Keepers Zambia promotes sustainable agriculture practices and natural resource management through community sensitisation actions and engaging in radio programmes. In the Chipambale district, the Msandile River that many people depend on is drying up. This is due to unsustainable practices such as timber production, charcoal burning and tobacco farming.
Trees for charcoal
“Before 1999, trees in this community were abundant. We had water in the Msandile river throughout the year”, said Headman Mwale Yaman from the Mphomwa community. “But as populations grew and as different people migrated, people begun cutting down trees for charcoal production and timber farming unsustainably. So, we decided to restore what we have destroyed, by re-planting trees.”
Forest restoration project
Together with the Ministry of Forestry in Zambia, traditional leaders and various communities, Keepers Zambia launched an awareness programme, with support from the Zambian Governance Foundation and WWF. The aim is to educate people about the dangers of deforestation, about cultivating riverbanks and how the use of poison for fishing harms the river. They do this within a forest restoration project in the Mphomwa community with a group of 10 people, including the headman of the community, women and youths.
The group has already planted 1200 tree seeds and distributes seeds to other communities in the Chiefdom, with the aim of restoring the whole forest close to the Msandile River. They are also working with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Forestry to replant trees and grass, and discourage the use of poison for fishing. Taking into consideration that they still need wood for fuel, the group planted designated woodlots in their village. Their plan is to cut these fast-growing gum trees and replant immediately, thereby protecting the forest.