• Charlie x Justdiggit

    No matter how you look at it, twist the facts, or ignore the signs, we can’t avoid it: the earth is heating up like a cake baking in the oven, the sea level is rising at a rapid pace, and our weather conditions are becoming increasingly more extreme. Insane rainfall is concentrated with long periods of stifling drought. The result is not good: land degradation and desertification mean that the land is no longer fertile and the future of many farmers seems hopeless. Fortunately, the organisation Justdiggit in Kenya and Tanzania are working hard on a solution. An ancient technique and simple in implementation: just dig it! And we like to take it a step further.

So create… And then what?

Land degradation, desertification, and drought can be found in almost every corner of the globe – except Antarctica. On the African continent, which includes 54 countries, this is a major problem. The population has doubled in thirty years, but in many areas, the soil remains bone dry. To flee from a bleak future, many farmers have to leave their homes to seek refuge elsewhere, for example in Europe. What people often don’t know is that there is a tool that could be just the solution in your home, your garden, and maybe even in the kitchen: the shovel.

Justdiggit is an organisation on a mission: restoring ecosystems. Land that can dry out, can also be green again! And not with fancy devices and the latest technological gadgets that make farmers dig deep into debt.

No rocket science!

Fertilising soil, and greening the land is not rocket science, and it can be carried out using age-old techniques, in combination with improved agricultural and ecosystem management techniques. These techniques use little more than rainwater, excavation, and a good dose of stamina! The result: biodiversity and a vibrant ecosystem. Once again farmers are then able to reap the benefits of the greenery they can grow here! In Kenya, a piece of land the size of the city centre of Amsterdam has been brought to life in this way!

What are those techniques then?

This all sounds very nice, but how does it work exactly? It does rain in many African countries, but not consistently. The rain showers that pass are often short and very powerful. Because the soil is already very dry, the water cannot infiltrate and instead washes away, unused over the land.

This causes erosion and flushes out the last bits of fertile soil and leftover vegetation. This is why water management is so important: known as water harvesting. By digging holes into the ground and opening up the earth, the rainwater that pitta-patterns from the sky can be sucked into the land immediately.

Where there is water, there is life. In other words: where there is water, there are trees! The seeds present in the soil can germinate through the water and the remaining vegetation can recover. Biodiversity is given its space, and local communities can put food on the table again! The cycle begins.

Breaking the vicious circle

In Kenya and Tanzania, Justdiggit is working hard with local farmers and communities to restore dry areas. And it works! Where there was an endless downward spiral – rainwater causing erosion on degraded soil, which further degrades the soil – it is now flung magnificently the other way. And now that vegetation can grow again, there is also more humidity. Did you know that plants – just like people – can sweat? This “sweat” evaporates, making it more likely to rain. And with more rainfall, not only the land but also the water cycle is restored. In addition, greenery naturally also retains CO2 and helps the earth with cooling down. Today, Justdiggit, along with farmers, has been able to revive 2.5 million trees. 300 communities are back in control – or shovel – to support themselves.

“They want to get the whole world moving through dancing and partying: let’s start a movement!”

Do the rain dance!

To boost this positive vicious cycle, several things are needed: awareness, money, and action! Meanwhile, Justdiggit has trained 1350 amazing farmers, who can now help others to restore nature to all its colours and scents. In turn, they have transferred this knowledge to hundreds and thousands of farmers, who are then able to work on their own land. They have realised that farmers can kickstart a green revolution with just one shovel. Many African countries have indicated that they want to actively start working on greening: Kenya is calling for 5 million hectares to be restored in the coming decade, and Ethiopia is even calling for an ambitious 15 million hectares. How to spread the word? Justdiggit is working on it. To start they organised The Raindance Festival: a big party that took place simultaneously in the Netherlands, Kenya, and Tanzania where everyone danced at the same time for the rain to the beats of famous artists. They want to get the whole world moving through dancing and partying: let’s start a movement!

Join in with Charlie’s!

Charlie’s Angels have also thrown their hips into the Raindance Festival in Amboseli National Park in Kenya. We joined the farmers from the neighbourhood and danced into the evening to the swinging sounds of local artists. Meanwhile, at the Vondelpark in Amsterdam, we saw everyone go crazy for The Youth of Today, and in Tanzania, we quietly listened to the Maasai on stage as they passionately talked about the importance of biodiversity in the community. We felt the vibe: together we are strong.

Recently we have become proud partners of Justdiggit. Their project touches our hearts, every day we see the consequences of global warming on the African continent unfold before our eyes. Now we too can contribute to a greener, cooler, and more fertile planet. In addition, Justdiggit projects are carried out in Kenya and Tanzania: our backyard and the land we love. 

We know, travel is not always good for the climate. The CO2 emissions from air travel function as the coal for the greenhouse effect. Because of this, we think it is even more important to travel consciously and to keep our ecological footprint as small as possible. Investing in Justdiggit is more than just planting trees as compensation for your flight. We are helping to start a green revolution in which biodiversity, flora, and fauna are all given a second chance. A revolution that local communities can continue with ease and regain fertile land as their home and livelihood. When you book a trip with Charlie’s Travels you can choose to green a piece of land in Kenya or Tanzania. With the amount of 1€, you can help a farmer to revive 100m2 of land!

Want to know more about the possibilities to participate in the Justdiggit revolution? Ask one of our Travel Consultants!

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