Project update from Zambia

Florine van den Bent

Marketing Manager at Regreener

In late 2021, we partnered with WeForest to reforest and protect tracts of land in the Copperbelt region of Zambia. Now that a few months have passed, we would like to provide you with an update on this wonderful project. On the one hand, we'll touch on some highlights from 2021, and on the other hand, we'd like to look ahead to what will happen next year!

 

150,000 trees on 62 farms

 

In 2021, WeForest allocated 125 hectares of land on 62 farms (owned by 16 women and 46 men) for reforestation of about 150,000 trees. By using part of their land for the regeneration of trees, farmers will benefit from a healthier forest which at the same time produces mushrooms, wild fruits and honey. The farmers are educated, which focuses on the practical aspects of caring for forests, such as selecting the right area for their regenerating forest, selective cutting to make the trees grow faster, fire management and weeding.

Progress Copperbelt reforestation.  Image credits: WeForest Making Earth Cooler

Expansion in the Copperbelt

 

After achieving the goal of restoring 3,000 hectares of land in Luanshya, one of the 10 districts that make up Zambia's Copperbelt, WeForest expanded the project to Mpongwe and Ndola in 2021. Therefore, 2021 was largely dedicated to setting up the project's operations in these new districts. Offices were established in Mpongwe and a baseline socio-economic household survey was conducted in both Mpongwe and Ndola. This will be used to measure the impact of the project on local communities.

Women in the Copperbelt

 

The empowerment of local women was also an important consideration in the programs offered by our partner in 2021. The Copperbelt project always applies one or more of the following strategies to empower women:

  • Encouraging women to take on positions that are traditionally seen as men's jobs, such as being a bee mentor.
  • Selecting and creating activities traditionally done by women, such as poultry or mushroom production.
  • Encouraging female representation and leadership on boards.
  • Improving access to technologies. Some women are afraid to apply for a job as a forester because they do not know how to use a smartphone, for example. Organizing sessions to specifically address this strengthens confidence.

Women are well represented in the Copperbelt. Photo credits: WeForest Making Earth Cooler

4,500 beehives

 
Farmers participating in the program receive beehives to generate income from honey and learn basic beekeeping skills. In return, farmers commit to protecting the trees and attending training sessions.

Beehives have amazing potential to protect the forest, as the sale of honey can generate significant income for the farmers and their families, sometimes even doubling it. This means that farmers no longer have to rely on illegal logging and charcoal sales.

Bees need healthy, thriving trees to survive. This is a big incentive for communities to keep the trees up.

By 2021, more than 4,500 hives were in operation and 650 new hives were set up with 70 farmers in Mpongwe in that year alone.
 

What’s next?

 
By 2022, WeForest hopes (with our help and others) to achieve the following goals in the Copperbelt:

– 100 farmers from the Mpongwe District Farmers’ Association (DFA) are expected to participate in the restoration program with an expected average of 5 ha per farmer.
– 25 farmers from Ndola’s Chinchi Wababili Women Farmers’ Association in Ndola are expected to participate in the program with an expected average of 3-5 ha.
– This amounts to the regeneration of about 700,000 trees.
– 1250 beehives will be installed for these 125 newly trained farmers.

Follow this link for WeForest’s overall report.

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