Last Thursday morning, water flowed from the Ndubulula Village borehole for the first time in over two years, marking the end of a long “dry-spell” and the beginning of a promising partnership between local communities and BCP. Conveniently, heavy showers marking the beginning of the rainy season also arrived on the same day.
In a public ceremony taking place last week, the Director of the BCP Trust—the non-profit arm of BCP’s activities—presented the full amount of funds required for the borehole refurbishment project to a local community leader, who was made responsible for seeing the refurbishment project through to completion. Over thirty villagers from Ndubulula were in attendance, including two local Headmen and representatives from three local women’s groups. By accepting the money for the refurbishment of the borehole, local community leaders committed themselves to protecting 93 hectares of community forest that have been set aside for a Sustainable Eco-Charcoal Project. The Sustainable Eco-Charcoal Project is one of more than a dozen projects that BCP aims to launch in partnership with members of local communities living adjacent to the Project Zone for its Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project. Throughout the past month, local leaders and community representatives have participated in a series of public demarcation exercises, in cooperation with BCP, to identify and agree upon areas of community forest to be included in the project. By linking its provision of funds for the borehole refurbishment to community assistance in local forest protection tied to the Eco-Charcoal Project, BCP hopes to make the link clear between forest protection and community benefits, and to emphasize that it works in partnership with local communities.