At Tentsile, one of the things we pride ourselves most on is our commitment to trees. And, certainly, we are always more than willing to repeat our mantra that if we’re hanging out in them, they can’t be cut down! Simple. We honour the tree. We enjoy their company. We respect their wisdom, and we are humbled by their size and talent. Indeed, the very idea of Tentsile was born out of savouring the tree, living within them, walking among them, playing inside them, and, of course, learning from them - learning what they offer, learning what they’ve seen, learning how they themselves help protect us and the world around them.

But simply enjoying trees is not just what we do. No. On the contrary, we aim to nurture a world where trees can grow and thrive, where trees can flourish and continue what they do best – serving and protecting, digesting the world’s pollution and giving us clean air to breathe and habitats in which to live. And where they are weak, we aim to support; and where they are few, we aim to encourage; and where they are ruined, we aim to cultivate. And as such, we have been working in close partnership with WeForest, an international non-profit association whose aim is to restore the planet’s natural resources.


During 2015, Tentsile planted 3,500 trees in WeForest’s Ethiopian project. The planting site’s location is on the Udo escarpment, a 32 kilometre stretch located in the Ethiopian Rift Valley near Lake Hawassa. Since 2010, 1.6 million trees have been planted in the Udo Wetate and Mekibassa regions to control soil erosion on the hill slopes, an area that in the past has experienced severe landslides and floods. The seedlings are grown at Gallo Argesi nursery. Trees funded are primarily indigenous species, except for 10% of trees to be planted in agroforestry schemes by farmers. The project supports gender equity by facilitating jobs to women. 

Throughout 2015, Tentsile planted another of WeForest’s African projects, in Zambia. planting a further 3,600 trees in the Luanshya district in the Copperbelt province. The project works with a number of rural villages located in the district, comprising approximately 5,000 hectares of small holding farms. Its aim is to train & incentivise farmers to protect and restore the Miombo indigenous tree cover on their farmlands, in order to increase tree cover in the region. WeForest is piloting a model where charcoal supply is secured by planting timber trees and valuable fruit trees distributed to the farmers, removing the pressures on the Miombo woodlots, allowing them to naturally regenerate. The fruit trees will come from women run nurseries as a powerful way to foster local female entrepreneurship.   

And so Tentsile means trees. It means business! We want to continue nurturing nurseries and young forests, to help trees thrive and again find their place as pillars of communities and environments. This is part of Tentsile’s mission. And with your continued support, we hope to sow an even more verdant 2016!

Alex Shirley-Smith