BCP is spearheading community consultations and participatory forest demarcation activities in Mwanya Chiefdom, Lundazi District, with the aim of identifying new areas for REDD+ implementation under the USAID-funded Community Forests Program (CFP).
To do this, BCP has developed an innovative strategy that combines multiple methods for involving community stakeholders in the identification of potentially viable areas of community forests for REDD+ implementation. Termed the “Flying FPIC” participatory forest demarcation process, the CFP team has pioneered a strategy that involves showing community stakeholders their available forest resources, and allowing them to identify the boundaries and extent of areas that they would like to protect in the long term under REDD+.
In August, BCP piloted this process in Mwanya Chiefdom, in Lundazi District, as the first site where we have combined the use of airplanes, vehicles, and foot-based “ground truthing” activities, to allow community stakeholders the opportunity to view, assess, discuss and agree on the areas of their (community) forest they would like to include under REDD+ projects under the CFP.
Aerial and on-the-ground activities were guided by high-tech digital mapping technology, including tablets equipped with live mapping programs that allowed community representatives to track their locations in relation to proposed protected forest area boundaries.
As part of this process, a series of community meetings were also held, in which REDD+ and the CFP were introduced to the wider community, and in which Participatory Learning and Action (PLA) tools were used to solicit stakeholder feedback on the proposed design and boundaries of the REDD+ projects under consideration. Over 200 community representatives participated in these meetings.
At the start of the month, a contingent of nearly twenty representatives from BCP, GRZ and Community Ambassadors (representatives) from each area of the Chiefdom spent one week camping in rural villages to kickstart this process. In the last week of August, follow-up meetings were held in central locations in the Chiefdom, with the aim of ensuring that messages about REDD+ reached the wider community, and ensuring that stakeholders who missed the first meetings had another opportunity to learn about the program and view the areas of forest that had been identified so far, by their fellow community members, through the participatory forest demarcation processes described above.
In the upcoming months, BCP will continue to consult and involve community stakeholders in decision-making about a potential REDD+ project in Mwanya Chiefdom. At the same time, we are also working to undertake similar processes in other Chiefdoms in Mambwe District, where six more Chiefs have expressed interest in the CFP, and potentially other areas in Nyimba and Rufunsa Districts.
This blog is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this blog are the sole responsibility of BCP and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.