Written By Enock Balakasi
Friday, 15 March 2019
World Vision Malawi (WVM) on Thursday handed over a 1.4 million euro (about K670 million) project which was aimed at improving forest management for sustainable livelihoods in the country.
The three-year project (2015-2018) was aimed at empowering forest dependent communities through commercialisation of small-scale forestry in six districts of Karonga, Mzimba, Chikwawa, Kasungu, Ntchisi and Machinga.
Speaking during the annual tree planting event and symbolic handover event at group village headman Msankhire, Senior Chief Nthondo in Ntchisi, World Vision Malawi National Director Hazel Nyathi said that her organisation is happy that communities participated willingly to conserve their forests.
Nyathi said the project has been Implemented successful and contributed to poverty alleviation through sustainable use of forest resources by forest-dependent communities while empowering them to engage sustainable participatory forest management and conservation.
“When giving tree seeds we try to deal with people’s mindset. This helps them to understand the importance of preserving trees and they are able to tie that with their personal life,family ,community and nation,” she said.
European Union (EU) Ambassador to Malawi Sandra Paesan said forests make substantial contributions to livelihoods,jobs and the economy of the country.
She noted that deforestation is taking place rapidly hence the need to took the project on board. Said Paesan : “Thirteen million hectares of forest are lost each year and the deforestation rate in Malawi is currently at 2.8 percent. It is fourth in the world, second in Africa and first in the Southern Africa Development Community [Sadc] region, therefore the projeted has help to solve deforestation challenges.”
She also commended Ntchisi communities for supporting the initiative and encouraged them to commit themselves in preserving ,restoring and managing their forests.
In his remarks, Senior Chief Nthondo said that his community has benefited a lot from this project including poverty alleviation.
Despited phasing out project he warned his village heads against getting involved in any act of destroying forest reserves in their areas.
“We have a lot of trees in my area which has helped us a lot in terms of firewood and we also have beehives which we use to make honey and sell thereby sustaining our families”, he said
Nthondo added that his community has by-laws which include a fine of MK 100,000 when cuts a tree without permission.
So far EU has planted over 2 million trees and protected over 25 million trees in the country in the targeted districts.
Empowering forest dependent communities through commercialization of small-scale forestry project was a three year initiative implemented by World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and World Vision with funding from the European Union (EU). The project was implemented in seven Forest Reserves (FR) in Mzimba (Perekezi Forest) and Karonga (Karonga Escarpments and Vinthukutu) in northern Malawi; Dedza (Mua-Livulezi forest) and Ntchisi (Ntchisi Forest) in central Malawi. In the Southern region, the project is being implemented in Machinga (Liwonde forest) and Chikwawa (Masenjere forest).