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Keepers Zambia - Restoring Rivers

Keepers Zambia promotes sustainable agriculture practices and natural resource management through community sensitization actions and radio programmes.

In Chipambale district, the river that people depended on, the Msandile River, is drying up. This is due to unsustainable practices such as; timber production, charcoal burning and tobacco farming.
With support from WWF and the Zambia Governance Foundation, Keepers Zambia launched a community sensitization programme, known as the Msandile Water Management Project in Chipambale district, in Mphomwa community. Through this programme, Keepers Zambia is working with; the Ministry of Forestry in Zambia, traditional leaders, and various communities, to educate people about the dangers deforestation, cultivating in river banks and use of poisons for fishing, causes to the river. This is through a forest restoration project in Mphomwa community through a group of 10 people that all care about the environment. This group consists of the headman of the community, women and youths.
Before 1991 trees in this community were abundant. We saw water in the Msandile River throughout the year. But as populations grew and as different people migrated, people begun cutting down trees for charcoal production and timber farming, unsustainably. So now we made a decision to restore what we destroyed, by re-planting trees”, said Headman Mwale Yaman.
In the short month that the group had been running, they have already achieved a lot. The group had already planted 1200 tree seeds and distributes seeds to other communities in the Chiefdom, with the aim of restoring the whole forest close to Msandile River. They are also working with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Forestry to replant trees and grass close to the river and discouraging the use of poison for fishing.
Taking into consideration that they still need wood for fuel, the group planted woodlots in their village that they will be using for fuel. Their plan is to cut these fast growing gum trees and replant immediately, thereby protecting the forest. Community members have shifted away from farming at the river banks and from cutting down trees. Now, anyone found cutting down trees is reported to the village headman and fined.

By Nchimunya K Banda/WWF

© Jasper Doest/ WWF
Mphomwa Natural Resource User Group, preparing bags to plant trees, in Chipata, Zambia.