The National Museum Cardiff played host to the Wales Africa Awards yesterday, recognising the Wales Africa and Fair Trade communities in Wales. Our Forestry Expert Trustee, Ru Hartwell, did amazingly well!

Pictured above, you can see the First Minister, Carwyn Jones (AM) acknowledging the hard work put in by Ru and his team to promote sustainable development goals through Community Carbon Link (CCL), a not-for-profit organisation formed by Ru in Lampeter in 2007.

Photo L-R: * Climate Scientist Tim Wilkes, Cat Jones, Head of Partnership, Hub Cymru Africa, Ru Hartwell, Community Carbon Link Director & Trustee The Word Forest Organisation, * Climate Scientist Zak Douglas, receiving the award from the Right Honourable Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister. (* Both from the Department of Geography & Earth Sciences at Aberystwyth University).

Ru Hartwell building the Boré Forest Centre, a sustainable education centre of excellenceThe CCL helps people take more responsibility for their climate impact by supporting sustainable forestry initiatives carried out by the Boré Green Umbrella Cooperative in Kenya. The Word Forest Organisation founders, Tracey and Simon West, began their philanthropic work in Kenya back in 2012 by donating via Ru’s CCL.

Over the last 10 years, it has grown into a significant development organisation, coordinating a range of interventions from The Word Forest Organisation and a wide group of Wales-based partners too.

Carwyn Jones acknowledged the impact of Ru’s work and stated the marvellous fact that, “In 2018, the CCL is on target to plant a total of 750,000 trees”.

The esteemed judging team recognised the tireless work and projects led by Ru, particularly his initiative the Boré Forest Centre, an educational hub ideally situated for studying reforestation and sustainable development, which was created and funded almost entirely by Ru and contributed to by us.

We absolutely share Ru’s vision that by supporting the local communities to use this space to share vital indigenous knowledge about the best way to look after the forests we’re planting, we’ll ensure the canopy cover will continue to expand and remain healthy. The financial and physical health and well being of the community will benefit too, as they continue to lift themselves out of poverty with the commodities from the well managed forests.

Ru scooped Highly Commended in Overall Impact in Wales or Africa, losing the top slot to a commendable team who have dedicated 30 years of work in the field.

This category is often considered to be the hardest one of all to win and it had over 200 contenders in it this year.

The other categories were:

We are incredibly lucky to have Ru’s expertise, passion and volunteer energy in our charity. His unwavering dedication to improving lives by planting trees, building schools and helping to facilitate education in Kenya, is truly commendable.

Ru will be joining our CEO Tracey West and MD and Chair of Trustees, Simon West, on their forthcoming monitoring and evaluation visit to Coast Province in mid-February. He’ll lead our forestry inspection team and help select the next half dozen schools we’re going to build too.

Our sincere congratulations are extended to Ru for this laudable, worthy achievement.

The Team

NB: To our supporters in Wales, Ru is also working with the Rotary Club of Lampeter to raise £25,000 to help deliver clean mains water to 5,000 poor farmers in our communities in Kenya, under his ‘Anything for Africa‘ Facebook appeal – click the link for further information on ways to support it.