CONGO – At the end of June in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, seventeen participants from local and international non-governmental organizations gathered for a training funded by USAID's Central Africa Regional Program for the Environment on the practical applications of the Green Value Tool, which provides for simplified financial analysis of forest-based initiatives. Dr. Shoana Humphries, co-founder of Green Value, worked on facilitating this training. Dr. Humphries, in her role as consultant for the USDA Forest Service, has supported the International Programs office with trainings in Latin America, Asia and other places in Africa.
The Forest Service International Programs office and USAID supported the development of the Green Value Tool from 2007-2011 for original application in Latin America, with use of the tool focused in five Amazonian countries from 2012-2017. The tool was first developed by Dr. Humphries and Dr. Thomas Holmes, research economist for USDA Forest Service Southern Research Station.
While the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s 2014 Community Forestry Decree enables communities to obtain formal rights to manage community forest concessions for a range of uses, economic and benefit-sharing models of these concessions have not yet been fully considered in initial activities.
To address this current gap in thinking and encourage more consideration of economic dimensions, including the development of a business plan, the Forest Service organized this training to help participants complete financial analyses on various forestry activities to compare the financial viability of different activities. Participants spent three days learning what the ins and outs of using the tool. The workshop included case studies that used real-life examples. Participants used the tool’s six-step program to compare costs, revenue and rates of return in three scenarios: a mushroom cooperative, an artisanal logging association and an agroforestry organization. They gained a new business-oriented perspective and reflected on how they can use the tool in their future work, ultimately better understanding and assessing the financial viability of different forestry activities. The USDA Forest Service will continue to support initiatives that help countries more sustainably manage their natural resources.