A Letter From Zambia
“Zambia like many other countries is concerned about sustainable use and management of its natural resources which also includes forest and general environment.
Recently, due to the increase in population even in the rural areas and small-scale farmers have now known the importance of going back to the land as farming has become a business, has resulted in increased pressure on land, causing a substantial degradation of the forests and vegetation cover of the environment and a general decline in soil fertility.
The project area was classified as one of the districts in Eastern Province where there is high deforestation due to growing tobacco, Cotton, and maize on a large scale.
Most of the land in this area is well used in the sense that people in the area are all small-scale farmers and maize production in this area is high. Noticed by the increase of many cooperatives in the same area, most farmers use fertilizer on their fields as for them, their interest is in producing more, therefore, they join a cooperative to get more fertilizer which is subsidized.
However, the main causes of environmental degradation in this district had been due to (1) Deforestation carried out by clearing land for agriculture activities, cutting of trees for charcoal production, fuelwood and curing of tobacco. (2) Method of farming being practised in the area has increased the rate of soil erosion. (3) Uncontrolled bushfires and (4) overgrazing: animals use the area all the time.
Our NGO is a rural rooted Organisation, established after a research and identified the challenges which the community is facing namely; poverty and HIV/AIDs which has led to the increase of orphans and vulnerable children, widows and vulnerable families.
Our aim is to transform the communities to a better future. Registered with Registrar of communities RNGO 101 /0357/14 on 2nd October 2014. The Organisation is governed by the board of members and managed by the Director.
VISION: Empowered vulnerable women, Youths and families of Lundazi District and across for transformation from the existing challenges for a better future by working together and taking charge of their own health, child development and the community we are living in with spiritual attitudes.
MISSION: To strengthen the ability of families and communities, to protect and promote transformation through networking, capacity building, advocacy and empowerment to the target groups in conjunction with other stakeholders.
The Organisation has more than 70 women and youth clubs in District.
One women’s club with 25 active members. In responding to climate change and land degradation issues, the club put together their little resources from gardening and build a brick house for their members.
As an Organisation, we would like to strengthen the effort of the community in this area as they have already started responding positively to climate change. We want to embark on different tree planting activities which will tackle the drivers of and reduce future deforestation while at the same time contributing to the net afforestation with the multiple beneficial outcomes which follow a holistic approach when adopted in recognition of the complex interchange between socio-economic and environmental factors.
Nursery business will be established to grow seedlings for planting on farm and community land. Soil erosion and infertility will be reversed.
New fruit and timber trees will reduce pressure on forests and improve food security. A grassroots economy with alternative income streams will emerge, reducing poverty-related pressure on the forest.
Training schemes, job creation and empowerment of women and youth will increase community economic and environmental resilience.
Tree target: 4 million trees by 2021
Objective 1: Rehabilitation of degraded land to improve soil and water conservation and reduce pressure on forest land from agricultural and livestock expansion
Activity: Tree planting to reverse erosion and fertility loss, terracing and soil and water conservation techniques.
Objective 2: Restoration of degraded forests and community grazing land
Activity: Enrichment planting of trees to return degraded forests and grazing land to healthy biodiverse ecosystems which will support sustainable animal husbandry and access to non-timber forest products
Objective 3: Reduce pressure on forests resulting from poverty through income diversification, while increasing food security
Activity: Existing Cooperatives will be invited to diversify farmers’ income streams and improve economic security by promoting economic activities which will reduce pressure on forests. One women club in the area has already started making brick houses for its members and the community. This will be encouraged to reduce demand for construction timber, production of fuel-efficient cooking biogas will be promoted in the area as they have plenty of animal manure. Forest for food will be promoted which will build food security.
Objective 4: Training to promote a self-sustaining forest-based economy
Activity: Capacity building Community leaders will be trained to enable broader knowledge transfer into the community on seed collection, propagation, nursery management, tree planting, forest management and sustainable harvesting of non-timber forest products and food processing to add value such as feed production etc.
Objective 5: Empowerment of women and youth
Activity: The project is structured to constitute women and youth as majority participants in all activities. Nursery ownership and management women and youth will be employed. One agro-business centre will be built in the area.
Monitoring and Impact Measurement
Ecosystem and socio-economic data will be collected to monitor the progress of the project. Baseline data will be collected for comparison with future data. Data will be collected annually to measure key metrics like species, tree growth, density, survival rate, income etc. There will be liaison and course correction with project participants, community leaders and local government
We will network with them for this project.
Type of trees to be planted
• Medicinal trees such as Moringa
• Nitrogen fixation trees and plants such Msangu, Tephrosia etc.
• Fruit trees such as Mangoes, Pawpaw etc.
Community Support: We have 70 women and Youth, we have 13 women clubs doing small businesses to support their households. This project will be supported 100% by the communities as we have already started building capacities in the current activities that we are doing.
Another support is the presence of local NGOs who are experts in tree planting programmes such as African Community Projects.
Total number of trees which will be planted: 3000
The following will be planted:
Medicinal trees such as Moringa, Nitrogen fixation trees and plants such Msangu, Tephrosia etc. Fruit trees such as Mangoes.”