WWF, Gaia Education & YEFI launch ZYCALA | WWF Zambia

WWF, Gaia Education & YEFI launch ZYCALA

Posted on
12 November 2017
On October 23rd 2017, alongside Gaia Education and the Young Emerging Farmers Initiative we officially launched the Zambian Youth for Conservation, Agriculture and Livelihood Action (ZYCALA) project. The project is supported by the Scottish Government and will be jointly implemented by the three organisations in the districts of Chitambo, Serenje and Mkushi, Central Province. ZYCALA will seek to strengthen the capacities of young people in all three districts to become change agents in youth-led campaigning on social and environmental issues, sustainable income generation and food security actions.
The launch convened, across the three districts, around 200 local youth leaders. They were taken through Community Building Trainings, to explore their current challenges and opportunities, build knowledge to work as a unit and strengthen effective leadership and communications skills. These leaders will reach out to 150,000 more youth throughout the lifespan of the project, through multiplier actions on ecosystems regeneration and advocacy campaigns, raising awareness of the need for innovative social and natural systems management. The empowered youth will work with households to increase food security through diversification and abundance of nutritional farm produce and various community enterprises. Beekeeping, vegetable conservation, fisheries, dried turmeric and native tree nurseries have been identified, amongst others, as great opportunities for youth-led income generation.
WWF Zambia Acting Country Director, Dr.Seif Hamisi, has expressed optimism on the project’s envisaged deliverables, stating that there cannot be true conservation without youth participation:  “In Zambia, like many other African countries, the youth form the bulk of the active population, thereby making it imperative that they are engaged in addressing their needs”. He explained that this project would provide a platform for the youth, creating sustainability, renewed energy and innovation which is crucial for 21st century conservation delivery.
Meanwhile, young people in the districts have expressed enthusiasm about the project and being collectively engaged in finding domestic solutions to issues that their communities are faced with. Speaking on the sidelines of the launch, Lillian Mulinda of Serenje district, commended the organisations involved in the project on spearheading leadership training among the young people: “I have learnt a lot about what it means to be a leader and how we as young people should lead initiatives such as conservation farming to redress generational cycles of poverty and malnutrition and create livelihood opportunities for ourselves”.
Finally, speaking after the launch, YEFI Executive Director Matthew Ntabo stated that his organisation is excited with the project’s aim to empower local youths in Central province who will become leaders and agents of change in their communities: “YEFI believes that the future of agriculture belongs to the youth and sustainability (conservation farming) is a better practice that will promote good soils and healthy foods”.
May East, CEO of Gaia Education, who conducted the ​initial community-building activities​, believes that the connection between ground, potential and goal has been activated by the enthusiasm of the young farmers. “In tune with the beginning of the rainy season, ​regenerative ​agriculture tutorials will start now and will be fueled by both the rain and the energy of the youth towards livelihood action” explained Ms. East.


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