25 353 237Trees planted

As a strategic aspect of Reforest'Action's international development, our global network of Project Officers allows us to deploy our expertise as close as possible to the areas where we operate and to our local project leaders. Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, our Project Officer Ané Venter is in charge of monitoring Reforest'Action's projects in South East Africa and searching for new projects. Interview.

12/05/2023 - Inès de Reforest'Action


Interview - Project Officer - Afrique du Sud

Her background before Reforest'Action... 

I trained in the field of wood science and forestry with a Bachelor's degree from the University of Stellenbosch (in the Western Cape region of South Africa). I also obtained a double master's degree from the University of Eastern Finland in the field of European and international forestry. I also wrote my thesis at the University of Freiburg, Germany, on the effects of mixed versus monoculture regimes in the tropical forests of Central Panama; before moving back to Johannesburg, South Africa.

Her missions and responsibilities for Reforest'Action...

As Project Officer for Reforest'Action, my role consists of researching, developing and monitoring forestry and Carbon projects that need support and financing. I also conduct annual field audits and impact assessments of projects funded by Reforest'Action. I act as the link between Reforest'Action and the project leaders and ensure the proper conduct of activities in the field on a daily basis. In addition, I have managed creative projects such as the production of a short film for our clients, involving the management of cameras, journalists and project leaders.

Her vision of forests in South Africa...

The urban forests in the city of Johannesburg, where I live, are under attack by bark beetles, invasive parasites that kill trees in a flash. This is a major threat to South Africa as the infestation spreads across the country. 

South Africa's history is one of unjust and legal oppression and inequality, and this has extended to green spaces as much as anything else. Today, in Johannesburg in particular, only the richest areas are planted with trees. This means that trees and the services they provide are still a white privilege in this country. I would like to change this and act for more environmental equality.

The forestry projects she is responsible for...

I am in charge of monitoring the Fynbos restoration and community development project conducted in the Western Cape region of South Africa by our partners Breedekloof Wine and Tourism (BWT). This project contributes to restoring biodiversity and natural seed banks, regulating water systems, balancing expected fires, and thus continuously improving overall ecological resilience. I am also in charge of the Kuzuko project in South Africa, where our local partner is contributing to the restoration of ecosystems through the planting of Spekboom, a local species essential to the ecological functioning of the region, which will contribute to the appearance of a large diversity of tree species. Another project I manage is an agroforestry project in Tanzania mountainous region, where locals are able to grow fruit trees and upskill themselves.

The added value of its local presence in the supervision of projects...

As Project Officer, I consider myself a bridge between Reforest'Action's office in Paris and rural Africa. This means that I have the task of translating all the needs, wishes and necessities between these two entities. It also means that I have to understand the functioning of an office and the French customs, but also the functioning of a village without running water or electricity. 

The project leaders I have worked with so far have so far appreciated the fact that I am a fellow African representative of Reforest’Action, and that I am able to speak their language (e.g. Afrikaans), so they feel more comfortable, and as if our support is more accessible and close to home. Also, I understand the mindset of South Africans (and other neighboring countries in Southern Africa such as Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, etc.) because I grew up here and have been immersed in these cultures throughout my life. This is essential for the best possible results.

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