Written by Vincent Gunde
Interconnection between livelihoods and forests is critical to achieve sustainable forest management hence the need to restore deforested and degraded land scapes through sustainable land management practices.
The Malawi government has embarked on a programme aiming at addressing the problem of deforestation and land degradation called ” Malawi Youth Forest Restoration” to be implemented by youth clubs across the country.
The programme will engage the youth in tree planting and natural regeneration giving priority to fragile areas within their localities.
District Forestry officer for Dowa, Deborah Mushali, said through the programme, government seeks to engage youth groups to provide technical services by carrying out land clearing, marking, putting and filling, planting, spot weeding and cultivation in forest operations.
Mushali said the programme will run for three years to 2021 targeting 14 wards in all the seven constituencies of the district with a priority given to river banks, bare hills, degraded and deforested areas.
She said the programme has a goal of enhancing active participation of the youth in interventions that promote forest restoration in Malawi.
The DFO said youth groups comprising members from areas around the identified sites will be identified with the council expected to produce a certificate of completion of work which will be verified by the District Forestry office at the agreed fee( s) payable to the youth group for each of the forest operation.
She said the council and central government offices will provide routine monitoring of the programme and checking adherence to the restoration plans.
Mushali expressed hope that the programme will produce some remarkable achievements such as economic empowerment for the youth through payment of wages, increased forest cover in degraded and deforested areas of the district.