Fashionable Watches

Sarah Toumi, Rolex Young Laureate, 2016

Sarah Toumi, Rolex Young Laureate, 2016


ZAAFRANE, TUNISIA The desert is beautiful. The problem is when the desert moves. In Tunisia the desert is encroaching
towards fertile lands and cities. This impacts on the local population,
forcing people to leave. They see their crops destroyed,
invaded by sand. This is desertification. If we don’t do anything
by 2030 Tunisia will be a desert. When I came here for the first time
in 1996 Tunisia was green. Nowadays rainfall has dropped by 70%. I could see the social and economic
impact on my family. And I thought, what can we do? I did lots of research and I discovered
the acacia tree loves dry conditions. It has a root which goes
100 metres deep to get water and satellite roots which share the
resources in the ground with other trees. In 2012 we created ‘Acacias for All’. We plant acacias every 3 metres
around the edges of crops. When they grow, they create compact hedges
which stop sand and wind from passing through. We can then plant other trees. The ground will be richer, more fertile
and will recover its biodiversity. Today it has become a movement
of people who work together to train farmers in
soil restoration techniques, and allow them to process their goods
locally and sell them at a fair price. This creates work where
there is up to 80% unemployment. We are starting to see a change. Where we have used our
soil restoration techniques we have 3 times higher yields
than the neighbouring crops. Our aim for 2018 is to plant 1 million trees and to start the program
in Morocco and Algeria. By 2050 we want to have resolved
the problem of desertification and create prosperity for
the people in North Africa.


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