Congratulations Mbita! 2019 recipient of BCP’s Carey Eaton Award

BCP CEO Dr Hassan Sachedina presents the Carey Eaton Mission Award trophy to 2019 winner Mbita Nakazwe from our Lusaka finance team

Our newest Carey Eaton Mission Award recipient is Mbita Nakazwe from the BCP Lusaka finance team!

The Carey Eaton Mission Award annually recognises an outstanding BCP employee who demonstrates the BCP ‘Root’ values – Trustworthy, Adaptable, Good Communicators, Detail-focused, Purpose Driven and Courageous. The award remembers Carey Eaton, one of BCP’s founding leaders, who tragically passed away in 2014.

Mbita receives this Carey Eaton Mission Award in recognition of her exceptional work ethic and achievements. She is setting new standards for commitment and delivery at BCP. She has become known company-wide for her quiet diligence and dedication, to both her work and to supporting her colleagues. Mbita is a kind and helpful colleague who approaches her work with cheerfulness. She holds herself to high standards and in achieving them, her attention to detail and commitment to outcomes sets an example for us all. 

Mbita’s desk is as her work – neat and tidy with everything in place. She is outcome-focussed and puts in the effort to meet deadlines and scrupulously high standards, regardless of the challenges. Mbita is dedicated and resilient, and her exceptional achievements and innovations in her work are testament to this. Mbita has swiftly become a leader within the BCP team, as her colleagues recognise her leadership abilities and appreciate her contributions to the team and to our mission.

Congratulations Mbita! We are so grateful for your calm efficiency and team spirit. Your contributions to our work and to our team culture are noticed and very much appreciated.

9 Special Species You Can Save By Offsetting

When you purchase BCP Offsets you not only help reduce emissions, you also protect numerous endangered species seeking refuge in Zambia.

The Luangwa-Zambezi ecosystem is one of the last remaining wildlife strongholds in Africa. An inter-connected valley of National Parks, Customary Areas and Game Management Areas (GMAs), it is home to an abundance of wildlife including many significant and threatened species. BCP carbon offsets directly fund habitat and wildlife protection within one of the continent’s largest wildlife migration corridors, protecting many endangered and geographically-isolated species.

Learn more about 9 amazing species your offset purchases are helping to save:

Announcement! Local communities secure Zambia’s first carbon rights.

Yesterday, Zambia’s Labour Day celebrations coincided with celebrations of our own, as communities participating in BCP’s REDD+ activities became the first in Zambia’s history to receive carbon rights.

The milestone is a significant step toward empowerment for communities in effectively managing and benefiting from their natural resources. By legally recognising the rights of local communities to profit from carbon offsets generated by their own forest areas, participants in Zambia’s REDD+ activities now have legal security to retain income from carbon stocks on community land.

In order to halt deforestation in Zambia, communities must be engaged and empowered to make changes that support local development and employment. By formalising community rights to carbon stores in their natural resources, communities can make long-term plans for local development supported by carbon income.

So far, seven of the twelve Chiefdoms participating in BCP’s LCFP REDD+ project have been granted their carbon rights by the Government of Zambia. Rights agreements are already in progress for the remaining Chiefdoms, and we hope to secure agreements for all participating communities within the next few months.

Education boost for Nyimba

2019 has begun with excitement among students in Nyimba district who are benefitting from improved access and quality of education in nine villages in the district.

Communities in Nyimba have historically had a difficult time meeting the education needs of their growing population. With teacher training taking place in main centers such as Lusaka, it can be challenging to attract teachers to work in rural areas that are often difficult to access and lack some comforts and facilities city-dwellers may be used to.

Housing for teachers throughout Nyimba has been a key challenge for the district and one that this year, communities are addressing thanks to conservation fees received for their REDD+ habitat protection activities.

So far this year, communities in Luembe Chiefdom have completed construction of seven teacher’s houses to support recruitment of new teachers for seven schools in the district. 

The teacher shortage in Nyimba has previously caused dire classroom over-crowding, with up to 60 pupils participating in each class. The net result is lower quality education outcomes for local students, who are not able to receive adequate teacher attention to support their learning. 

