On March 8th, we honor International Women’s Day and the struggle for a gender-equal, diverse, and inclusive world. We celebrate by highlighting 3 women on explorer.land whose work champions transparent forest restoration and conservation through on-the-ground projects, finance, partnerships, and advocacy. Discover their stories and see their purpose-driven work on explorer.land

Marie-Noëlle Keijzer
Co-founder and CEO of WeForest

Making Earth Cooler.

Marie-Noëlle established WeForest in 2009 with the ambition of “stopping global warming in our lifetime”. The NGO develops holistic and multi-stakeholder reforestation projects for degraded land to regain ecological functionality and enhance human well-being, with a focus on gender and equality. WeForest currently has 15 active projects on explorer.land – from coastal restoration with mangroves in Senegal to agroforestry in Tanzania – which showcase their stories, progress, and impact on top of high-resolution interactive maps.

The impact of WeForest is beyond impressive – over 41,000 hectares under restoration or conservation, improving the lives of hundreds of communities. How central are women in your work? 

Well as you know, women are disproportionately affected by poverty-related issues in general, including disasters and climate change; they are best positioned to work on the solution. As an organization, we stimulate female entrepreneurship everywhere: women own and lead plant nurseries for example in Brazil or in Zambia.  We encourage and support women to take up positions like forest rangers, beekeeping mentors, local planting coordinators, or as board members in local farmers’ associations. You can see some examples here. We have a positive discrimination rule when it comes to prioritizing women in our programs. In 2019, 30% of the 18,164 households we worked with were headed by women, and today 48% of our current employees are women, including in leadership positions.   

What advice would you give to other women who want to change the world for the better?

The same advice I would give to men. Sticking to your values (and for me integrity has always been my north star: “Say what you do and do what you say“) and follow your plan. We can learn a lot from young leaders like Greta Thunberg, who in the face of resistance and critique follow their path.  Remember to listen to the voice inside. 

Ida Skarp
Founder and Managing Director of Seela Studio

Creating conscious activewear that nourishes women and the Earth while sponsoring purposeful reforestation and restoration projects.

Ida launched Seela Studio in 2020 with the purpose of revolutionizing how activewear is produced and marketed. Seela Studio creates apparel that is plant-based, high-performing, has a truly sustainable and ethical production cycle, and nourishes women’s health. Seela also goes one step further by sponsoring reforestation and restoration projects that empower communities and regenerate the Earth, such as the Food Forest project featured on explorer.land

You launched Seela Studio with a toddler and your second son arrived soon after that. How do you balance growing a sustainable brand with a growing family, while also supporting growing forests in different parts of the world?

Focus and flexibility are essentials in my daily routines. It allows me to be present in the moment, create, stop, adjust, reflect and grow. My job is my passion and my family is my soul. Seela is the universe where I create holistic solutions that nourish the future for the planet and inspire women to take back control over their personal health. Seela is a mission-driven journey where every step is a careful act to create a bright future for our users and generations to come. I believe in moving fast while still remaining in the present moment.

What advice would you give to other women who want to change the world for the better?

Believe in yourself and try to choose and act consciously. Your daily choices are what will create change in the end. Start and remember that commitment is key. My only goal is to be able to stand with a straight back in front of my sons every day and say “I did the best I could”. Can you find a similar drive? Then I’m sure you’ll never give up. Remember, every start is a new beginning and it’s never too late. 

Daisy Tarrier
Founder and CEO of Envol Vert

Developing forest restoration and conservation projects with a strong societal value while running advocacy campaigns in South America and France.

Daisy launched Envol Vert in 2011, after working for different organizations such as WWF. Envol Vert’s mission is to promote and support both forest protection and rural development through advocacy and local field projects involving reforestation, restoration, agroforestry, and biodiversity conservation activities alongside community empowerment. One example is the Tropical Dry Forests Program featured on explorer.land that Envol Vert developed together with partners.  

How did you decide to launch your own initiative after many years working for an NGO? 

After years of work, I decided to take a sabbatical in South America. I visited many forests, many communities and I always saw either a lack of awareness about the forests or people were aware but did not have the resources or the knowledge to conserve them. Furthermore, I didn’t want to lose the connection to Latin America because I fell in love with the tropical forests there. This ignited the desire to create an NGO focusing on communities and small organizations that are usually not visible enough to receive funding and need motivation and resources to make changes.

What advice would you give to other women who want to change the world for the better?

Good luck! I don’t think any of us will change the world, and Envol Vert won’t save the forests. We are just several drops in a vast ocean. But as Envol Vert, we will at least manage to improve the lives of the people we work with. 

To be more concrete, I believe that each one of us, man or woman, should give some of our time to environmental or social causes at some point in life. The other important thing is to be aware of our impact, of what we can improve and what we cannot. We must be patient. I also believe that we should not think that we are saving the world because this leads to pride and ego, which then leads to mistakes.