A milestone has been achieved this month as all 10 of our partner Chiefdoms signed Conservation MOUs for their community forest monitoring and management plans!
The MOUs formalise partnerships between the USAID Community Forests Program (CFP) and participating Chiefdoms, where communities will undertake regular forest monitoring and sensitization activities in exchange for the CFP providing monthly financial aid as well as equipment, staffing, and ongoing training and mentorship
With the MOUs a total of 35 scouts will be directly supported by CFP to achieve a targeted minimum of 1,300 Conservation ‘man days’ per month, as well as sensitization of 1,000 individuals per month across the 10 Chiefdoms. These arrangements will initially run for a one year trial period, from September 2017 – September 2018.
Patrick Nyirenda, BCP Conservation Coordinator, sees first-hand the impact of innovating and progressing CFP activities within the target communities.
“The MOUs are a big deal for the CFP as a program for the local community. Local communities ought to take a leading role in ensuring that the program succeeds. When the program succeeds, the community will derive benefits they can see and partake of.
“This arrangement is also important in Zambia as a whole as it empowers local people to participate in determining the future of resources on their land, upon which their livelihoods depend. At a national level, Zambia will have mitigated against the high deforestation levels and contribute to a safer environment” he said.
Impacted community leaders share Patrick’s enthusiasm for the program. John Banda, Msoro Chiefdom Community Resource Board (CRB) Chairperson, commented that “in terms of wildlife, Msoro area is depleted and our CRB is inactive and almost irrelevant. We appreciate so much that CFP has made us realize that keeping the forest intact can bring revenue to our community. Now our CRB is active once more”.
BCP now join our community partners in celebrating, and supporting, this opportunity to pilot community-based conservation efforts for REDD+ in Zambia!