TIST: Rising carbon price enables more rapid growth of TIST tree growing in Africa and India
Growth of TIST’s pro-poor tree growing activities in sub-Saharan Africa and India has been held back in the past by the low price paid in the informal carbon market for its “high quality” carbon credits. The greater recent awareness of the need to act to address climate change has led to a large increase in 2020 in the price paid to purchase TIST’s carbon credits. The resulting increase in resources has enabled TIST to adopt a more ambitious expansion plan aimed at substantial further increases in the currently 90,000 farmer beneficiaries and the currently 18 million trees grown.
Jacaranda use PROMPTS to help strengthen connections between patient and provider, driving tangible health system improvements across Kenya
Lilian has heard of too many preventable deaths amongst the mothers living nearby in Kibera, a vast informal settlement in the southwest of Nairobi. She herself had struggled to access timely, quality care when it was time to deliver her third child. Already in labor, she reached the facility only to find a line of women in similar stages of labor, all who had been there for over six hours. Eventually, she was forced to leave, thankfully delivering a healthy baby girl at the last minute in a nearby health center.
Situations like this in Kenya are not isolated, where poor quality care continues to drive more than half of the country’s maternal deaths. Yet despite this, few formal channels exist for women to share their experiences at facilities. When Lilian signed up for PROMPTS, Jacaranda’s digital health tool, she quickly found it not only a lifeline for advice and information, but a channel through which she could report on her experiences of care in facilities - from its clinical quality to whether she was treated with respect.
The anonymity the SMS-based platform offers not only empowers women like Lilian to have a voice in the health system, but also doubles as a powerful accountability mechanism for those providing or making decisions on their care. Their feedback is routinely shared with providers and health system managers, which helps pinpoint barriers to the provision of timely, quality, and respectful care, but also ensure that there are sufficient resources - money, equipment, infrastructure - to achieve and sustain it. For instance, the installation of curtains in the labor wards of a Kiambu hospital stemmed from repeated requests from PROMPTS mothers for better privacy
She is now one of ~400,000 women who have shared feedback, which is helping to strengthen connections between patient and provider. ‘On SMS, I can talk about my experiences confidentially and explain very clearly how I was treated.’ shares Lilian. ‘I give my feedback so women like those I saw in the line have a better chance of giving birth safely.’
Over the past 20+ years, the TIST Programme has spread by word of mouth across Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, and India because the TIST Farmers believe in the power of working together planting trees, improving their farms, and sharing the big results they create.
Carbon credits are intangible, but TIST Farmers create visible solutions, helping make the world a better place for their communities and future generations. Results include more food for the family, improved stoves, money for school fees, and of course, lots of trees for shade, firewood, and fodder.
TIST Farmers encourage us to be agents of change to protect our planet for future generations.
Expanding TIST in Tanzania
The history of the TIST Program begins in 1999 with 77 subsistence farmers in Tanzania organizing themselves to tackle the challenges they faced every day: poverty, deforestation, and food scarcity. TIST Leadership undertook three pilot projects in 2020 to reintroduce TIST in western, central, and eastern Tanzania and have reconnected with existing Small Groups in western and central Tanzania that have continued to follow the TIST Values and improve their farms and communities. They are also doing a virtual expansion in eastern Tanzania using only digital tools such as Zoom, TIST Learning Center, videos, and WhatsApp. You can follow along in the TIST Learning Center
TIST Cluster Servant Spotlight: Alice Kambura
Over the past 15 years as a TIST Farmer, Alice Kambura has developed valuable leadership skills that she shares with her community. Alice joined TIST in Kenya after receiving training and hearing about the many program benefits, particularly how tree planting, Conservation Farming, and improved cookstoves can help families, communities, and the environment. Today, Alice is a Cluster Servant responsible for training and serving other farmers. One of the most important Best Practices for Alice has been Rotating Leadership, where many men and women have the opportunity to take turns leading and educating new farmers. She often trains TIST Farmers on Conservation Farming; a method Alice uses on her farm to grow maize. Tree planting is Alice's favorite thing about the TIST Program. She would like for more people to know about the benefits of planting more trees, maintaining the trees, and producing carbon credits. Alice considers her training and quantification skills to be her biggest achievements. “TIST changed the standard of living,” both her own and that of the community she shares her successes with.
Measuring TIST Farmers' Impact on UN SDGs
TIST are implementing a survey tool to measure the impacts TIST Farmers have on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Thus far, over 840 surveys have been completed!
TIST Farmers generate substantial benefits by participating in the TIST Program. These benefits have already been recognized by the Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Standard (CCBS) when the TIST Program was awarded Triple Gold certification for exceptional climate, community, and biodiversity benefits.
This new survey will collect even more information about the Program's benefits through interviews with the TIST Farmers. It will also help us learn about areas where we can better serve the farmers.
Exciting times at TIST as they launch their Uganda Education Fund supporting apprenticeships, and at the first Cluster Servants Seminar in 2 years!
TIST Uganda held their Cluster Servants Seminar with all 76 Cluster Servants and 5 administrative staff attending to discuss:
- Technical challenges
- Learning Centre: Members completed many courses and won Certificates of Achievements to celebrate their learning. This is ongoing and they continue to win certificates for themselves.
- Importance of filling weekly surveys to learn how the Cluster Servants are serving the TIST Farmers
- Solutions for challenges faced due to the pandemic
- Best Practices developed
- Profit share payments
- Achievements since each member joined the program and areas for improvement
With Ugandan schools being closed for 2 years, the longest school shutdown in the world, TIST Uganda have launched their Education Fund and sponsored 13 of their farmers children who through injury and changes in family circumstances were no longer able to afford school fees, and otherwise would not be able to receive an education.
Jacaranda celebrate reaching 1 million expectant and new mothers with their AI-enabled digital health tool, PROMPTS!
This year started with a milestone for Jacaranda who enrolled 1 million mothers and empowered them with information through PROMPTS. Their two-way helpdesk service now responds to thousands of messages from mothers every day, and innovations to the AI-powered technology supporting PROMPTS means they are able to identify and refer urgent cases to care in minutes.
Jacaranda apply a data-driven approach to identifying danger signs and referring mothers at risk of adverse outcomes to care at the right time and place. Through PROMPTS data, they've identified a number of key insights to more quickly and intuitively put mothers in need on the appropriate care pathway. Increasing a woman’s ability to make and act on decisions related to her health is pivotal for improved health outcomes. The data and feedback Jacaranda collect from women on the platform is also giving them agency within the health system. Jacaranda share feedback via ‘scorecards’ with their network of 1,000+ partner facilities and 20 local county governments, ensuring mums receive better quality of care from providers and are served by systems responsive to their needs.
As Jacaranda secure greater buy-in from local governments, expand their technology infrastructure, and grow their team in Kenya, they're working with national and private sector partners to make PROMPTS a national digital health solution that equitably supports mothers across different contexts and circumstances.
PROMPTS is featured as part of a wider commission report produced by The Lancet and Financial Times exploring the interface of digital and health transformations, and the use of artificial intelligence to accelerate progress towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC).