The TVNI is an almost unique, successful model of participation and promotion at the global "grassroots" level. The TVNI website is world's repository of information, experience and knowledge on the multiple uses of this remarkable grass species. By openly and freely sharing information, the network and its members have formed a global knowledge network community that begins at the level of the individual or group that has a felt need for what Vetiver Grass Technology (VGT) can do, but have not been able to find an affordable, manageable solution and so become interested, then involved and then, passionate about promotion to others.
The Vetiver Network International was established some 20 years ago. Over that time the Vetiver System applied to a number of critical environmental areas has become widely used. Others have recorded the value of this Network; I would like to add that our success has been due to the excellent interaction by users all over the world (via social media, workshops/conferences, and publications). This interaction has assured the sharing of views and new ideas; technical support to new users; encouragement: and of course many success stories. The Network has done this on an all volunteer basis and at very low cost. Those people interested in moving new technologies to communities at what ever economic level, but particularly those that are poor and in rural areas, might have something to learn from The Vetiver Network International
I have been a member of TVNI since 1996 when its founder Richard Grimshaw visited Madagascar where I was working. Since that time, I have volunteered to work on promoting vetiver technology around the world. A an international development professional I have lived in 9 countries on long-term assignments and visited many others on short-term assignments. Development activities aimed at relieving poverty, increasing the quality of life for those in underdeveloped countries is hugely important but very hard to sustain. Finding strategies and actions that stand on their own once the development funding ends is truly frustrating in that they are few and far between. It is this point that has vexed the efforts of so many donors, agencies and organizations in transferring technology and information that transforms developing countries into modern ones capable of increasing the health and wealth status of citizens in underdeveloped areas of the world. Vetiver technology has stood the test of time having been in Indian culture for many thousands of years. In the 20th century it has been expanded through research and development to cover many of the issues that must be addressed if societies are to advance. Linking improved productivity on the land to sustainable management of natural resources to improved social development is at the heart of how vetiver technology touches many people. The TVNI as an international NGO harnesses the efforts of volunteers in over 100 countries around the world to demonstrate its merits and implement projects to insure its use. I am a part of that effort and it has changed my life. The most important aspect is that as a technology it is easy to understand, easy to do and lasts a very long time. TVNI has remained a totally volunteer organization over time has is able to operate without any dependence on financial contributions. It is this aspect that is amazing when you consider the plethora of organizations whose overheads financially speaking limit their ability to survive if funding is removed. I am able to communicate with almost anyone anywhere using social media these days and as such can provide advice to a wide range of people. The TVNI website houses all the technical information and serves as a repository of documents, images, videos and links specialists to those who need assistance. Richard Grimshaw maintains the website and does this as a volunteer. At the end of the day, it is gratifying to know that you can help out in a significant way simply by showing a path to those whose quality of life is less than yours. TVNI is a great Non Profit organization.
I live and breathe vetiver everyday where I live and work in Ghana. It is an ideal environment for vetiver and its use solves a myriad of problems. I currently have projects ranging from protecting a beach resort from coastal erosion, to protecting small village dams to insure that they have water during the dry season, to introducing it to a large gold mining company about to open a 4000 acre mine in S. Ghana that needs to buffer itself from surrounding towns and the watershed as it produces highly toxic byproducts as it mines gold, to introducing vetiver production for renewable fiber production used to weave baskets in N. Ghana, to trimming my plantings in my own garden where they set off a whole host of tropical shrubs and flowers. I learned vetiver technology from the founders of the Vetiver Network International and since the mid 90s it has transformed my life and my ability to provide solutions where none existed before. It is humbling to have this knowledge and see all the misery that poverty and underdevelopment causes where I live and work. Anyone can use vetiver, understand it, touch it, feel it and watch it work all by itself. Due to its multitude of uses to numerous to list here, it can fit into any landscape, into any economy, into any situation where the land is negatively affected either by erosion, pollution, or neglect. In Ghana, hundreds of millions of dollars are being thrown at problems with poor results and little or nothing to show at the end of the day. Vetiver use and its positive impact is the exception to the rule. It can be used incorrectly and thus fail, but it is difficult to mess it up as the rules are so simple. Use the right material, plant it correctly, get it started over a short period of a few months and then let it does its thing over the next 6-10 decades. When you can stop all soil erosion, when you can prevent roads and buildings from falling apart, when you can clean polluted water, when you can transform degraded land into productive sites, when you can give hope where that commodity is always in short supply, then you have a winner. Vetiver technology does not ask much of the user but gives back to the user so much that you have to see it to believe it. I have personally promoted vetiver throughout the world and concentrated on work on the African continent is some very difficult places such as DR Congo. Whether it is in DR Congo or in Morocco or Ghana or Kenya or Burkina Faso or Senegal or S. Africa, it still does the same thing bringing green solutions to problems that have outwitted humans for centuries. It is such a good feeling to be a part of sustainable solutions for so many who desperately need be healthier and wealthier. Improving the land is always a starting point and there is no limit to what you can accomplish.
It is with TVNI support that in Kenya we were able to set up an NGO (following good example of SLUF in Ethiopia) that promotes sustainable land use and yes: Vetiver System is very much part of that. Our Kenya network is now vibrant - even if I leave this country one day (I am not a national); we have an active network, and increasing capacity to train farmers, promote the technology in the development world keen on catchment protection (no small thing in Kenya where irrigation projects main problems include catchment degradation), and in the world of engineering.
TVNI has character and charm, it is a real informal network, but it really works worldwide !!! !!! !!!
So when I have to fix this steep slope in Kilifi (on the coast) I just call this TVNI friend in South Africa and since he's following every step on the way, and adding advice. Where to use a drill, where to use a hammer, what fertliizer, what to mix in the hydromulch. It demonstrates that the technology promoted by TVNI is truly open-source and accessible.
We also have some measure of solidarity between members.
Does Alain from DRC not get paid by the road project in Uganda? Half a dozen of TVNI people get mobilized to put pressure (some of it from Kenya).
Does Rose from Siaya again not reliable supply as agreed? She'll be blacklisted. Because only good, reliable suppliers should remain (so buyers - many are farmers - should not be duped).
Is one of our members forcefully evicted (tribal)? Several of us contribute to get him relocated.
TRUST is at the core of TVNI values, and that is where it should remain. To guard our quality.
And this TRUST and SOLIDARITY belongs, make no mistake, in an NGO that promotes something really technical. To slow down water speed, keep soil in place, to guard the basis of many farmers' existence.
In that sense, it is life-changing.
We (our NGO) was greatly helped by TVNI's website, Facebook page and group emails as well as direct emailing, in which we got backstopping on how best to address catchment protection, and deal with rehabilitation of gullies. The technology promoted by TVNI (Vetiver System) is durable, low-cost and very effective; the local communities (farmers) that we work with are happy with the result (even if it takes a bit of training and follow-up to get it right).
I have been involved with propagating, planting, and educating about vetiver for over 20 years. Our family farm, Agriflora Tropicals, in Puerto Rico has been a source of quality plants to local and USA projects both on site and online. Publishing the Vetiver Solutions and the Vetiver Puerto Rico blogs has been a very rewarding experience allowing me to share knowledge with people around the world.
Everyone in The Vetiver Network International is a volunteer and, as an Associate Director, I have been trusted to admin the Caribbean and Latin American discussion groups and the TVNI Facebook group. TVNI and its volunteer members and now spreading vetiver knowledge around the world in many different languages. One of the best organized among environmentally consciousness groups.
In 1989 we aquired a 30-acre farm in the tropical mountains of Puerto Rico. Rain-driven erosion was an immediate concern until we found The Vetiver Network International (TVNI) and its abundant educational material about this amazing plant. Many years and many rains later, vetiver still defends our farm and we have become professional growers and consultants for this technology. TVNI has always provided the educational and teaching tools and the human network to help us make a valuable environmental contribution while providing our small family farm with an additional source of income.
I have been involved with the Vetiver Network International (TVNI) and the promotion of the Vetiver System (VS) as a technology for environmental mitigation over the past 25 years. I have seen the network and the application of the technology spread around the world with some excellent results that impact on natural resources conservation, disaster mitigation, structural stabilization and pollution control. I have seen poor rural people benefit from VS application in better farm incomes, better health, and conserved land assets.. I have seen better and lower cost maintenance of roads. I have seen dirty polluted water and land contaminated by waste products become clean again. I have seen hope where before there was despair.
I have been part of an organization that is totally organized and supported by volunteers, that operates on less than $10,000 a year. I have seen thousands of VS users interacting on many VS focused websites, blogs and social networks (FaceBook) – providing support to each other in the quest of applying and developing new innovative measures that involve the use of Vetiver grass. The networks are truly “for the people and by the people”. TVNI is a knowledge based organization that shares information on the public domain via the Internet. Further over the past year it has expanded its support for workshops and training. It has helped those who are looking for solutions for low cost fuel energy, for cleaning up waste products and subsequent health benefits. It has expanded its support for women in Vetiver.
The network has a philosophy of “Letting a Thousand Flowers Bloom” – the results have been exceptional. The Network is built on trust and respect for everyone involved with the technology. We listen to feedback from the smallest and poorest contributor to large companies all of whom are dealing with similar problems at different scale. Each one is able to learn from the other. TVNI is a truly a giant network both globally, professionally and technically trying to deal with those problems that are generated by climate change, poverty and natural resources conservation. It offers something to everybody who are looking to solve problems relating to activities involving soil and water.
PROBLEM AND NEEDS: My field is agriculture and i focus on working with developing countries. I have been disturbed during most of my life about two global issues: a) disappearing soils and their reduced capacity to produce more food and fodder; and b) reduced availability of water, needed to make crops grow and survive. I have had my own small production farms (in three different countries) and saw the degradation of both accessible water and quality soils. I was for five years assigned the management of an agricultural and rural infrastructure project in Madagascar, one of the countries that bleeds so much soil, it is the only place on earth that a satellite picture brings out plumes of brown, mud charged waters coming out the country's river into clear blue Pacific. Among other, the project was tasked to rehabilitate critical farm-to-market infrastructure, and we had to assure the sustainability and durability of all the construction/ rehabilitation work. It included rural roads, bridges, culverts, drains, river embankments, irrigation ditches, railroad, port. etc. that were constantly destroyed by the island's (larger than France in surface) heavy rain storms and annual cyclones. We wanted to find the best and surest system to protect what the US Gov't was paying large amounts to rebuild, but which in the past broke down or disappeared due to cyclones, floods and storms. The project organized a "soil erosion" workshop to which we searched for and invited about ten dozen projects and technical specialists to present their experience in reducing soil erosion, floods and infrastructure protection. Dale Rachmeler, a colleague, suggested inviting a representative from an organization in the US that specialized in erosion control. We managed to have Founder of the organization attend and be part of the workshop (he happened to be in China at the time). After two days of presentation by various practitioners, workshop attendees were asked to vote for technology or system that seemed the most sustainable, efficient and low cost technology. The vote was overwhelmingly The Vetiver Network; the simple, highly effective plant- based technology changed my life. In agriculture, one only has about 25 chances (harvest seasons) "to get it right." After less than several months into learning about the Vetiver system and the plant used, I recall saying: " this is what I have been looking for my adult life, and I am going to help propagate the system world wide." I was additionally motivated by reading a document that described the two major threats to global survival were: are population growth, and "the loss of agricultural land to grow food." The world’s cropland was losing topsoil through erosion faster than new soil could be formed, thereby reducing the land’s inherent capacity to be productive. Where losses are heavy, productive land turns into wasteland or deserts. ONE OF THE BEST SOLUTION: For the past 18 years, The Vetiver Network International (TVNI), a knowledge sharing organization, is composed of fifteen regional and national Vetiver networks around the globe. They have spawned and informed tens of thousands of applications of plant-based soil remediation and climate change adaptation practices now in almost all countries of Central and South America, the Caribbean,Sub-Sahara Africa, Mediterranean countries, South and South-East Asia, China, Australia and parts of Pacific Island States to reverse soil-loss trends. THE PLANT: At the base of the system is a most unusual one in the plant kingdom; it is one of the oldest on the planet, and one that developed adaptation properties over millions of years, being resilient to land slides, droughts, submergence, floods, fires, brackish waters and a variety of soil types, predators and diseases. In addition, the plant is non-fertile and non-invasive. THE APPROACH: The deep and massive roots of the Vetiver plant grow to two to three meters (6-9 feet), stabilizing soils, and through its stiff leaf/stems grow to about to meters, slowing rain water-run off, and filters and traps soil particles on the up-hill side of the plants, creating natural terraces . The "Vetiver system," which is a form of phytoremediation technique is applied through planted hedgerows of closely spaced Vetiver plants (Chrysopogan zizanoides), along the contour of slops and lowlands, retaining upward to 95% of eroding soils in the slopes and open fields. One of the dominant features of the Vetiver System is the simplicity of its application; it requires knowing only a few basic guidelines. It can be applied by anyone who knows how to handle a hoe or shovel, plant plants in rows perpendicular to the slope, and care for the plants for the three months of planting. The plant also retains soil moisture in sloped areas, facilitating reforestation and increasing the option of hillside farming, where usually soils are too dry to farm. OTHER ASPECTS OF VETIVER: The Vetiver plant and system have multiple applications and uses. The leaf/stem part is used as a raw material for "sustainable" handicraft industry, which provides for year-round income generation (developed at a national level in countries such as Thailand, India, Venezuela, Madagascar, China, Indonesia, Mali, Philippines). Vetiver plants are also used extensively to treat solid and liquid wastes; treating waste water and toxic and heavy metal contaminated soils. The applications, requiring more technical know-how and used in most tropical and sub-tropical countries that have contaminated mine tailing and waste water problems; Africa, South America, Madagascar, China, Australia, South East Asia and the US. HOW IS VETIVER SYSTEM TECHNOLOGY PROMOTED: All Vetiver Networks are peopled by volunteers. Globally, the main web site of the Vetiver Network is: www.vetiver.org. There are a 15 Affiliated Vetiver Network web sites, 10 email access affiliated country networks and four Vetiver Blog spaces; all are informed through contributions of research documents, Power Point Presentations, papers presented at International Vetiver Conferences (Five have been held over the last 1 years); in India, Venezuela, China and twice in Thailand; the latter two were under the auspices of the Kind of Thailand, an agronomist who has played an influential role in the research, application and dissemination of the Vetiver System not only in Thailand but neighboring countries and world wide in addition to Regional and Country specific Vetiver Conferences. The Vetiver Network International maintains a Google Picasa shared Photo album site covering some 20 different applications of Vetiver world wide; and a FaceBook site. Affiliates are invited both in a formal and informal manner, and expected to promote quality Vetiver System applications, use non-fertile cultivars (there are over 100 registered Vetiver plant suppliers word wide listed on TVNI's main web site) and contribute to global promotion of the Veitver System by sharing information. The content and the approach have given me much work but most importantly, quantifying satisfaction, as the Vetiver plant has been shown to be one of natures most effective carbon sequestration "system." Four vetiver plants sequester the same about of CO2 in 8 months than a grown tree of 4-5 yrs. Good news for the environment, good news for the farmer! The Vetiver Network International is a low key but high powered global group of several thousand concerned and involved professionals led by a tremendously capable Brit who started the whole process while he was an agriculture Technical Director at the World Bank. He set the NGO corporate culture, which is exemplary. Criss Juliard
The Vetiver Network International (TVNI) is a philanthropy that teaches people how to use Vetiver grass to hold their soil in place, clean their water, and decontaminate their soils. Vetiver is a sterile clump grass with dense, fibrous, strong roots 12-15' deep. When grown in a continuous line or row, the grass slows and disperses water that would otherwise dig out gulleys as it speeds from high to low ground. Holding soil on the land where it belongs protects our reefs from silt that suffocates them. This green technology is beautifully simple, economical, and very effective. In addition to anchoring soil, the roots capture heavy metal and other contaminants, including TNT, arsenic, lead, chlordane, and heptachlor. The plant grows in a variety of nasty conditions, and also captures excess herbicides and fertilizers. The founders of TVNI are former World Bank senior agronomists, who served during the period when expertise--not dollars--was exported, realizing the promise "if you give a man a fish, he'll eat a meal; if you teach a man to fish, he'll always eat." One of the early patrons of TVNI was--and remains--the King of Thailand, who recognized Vetiver's utility in the early 1980s. To his credit, he established national nurseries, and planting protocols that preserve Thailand's soils. Rows of Vetiver line Thai freeway cuts. The United States is late to the party, having adopted a "more is better" philosophy that it adapts to remediation. Unlike rigid construction, including cement, rock, reinforced concrete, etc., Vetiver grows stronger with age.
I established the Vetiver Network International in the early 1990s with the objective of sharing a "green" technology with potential users around the world - primarily small and poor farmers in the tropics and semi tropics. We networked information and supported research to expand the technologies application to many new areas. The technology, now known as the "Vetiver System", is based on the use of a unique non invasive long living plant known as Vetiver Grass, that when planted as a thin narrow hedgerow prevents erosion and reduces rainfall runoff. We first used the technology for on farm soil and water conservation, since then the technology has been widely used for slope stabilization, gully control, land reclamation, pollution control, decontamination of polluted land and water, disaster mitigation (landslides, floods, droughts), handicrafts and many other applications. Vetiver with its dense leaf and stems and deep and very strong roots is akin to what engineers call a "Soil Nail". This technology is changing the lives of tens of thousands of small farmers in Africa and Asia in particular. It may turn out to be a key technology for rehabilitating Haiti's ravished soils. The technology is low cost, green and it works. The Vetiver Network International is a knowledge based network - http://www.vetiver.org ; it has a large and comprehensive website that provides detailed technical and other feedback from the field. It is linked to other vetiver networks at regional and country level some of which have very active user forums, that communicate in their local languages. The technology that is scale neutral supports small and large enterprises for example it is impacting on many very small farmers in Ethiopia and Malawi both in protecting their lands and increasing their crop yields and income, The same technology, applied a little differently is protecting some of the largest landfills in China and the USA and is reducing polluting leachates from those landfills. In Brazil it is being used to stabilize land slide areas and beach protection. In Madagascar, China, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and India it is used to stabilize highway, railway and riverbanks. Poor rural people are being taught to use vetiver as a source of material for handicrafts. Communities love the technology because it is low cost and relatively easy to use. Vetiver has changed the lives of many, and will continue doing so for ever.
Review from Guidestar
AAE in the island of La Gonave is desperately trying to plant vetiver along the old, abandoned terraces and trainign the community in the vetiver many uses, including fuel for stoves, thus stopping tree logging and kerosene consumption. Scarcity of water remains an issue, although water tanks are being installed. Once restored and hedged, the terraces would retain water and allow for other crops. AAE has been trained in digging ditches and shales, and is waiting for a donation of some 6,000 vetiver seedlings to start. They need more and need someone to drill for water, especially community water.