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Re-greening Africa one ‘smile’ at a time.

Today, discourse on climate-mitigation focus heavily on technological advancements as the solution to climate change. I’m sure we’ve all heard the term ‘generative AI’ in the last few weeks! However, many underserved and under resourced communities, especially those in rural areas, are unable to engage with and utilise such solutions.

JUSTDIGGIT’s goal is to ensure that every community is able to make a difference. Providing farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa with the equipment and expertise needed to implement nature-based re-greening techniques to restore degraded land.

Re-greening has a wide range of vital impacts:

  • Improved food and water security

  • Healthier biomes

  • Increased biodiversity

  • Improved micro and meso climate

JUSTDIGGIT promotes a number of key nature-based solutions:

  • Treecovery

  • Bunds

  • Grass seed banks

It’s most famous technique, widely shared across social media, is the digging of rainwater bunds: affectionately known as ‘earth-smiles’.

In many areas of Africa rainfall is rare but often extremely heavy. However, due to the long periods of drought the topsoil hardens, becoming impermeable. By digging 2.5 by 5 metre ‘earth-smiles’ farmers are able to break up the top soil allowing rainwater in infiltrate into the soil. This allows plants inside the bund to grow, slowly spreading outwards as the roots of grasses/trees break-up the topsoil allowing for further growth.

Whilst vital for ensuring food and water security for local farmers earth smiles actually contribute to local and regional environmental cooling! The plants create shadows and carry out transpiration which cools the surrounding soils whilst also storing carbon.

Impacts so far:

  • 380,000 hectares under land restoration

  • 13.9 million trees recovered

  • 315,000 water bunds dug

  • 291 million social media impacts

  • 12 grass seed banks established

Written by Theo McDermott-Roberts

Reference list: Images and information sourced from the organisation’s website -


380,000 hectares under land restoration

315,000 water bunds dug

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Amsterdam, Netherlands



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