Empowering Changemakers

Mobile reforestation units

Project summary

Together with its partner Sadhana Forest, OneAction launches a pilot project in three arid regions of the world to set up and perfect a new model of reforestation which will permit to combat drought and soil depletion, to strengthen food security within the communities of these regions, and to participate effectively in the efforts against global warming.

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Environment, Empowerment

Project duration

From 2019


Direct: More than 20'000 participants trained per country
Indirects: More than 30,000 community members per country


About 1'600'000 CHF


OneAction, together with Sadhana Forest, is launching a pilot project of reforestation in three arid zones with different climates: in Tamil Nadu in India, in Samburu in Kenya and in the Southeast department of Haiti. This project will enable the implementation and testing of an innovative reforestation model by bringing together the following three components: the latest findings of biochemical research to select tree species that can sequester carbon permanently in the soil (the "oxalogenic" trees) and thus be more resistant to aridity; effective agroforestry techniques to optimize tree growth and survival rates; and the transmission of these techniques within local communities.

Our partner

Sadhana Forest is an NGO whose mission is to introduce a growing number of people to a more sustainable way of life and to improve food security in drylands through the rehabilitation of uncultivated lands and water managment. Sadhana Forest has been working in India since 2002, in Haiti since 2010, and in Kenya since 2014, where it is dedicated to creating "food forests", rich in biodiviersity and extremely nutritious. Sadhana's reforestation model, which focuses on the training of individuals and community participation, as well as innovative irrigation and water conservation techniques, has been proven to be successful: the survival rate of trees planted is about 80% (against a locally estimated average of 30% for other NGOs operating in the same areas); Sadhana Forest received a Humanitarian Water and Food Award in 2010; and the notoriety of its founder, Aviram Rozin, continues to grow among international organizations and actors of sustainable change.

The project

A partnership with Swiss Universities

This pilot project will be an opportunity for our scientific partners to test, in three different arid regions with very acidic soils, the trees likely to be oxalogenic and to list them by region. These trees have the ability to transform the carbon present in the atmosphere into mineral carbon, namely limestone, which will be sedimented permanently in the soil by the microbiota. The presence of this calcium makes it possible to fight against the acidity of the soil and thus to improve its fertility. Listing the oxalogenic trees will allow local farmers to plant the most suitable trees in their region for more sustainable management of their land.

Confirmed agroforestry techniques

Sadhana Forest uses advanced agroforestry techniques, including a wick irrigation system (allowing direct drip to the roots of the plant, keeping the roots moist and healthy while avoiding evaporation) and water conservation methods (creation of dams, swales and bunds).

The involvement of communities and the mobile teams

We operate in collaboration with the locals and their families, who are trained in agro-ecology by Sadhana Forest's team. In fact, a mobile reforestation team will crisscross the region by truck and spend up to two weeks in each locality, where it will provide theoretical training in the morning and practical workshops in the afternoon. The participants will each benefit from two tree seedlings to plant on their own land, applying the theoretical training. Teaching focuses on tree species, tree planting and protection methods, agro-ecological irrigation techniques, and fruit harvesting, storage and processing. The creation of close and lasting relationships with the local populations guarantees the sustainability of the projects, since, unlike direct food aid, this solution allows local communities to acquire the know-how to secure their future and the access to basic resources.

Expected results

  • 50,000 trees are planted per region after three years.
  • 22 localities are visited per region each year.
  • 20-30 people are trained per day in each region, 6,600 per year.
  • After 7 years, 80% of the trees planted produce fruit.
  • After 3 years, the soils are regenerated, and again rich and fertile.
  • 80% of participants develop their own sustainable agriculture activity and 60% increase their annual income.


  • Two weeks after the departure of the reforestation mobile team, a monitoring team will come to control the health of the trees and to provide specific advice to the participants.
  • The GPS coordinates of each tree will be recorded to enable long-term remote sensing tracking.
  • OneAction will progressively disengage and build on the experience gained to replicate the mobile reforestation model in other countries, in partnership with Swiss universities that are currently studying the impact of reforestation on soils.