Partnership is a key principle of all our work, at ground level with camp communities, at national level with camp authorities and local governments, and internationally. We also work with other NGOS, INGOs and research institutes, artists, and private corporations.
Refugee communities are diverse and highly skilled and our intention is to work with and not for them in promoting urban agriculture and greening innovation, planning together how space and scarce resources might be best used. We work closely with expertise on the ground, where possible looking to develop new initiatives into self funding activities.
We seek to influence local, regional, and national policies and collaborate with governments to improve infrastructure and also advise on infrastructure options within refugee settlements. Through publications, exhibitions, films and evaluation reports we publicise the achievements of refugee gardeners and provide evidence of the impact of this on their lives.
We work with other NGOs such as Mercy Hands and Human Relief Foundation on the joint execution of our programmes, often handing over activities to partners once they are established. Mercy Hands, an Iraq based NGO with programmes in Syria, is proving invaluable in the distribution of crisis response kits and in helping us gather data on their use.
Lush, a UK based but internationally renowned cosmetics company is providing funding for some of our projects and we are in discussions with them about producing honey, pomegranate and rose oil for use in their products.
We are also interested in developing partnerships with local universities and international research institutes in order to share and disseminate knowledge. We are in discussions with Iraqi based universities about using their students as evaluators and are already indebted to them for their local knowledge of plants and seeds.
Partners Mercy Hands, distributing Crisis Response Garden bags in Syria, September 2017
Our other projects
In addition to our work in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, the Lemon Tree Trust is actively engaged with projects and partners in the following regions:
Lemon Tree Trust’s sister organisation, Citizen D, first began to undertake urban agriculture projects in Dallas, Texas in 2014. One of the key obstacles we found was a lack of accessible spatial data that could help us locate suitable land for growing food. In response, we began to map the city by looking for vacant lots, open green space, rooftops, and disused indoor space. We began this process in Vickery Meadow, an under-resourced neighbourhood in central Dallas, which is home to a significant proportion of the city’s resettled refugee population. Our work in Dallas continues to expand by incorporating additional layers into our mapping efforts including neighbourhood demographics and land ownership. Additionally, we have started a one-acre urban farm in East Dallas, and maintain 3 separate community gardens throughout the city that support under-resourced communities.
We are working in partnership with The Bondeko Refugee Livelihoods Centre in Uganda to establish small agricultural businesses with refugee women. The Bondeko Centre in Kampala is a community organization, created and led by refugees. The centre started in 1997 as an emergency shelter for those fleeing violence and persecution in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, and Burundi. Today, the center has expanded its activities to include small enterprises and trainings – a women’s micro-savings group, baking, tailoring, mushroom-growing, and small-scale vegetable growing. It also continues to host an emergency shelter for newly arriving refugees, and an international volunteer program.
In 2015, through a coordinated effort between Ripple Effect Images, UNHCR and Lemon Tree Trust Co-Founder Stephanie Hunt, a project was launched that facilitated the creation and distribution of portrait photography for families living inside Azraq Refugee Camp. The loss of family photographs experienced by refugees inspired Stephanie to launch the project and bring Ripple Effect Images and award-winning National Geographic photographer Annie Griffiths and photojournalist Lynn Johnson on board. The following year, hundreds of photographs were taken and distributed to interested families inside Azraq refugee camp. Through this project and the ability to provide photographs that showcased the deep love and bond held within these families, an important step in rebuilding dignity and reinforcing resiliency in the face of crisis was created.
The Hunt Foundation, Lemon Tree Trust’s core sponsor, actively supports research undertaken by the Refugee Studies Centre and the Humanitarian Innovation Project (HIP), housed at the University of Oxford. Founded in 2012 by a donation from Stephanie and Hunter Hunt, the Humanitarian Innovation Project focuses on the role of innovation, technology, and the private sector in refugee assistance, through research in four main areas: Refugee Economies, Bottom-up Innovation, Military-Humanitarian Innovation and Governance Innovation. Over the past 5 years, the Hunt Foundation is proud to be one of the most significant donors to this project, which has resulted in numerous academic publications, coverage by the BBC, Reuters, and NPR, as well as its research being presented at key policy meetings such as UN ECOSOC’s humanitarian section, UNHCR’s annual NGO consultations, the World Bank, the Danish Red Cross annual summit, and a joint UNHCR-RefugePoint meeting at Harvard University. While also actively engaging with practitioners from across government, international organisations, NGOs, business, and crisis-affected communities, the project also maintains strong partnerships with UNHCR and the World Humanitarian Summit, and convenes the now annual Humanitarian Innovation Conference.
The Azadi Community Garden in Domiz 1 camp in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, is run by a small team of gardeners headed up Aveen, our Operations Manager. We asked team members Ismail and Shalal (pictured below) some questions about their work in the garden and their favourite plants. Ismail “I’m Ismail, a Syrian refugee. … Continued
Huge gratitude and thanks go to Erin Benzakein, Becky Crowley and all the team at Floret Flowers. As well as a generous donation of Floret seeds to our emergency ‘Gardener to Gardener’ Seed Appeal, Erin has published a lovely interview feature with our founder Stephanie Hunt on the Floret website. In the feature, Stephanie chats … Continued
Our heartfelt thanks go to Bridget and Henrietta at The Land Gardeners for donating profits from the first issue of their new pop-up magazine to Lemon Tree Trust. In this beautiful digital magazine, The Land Gardeners share what to plant and how to grow in lockdown. Plus, read about Erin Benzakein’s favourite pink flowers, Paul Bangay’s most-loved garden book, Kay … Continued