By Spy Uganda
The GRO Foundation and its GRO Initiative is a social-impact organization dedicated to planting 1 billion trees and helping to lift millions of individuals and families out of poverty by 2030 through creating sustainable livelihood projects and connecting grassroots communities to the global carbon market.
The organization does the above under a mission to fund “un-fundable” social impact projects using climate finance and aims at achieving its vision of enabling vulnerable communities, women, and youth to take control of their own future.
”It is a simple concept with a far-reaching impact. Our thesis is that reforestation and climate finance is not just about improving the environment. It is a tool to sustainably uplift communities and save lives,” says the organization’s boss Mr Paul Flynn who was on 26th August 2023 recognized at PAP Global Awards with Environmental Philanthropist Award.
Flynn says that advised by Plant for the Planet, custodian of the United Nations Global Reforestation Initiative, they work with government authorities, NGOs, and tens of thousands of volunteers at a grassroots level.
”We secure public and institutional land upon which communities plant and maintain forests with natural biodiversity until these have achieved maturity,” says Flynn adding; ”We certify these projects and offer high-quality carbon offsets from 100% new forest cover on the global market.”
The Organization uses a significant share of its profits to uplift communities. They do not stop at creating jobs through reforestation, but they also uplift communities by first funding basic needs such as food- and water security and rural electrification.
”Next, we fund skill-centers to enable communities to become employers rather than jobseekers, and finally, we provide microfinance for their livelihood projects so that they achieve true independence. Teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime,” says Flynn.
”We want to fund that man’s access to markets to sell fish, own fish restaurants, manage logistics and distribution, industrialize production, scale internationally and own a globally recognized fish brand. Now that man is an employer to his community,” adds Flynn.
Reforestation & Social Impact Of The Highest Quality
For further transparency, projects are independently verified, registered on the blockchain, and held in trust by the International Carbon Registry.
This means, that by offsetting your carbon footprint with GRO, you protect the environment and positively impact people’s lives. You are forever linked to increasing the number of trees on the planet, as well as giving families in vulnerable communities a path to a better future.
Achieving Large Scale Reforestation
GRO’s key to achieving large-scale reforestation centers on a standardized approach focused on developing strategic long-term stakeholder relationships and incentivizing grassroots community participation.
Reforestation Quality Assurance is achieved by being advised by Plant for the Planet, employing experienced reforestation professionals locally, and working with local expert NGOs that are already involved in reforestation efforts closely tied to communities who are trained to be local stewards.
The GRO Foundation uses climate finance to first fund basic infrastructure that provides food and water security, as well as rural electrification. Next, it funds skill center training aimed at creating micro-entrepreneurs before finally providing microfinance for communities and entrepreneurs to fund sustainable livelihood projects and become independent employers.
Paul Flynn says, ”Community mobilization is achieved through our grassroots incentive program that funds the uplifting of communities. Furthermore, we scale by cooperating with leading community-centric organizations whose members benefit from our impact program. These include cultural and heritage institutions, farm-, youth- and women organizations.”
GRO focuses on certification and stands on the four pillars of reforestation projects including the assurance of permanence, natural biodiversity, community stewardship and continuous monitoring.