Construction of the houses cost the communities 210,000 zmk (US $17,300) – an amount that would have been out of reach for the communities were it not for the conservation fee income.

Further education investments in the area are also improving student enrollment, with a double classroom block constructed for Mkoma Primary School in Nyalugwe Chiefdom. Prior to this, students were sitting outdoors in the weather during their lessons, which had led to poor enrollment and attendance levels. Now that safe classrooms with protection from the weather are available, enrollments at the school are the highest they’ve ever been, with 82 boys and 42 girls regularly attending.Education improvement has been identified as a primary development need by community leaders and members, who all have opportunity to participate in decisions around the use of their conservation fee income. It is hoped that improved education for the next generation of community members will improve livelihood opportunities and the local economy in years to come.

Students of Mkoma Primary School attend the official launch of their new double classroom and teachers house.

Vehicles from USAID Community Forests Program benefit conservation partners.

The culmination of the USAID-funded Community Forests Program (CFP), the flagship activity for USAID/Zambia’s forest conservation and rural livelihood initiatives, is enabling capacity building and resource sharing among Zambia’s key conservation leaders, as CFP vehicles were redistributed to project partners in February, 2019. 

Through the course of CFP’s implementation by BCP, a fleet of 18 off-road vehicles were secured to enable community scout patrols, sensitization and livelihood intervention activities across the one-million-hectare project area. A five-year USAID activity operational from February 2014 to January 2019, CFP has now redeployed these vehicles to project partners throughout Zambia to support ongoing forest management and wildlife protection activities.

Critical protection for the South Luangwa National Park will be enhanced through deployment of one CFP vehicle to the Zambian government’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW). The vehicle will enhance DNPW’s wildlife crime prevention operations within this critical habitat area for numerous at-risk species including elephant, lions, leopards and African wild dog.

Some of Zambia’s most at-risk forest areas will also benefit from enhanced resources as three vehicles are deployed to the Zambian government’s Forestry Department. The vehicles will be deployed in Rufunsa, Petauke and Mambwe districts to improve forest management activities within these areas, which are also home to many of the CFP REDD+ project zones.

One additional CFP vehicle is already in use at Conservation Lower Zambezi, supporting the Detection and Tracking Dog Unit, which is reducing and deterring trafficking of illegal wildlife products in and around the Lower Zambezi National Park.USAID and BCP are thankful that the CFP vehicles will continue to support key forest and wildlife protection efforts within REDD+ project areas through the work of our key CFP partners. As the CFP project officially comes to the end of its allocated time, BCP’s forest protection and community development work is primarily funded by revenue from REDD+ carbon offset sales.

Addressing Isolation in Mkoma

Sometimes the barriers to economic growth and education access in Zambia are quite literal. This is the case for the Mkoma community in Nyimba district, where the local Lusemfwa River is all but impassable during the rainy season.

The communities around Mkoma have previously relied on small privately-owned boats in the area to cross the river for children to access the local school, and for businesses and farmers to move their goods in and out of the village. This means that while these boats are occupied for personal use, such as fishing, many communities members are simply unable to access facilities on the other side of the river.To address this, Mkoma village this year elected to use a portion of their REDD+ conservation fee income to purchase a Banana boat for community use. Mkoma VAG purchased the boat for 21,000 zmk (US $1,730) and have made it available to community members every day, ensuring local students can get to school and farmers can transport food supplies throughout the year.

Watch as the Mkoma community receive their new banana boat.

Creating Employment Through Conservation

Spectators gather as applicants compete in a fitness test for 30 newly created Community Scout jobs

Key to community-based habitat protection for wildlife and forest carbon are Community Scouts. Community Scouts protect community assets and are pivotal to BCP’s mission of making conservation of wildlife habitat valuable to people.  Countering threats to important wildlife habitats such as illegal logging, illegal charcoal, illegal mining, poaching and fire requires specialized skills.  

BCP partners closely with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife to build community capacity in our Lower Zambezi and Luangwa Projects.  Community Scouts are actually hired by Community Resource Boards (CRBs) through a partnership between CRBs, DNPW and BCP.  BCP has supported a Community Scout model with DNPW and CRBs since 2013 beginning in the DNPW Lower Zambezi Area Management Unit where 30 scouts were trained and now help to protect forests and wildlife.  

Through a partnership with DNPW and Forestry Department, all 10 partner Chiefdoms in the Luangwa Valley were given an opportunity to compete for 50 training slots beginning in April, 2019. Of these 50 trainees (including a number of women who passed the selection), 30 will be selected by the DNPW Training Wing to contribute to improved protection of the Luangwa Valley. 

Becoming a Community Scout is hard: 517 people applied for 30 positions—less than a 6% acceptance rate. After a 3-month training course under the auspices of DNPW, the Community Scouts will undertake anti-poaching and wildlife habitat protection patrols year-round with DNPW in at-risk conservation areas linking South Luangwa, Luambe, Lukusuzi and part of North Luangwa National Parks.

While 60 CRB scouts funded by BCP across over 900,000 hectares is not enough; it is the start of an effort to support communities and Government with enhanced resources to help protect the iconic Luangwa ecosystem.  Recruiting locally provides much-needed employment opportunities for families in rural areas with low employment rates, while also ensuring the forest and wildlife are protected by individuals who are accountable to their own communities for protection outcomes.  This model mirrors a goal of BCP to be majority community-staffed from the Chiefdoms in which we work.  With the addition of the Luangwa Community Scouts, around 70% of BCP’s entire monthly payroll will be to project area community staff. We target this figure growing in future.

Both deforestation and poaching jeopardise community benefit streams by reducing carbon offset revenues, and value from wildlife tourism. Along with intensive livelihood improvement efforts, protection undertaken by the people who also stand to benefit from REDD+ success is an important part of BCP’s formula.

During the course of their work, Community Scouts will need to traverse difficult terrain, encounter potentially dangerous wildlife and face determined people breaking the law, as well as record wildlife species and forest data.  BCP is proud of our partnerships with DNPW, Forestry Department and Communities, and proud of the men and women putting themselves on the conservation front-line.

Applicants for the Community Scout jobs set off on an 8km run to prove their fitness for the role.

Appreciating the ‘us’ in USAID

A well-known African proverb says that if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

February is the month of valentines and, for BCP, milestones. February 2019 marks BCP’s 7th birthday (in lieu of gifts, carbon offset purchases are happily received). It is also the end of an era, as the USAID-funded Community Forests Program comes to a close.

Partners are key to success across this vast continent, and core to BCP’s work – that’s why it’s in our name. Five years ago BCP was a relatively new startup with a great method and great people operating out of a two-room cottage-come-office in Lusaka. We were full of potential and enthusiasm and were immensely proud of the conservation impact already achieved by LZRP.

USAID changed the scale and success of conservation in Zambia when, in 2014, they funded the Community Forests Program (CFP). When USAID selected BCP to implement the Program, they demonstrated a belief in our ability to grow and adapt beyond the scope of any REDD+ project on the continent.

USAID has been a partner to BCP beyond funding. They have provided leadership and capacity building and have facilitated relationships that will ensure the success of REDD+ in Zambia well into the future. Together, we have achieved the extraordinary. Close to 1 million hectares protected, more than 170,000 rural people benefitting, and conservation improving in one of the world’s largest biodiversity corridors.

A lot still needs to be done to reduce deforestation and poverty, and restore wildlife and connectivity in one of the last great wildlife strongholds on earth, but the scale of what we have achieved would have been inconceivable by now without USAID’s support.

Thank you, USAID, for sharing your conservation vision with BCP and for your legacy investment into Zambia’s people and Africa’s wildlife, as well as climate-change mitigation for the world. We look forward to continuing the critical work of CFP and to expanding its legacy throughout Zambia and beyond over the coming years.

Walking the Talk – BCP is Carbon-Neutral

Deforestation mitigation and emissions reduction is tough business – it’s our passion for conservation that drives BCP, and it’s important we lead the way and ‘walk our talk’.

BCP has been carbon neutral for the last 5 years. We hope that one day we will be able to conduct our conservation and community work without generating emissions at all. For now, we’ve achieved neutrality by switching to eco-friendly alternatives where possible, and then retiring BCP offsets to cover the unavoidable emissions.

As an organisation, in 2019, BCP will generate 400 tonnes of carbon emissions. Over the years we have achieved reduced emissions from our operations and activity by making a few easy changes that might also work for your company.

BCP has:

  • Purchased more efficient vehicles
  • Installed solar power at our HQ and regional offices
  • Switched from 4×4 vehicles to motorbikes for field work, whenever possible
  • Cut beef from the menu at BCP meetings and events (learn why)
  • Adopted technology that enables multi-office meetings without requiring travel
  • Made conscious efforts to reduce food waste in our offices
  • Begun recycling glass and plastic bottles through local projects that provide community income
  • Staff and company efforts to commute via carpooling.

Our remaining, unavoidable, emissions are generated by necessary national and international flights for staff as well as fuel for vehicles travelling throughout rural communities and conservation areas and light aircraft which is used to patrol the 1 million ha forests

It’s easier and often less expensive than you think to take your company carbon-neutral. Contact us by email to start the process and calculate your organisation’s emissions.

BCP’s VCU retirement certificate, 2019

5th Verification Milestone Sees BCP Emerge a Global Leader

The Audit team in Rufunsa

The close of 2018 saw BCP achieve a significant milestone as the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project (LZRP) became the only project in the world to obtain 5 successful VCS-verifications and triple-gold CCB verification.

BCP has operated within the Rufunsa Conservancy and surrounding communities since 2012 to establish long-term self-sustaining natural resource protection and community development through the sale of Zambian carbon offsets.

The LZRP generates forest carbon offsets by protecting wildlife habitat areas at severe risk of deforestation. In order to trade on the global carbon market, REDD+ projects undergo thorough audits on an annual basis to verify the validity of generated offsets.

Verification company SCS Global Services was responsible for assessing the validity and quality of LZRP offsets in 2018.

The verification process was conducted by Mr Francis Eaton from SCS Global Services. Verification required Mr Eaton to spend over 10 days in the field with BCP employees, assessing the effectiveness of LZRP offset generation at each stage, from technical forest management practices to community involvement and government collaboration.

SCS Auditor Francis Eaton checks that BCP’s measuring tapes are accurate.

“It is important for buyers of forest carbon offsets that REDD+ project developers are assessed thoroughly to strict international standards. Verification of these projects enable companies and individuals to purchase offsets with confidence, knowing that the offsets are real and meet requirements that ensure that they are are positively impacting local environment and communities, regardless of global location” Mr Eaton said.

“This is the fifth verification BCP’s LZRP has undergone and each year the project has ensured positive outcomes for communities as well as for combating climate change. By selecting a high-quality verifier such as SCS and using the highest verification standards for REDD+ such as the VCS and CCB Standards, BCP has differentiated itself from other carbon projects.

In addition to verification under the Verified Carbon Standard, the LZRP also achieved a Triple-Gold rating under CCB assessment. CCB gold ratings recognise carbon offset projects which deliver exceptional climate, community and biodiversity alongside offset generation. LZRP has been independently assessed as contributing to an increase in average household income of 450% over the last 5 years.

BCP CEO, Dr Hassan Sachedina, stated that “the CCB award system is enormously helpful in verifying BCP’s own aims to create transformational change within communities, the environment and wildlife in this critical conservation zone.

“For us, carbon offset generation is good for the environment, but it’s also about building a self-sustaining and long-term income stream for local community empowerment. Verifying to Triple-Gold CCB validates the energy and effort our team place on empowering communities. I could not be more proud of the BCP team.”

During Mr Eaton’s visit to Zambia for LZRP verification, the first verification assessment was also conducted for the BCP-implemented, USAID-funded, Luangwa Community Forests Project (LCFP). The LCFP is Africa’s largest REDD+ project by hectarage and benefits the most people of any REDD+ project globally that BCP is aware of.  LCFP verification is expected to be announced within the coming months.