In Wales and across the world, it’s been a tough year where we’ve all had to adapt to the challenges of a global pandemic. Size of Wales has been no exception, but 2020 has also been a year of growth and impact as we’ve learned to work under a new and unexpected ‘normal’.
Here are some of our main highlights:
We gave grants totalling £111,960 to our partners and the wonderful projects that support forest communities to secure and sustain tropical forests, totalling more than twice the size of Wales – more than 4 million hectares. A particular highlight was the Wampís peoples’ successful campaign to protect their forests from oil exploration in Peru.
Following the Mbale Tree Planting Programme successfully reaching the 10 million trees landmark in 2019, a new ambition has been set to reach 25 million trees by 2025. Despite challenges posed by COVID-19 and political instability, the first year’s target of 3.5 million trees has been hit. A big congratulations to the team in Mbale, Uganda!
Next year, we will refresh our portfolio with new partners and projects and will increase our support for indigenous and community-led projects. We will be prioritising countries based on the amount and rate of rainforest lost and identify reforestation hot spots: Peru and Brazil in South America; the Congo Basin, Kenya, and Uganda in Africa; and Indonesia and Malaysia in South East Asia.
Outreach in schools continued with digital visits where needed and, by the end of our financial year, we visited 125 schools and engaged thousands of young people. Our visits consist of assemblies and workshops that raise awareness of the issue of climate change and empower young people to take action. The visits also follow and help deliver the national curriculum of Wales and have been a hit across the nation.
Many schools have continued learning about climate change after our visits. For example, Albert Primary School in Penarth held a debate on deforestation and Richmond Park School in Carmarthenshire designed logos for sustainable palm oil products. To cap off the year, Class 2 of Coychurch Primary School in Bridgend made this brilliant video:
Outside the classroom, and in collaboration with the Welsh Centre for International Affairs (WCIA), we launched the Youth Climate Ambassadors for Wales. The ambassadors held a highly successful Youth Climate Summit (full video here) with dozens of schools and policymakers taking part to discuss what young people and the Welsh Government can do to build a greener Wales.
Our MockCOP programme has also gone from strength to strength and received renewed funding. Run in collaboration with WCIA, MockCOP is an interactive event for young people aged 14-18 to learn about these UN climate change talks. We’ve begun planning an online version of the event and published tools to help schools run their own versions of it.
A new development has been the inception of our advocacy programme. As part of this, November saw the publication of our Deforestation Free Nation report which was launched at an online event with speakers from RSPB Cymru, WWF Cymru, and Fair Trade Wales. Next year we hope to get all political parties to commit to making Wales Deforestation Free in their 2021 election manifestos. We intend to reach out across Wales to show how everyone can contribute to the elimination of tropical deforestation from key commodity supply chains.
In June, we held our annual ‘Go Green’ campaign which ran for a week and culminated in Go Green Day. This year’s campaign was run completely online and included activities such as quizzes, children’s activities, digital classrooms, and the launch of the Size of Wales game!
To end 2020, we’re running ‘Trees for Christmas’ to raise funds for the Bore Community Forest Project in Kenya with the support of the Welsh public and businesses. The campaign has also been endorsed by former First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones MS.
Like many across the world, we were disturbed by the news of George Floyd’s murder in May. We have begun taking steps to reflect on institutional racism, not only in wider society, but also in the development sector and our role in it as a charity.
In this ongoing piece of work, staff have undergone training and participated in a workshop to reflect on these issues and the ways we can embed anti-racism and anti-discrimination more generally in every aspect of our work and processes. We will report back in 2021 to share our next steps.
Organisational growth and the road ahead
A particularly exciting development in 2020 has been the expansion of our team. As well as hiring new staff members to our education, forest programme, advocacy, and communication teams, we also welcomed Nicola Pulman as our new Director in November 2020.
As we go into 2021, Nicola and the team will focus on delivering our new five-year strategy which centres around four programmatic goals. Watch this space for the official launch!
Overall, 2020 has been a challenging yet impactful year and we’d like to thank all of our supporters, funders*, schools, and partner programmes for your continued support and hard work, often in trying circumstances. We hope to make 2021 even more impactful, making huge strides in inspiring climate action across Wales and globally.
*Size of Wales would like to thank the following organisations for their support in the projects discussed in this article:
- The Welsh Government – The Mbale Tree Planting Programme and Bore Community Forest Project.
- Waterloo Foundation – Our forest programmes.
- Prince Albert of Monaco II Foundation – Peru: Securing the Wampís territory project.
- ScottishPower Foundation – MockCOP and Youth Climate Ambassadors for Wales
- The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust – Our advocacy programme, including Deforestation Free Nation.
- SportPursuit and Create Salon – Corporate partners throughout 2020, including Trees for Christmas.
Our 2019-2020 annual report can be found here.