. Therefore, local communities are our first focus when we engage in countries. We work in close collaboration with local partners (governments/NGO’s) and communities to co-create the interventions respecting existing land tenure and land use.
We start every project with a participatory process involving them in identifying the key problems in their region and co-developing a landscape restoration design based on their needs and practices. This helps to ensure local ownership and support.
The landscape restoration project involves 6 basic steps
Step 1– Dig and open up the soil. By opening the soil rain water can infiltrate and is available for vegetation again.
Step 2– Harvesting the rains. Almost everywhere on our planet it rains, even in dry areas. Using ancient water harvesting techniques and recent innovations we bring the water subsurface again.
Step 3–Returning the natural vegetation. By allowing the water to infiltrate into the soil seeds will sprout and vegetation returns. To increase biodiversity and improve the livelihood of communities we complement this with planting trees, climate resilient agriculture and agro-forestry.
Step 4–Restoring the small water cycle. The restored vegetation brings more moisture into the air, helps to create clouds and therefore restores the water cycle. Did you know that 40% of all rains on our planet come from vegetation?
Step 5- Creating more green with little green. We restore degraded landscapes in ten strategically chosen project locations that form a ‘Hydrologic Corridor’. Due to the scale and the locations these projects not only have local benefits, but also positively impact the regional climate
Step 6- Greener lands make a cooler planet. Trees and plants are the air conditioning of our planet, that’s why it’s important to restore degraded lands.
As a jump starter organization, we start programs through co-funding and co-creation of a first restoration project in a Hydrologic Corridor program.
For every participating country, we co-fund a maximum of 50% of the required budget to start the first project. The other 50% is contributed by country governments and local partners who have the organizational ability to scale up the project into a full program. This creates and stimulates ownership and commitment to rollout the full Hydrologic Corridor program. These full Hydrologic Corridor programs can be funded by large international funds (e.g. Land Degradation Neutrality Fund, Green Climate Fund, EU, USAID, etc.) or domestic budgets. We do provide full Hydrologic Corridor design (including suitable project locations, interventions and expected physical, social -economic benefits) to support countries in successful grant applications.
To take the movement forward, we create on and offline campaigns with in-kind support of some of the best media companies such as Lemz, Kinetic, Stroom and BlowUp Media.
So far we have received over 7 million euro in free advertising space for our campaigns that feature Desmond Tutu and other ambassadors. Also partnerships with corporate are crucial for the success and fundraising for Justdiggit.
We work with many different consumer brands to raise awareness and funds for our projects.
Our ultimate aim is to create the largest re-greening programs the world has ever seen and in doing so create a global movement of change makers, people, companies and media partners that take action to stop global warming.
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Written byShayonti Chatterji
Initiator of Our Frontcover, believer in thinking out of the box, living ones dreams and in the power of stories.