Thank you for your trust and for your commitment! 2016 was a year of great significance for Livelihoods: it saw the Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming, created in 2015, fulfill its promise through its first projects. From Madagascar to the Ivory Coast and Brazil, these ambitious investments are taking shape. They will improve the livelihood of thousands of smallholder cocoa and vanilla farmers, thanks to an approach that seeks economic, social and environmental value creation.
2016 also saw the launch of the major Livelihoods Mount Elgon project in Kenya, which already involves 6,000 farmers and will progressively reach up to 30,000. Livelihoods Carbon Fund’s projects continued to develop in India, Indonesia, Guatemala and Peru: mangroves are growing and so are the fish populations they house; the thousands of mango trees in the Araku Valley in India yielded their first crops; more than 80,000 women in Africa and Latin America are less exposed to toxic smokes thanks to efficient cookstoves. In 2016, through our projects, we testified yet again to the harsh reality of climate change: from the floods that hit Sumatra to the droughts brought by El Nino in Central America, rural populations are the most vulnerable.
2016 saw, all around the world, the rise of mistrust and the temptation to withdraw inwards with the exploitation of fears and resentment. And yet, whether we like it or not, we all live on the same planet- and we know just how fragile it is. Though nations, languages and religions may separate us, we have a common destiny. What is produced in one place and consumed in another forms a vast, invisible chain that binds people and territories together. The natural resources we so unwisely consume, the wealth that we create and share so poorly are our common heritage. Faced with the temptation of selfishness and violence in all its forms, we have no choice but to invent solutions that rise to the collective challenges ahead of us.
Each and every one of us has the responsibility and the possibility to contribute, according to our capacity and the means at our disposal. No single person has the solution to himself or herself, whether they are a manager in a private company, an NGO, a farmers’ cooperative, or an executive in a national or international institution. But by working together and constantly striving to have an impact, we can accomplish great things.
And that is what we promise to do with all of you in 2017.
We wish you a very happy new year,
The Livelihoods Venture Team