Women Leading Livelihoods in Forest Conservation

Through a partnership with Forestry Department, BCP-supported livelihood initiatives are benefitting women, their families, and their communities. In the Luangwa Community Forests Project (LCFP), the livelihood initiatives are providing women with the education, resources, and support to grow their own businesses.

The increased income from forest conservation opportunities that this gender mainstreaming initiative provides has helped to not only encourage women to step into positions of leadership, but also increase the wellbeing of their families. Today, we are proud to highlight two female leaders who have grown their own bee-keeping and agro-forestry businesses as a result of this conservation livelihood partnership.

Bee-Keeping: Mrs. Charity Chulu – Nsefu Chiefdom

Mrs. Charity Chulu, pictured here with her family, is a bee-keeping farmer in Chitunda Village, Nsefu Chiefdom. She is delighted with her success:  she has harvested and sold honey through a direct to export market partner of BCP which has allowed her to pay school tuition fees for her children for the entire year.

“We shall continue to keep our forest intact because it has brought a lot of benefits, one of them being beehives which has given us money to send our children to school. It also brings a good environment to our villages as it has got a part to play in bringing rainfall and good weather all around” – Mrs. Charity Chulu

Bee-keeping is a valuable and sustainable livelihood that has brought Mrs. Chulu, and many other bee-keeping farmers within the LCFP partner Chiefdoms additional income to support their families. There are currently 11,200 bee-hives deployed supporting 1,120 households and in turn, 6,720 beneficiaries.

Agro-forestry: Mrs. Enny Simufwi –Bunda Bunda Chiefdom

Mrs. Enny Simufwiis the Lead Agro-forestry Farmer in Mweeshang’ombe community zone, Bunda Bunda Chiefdom. BCP first came to know Enny in 2013 as one of the earliest trained conservation farmers under the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project.  Today, she leads and supports nine other agro-forestry farmers. Through BCP’s partnership with the Zambian Ministry of Agriculture, Enny has been able to improve her farming practices and increase her groundnut and maize yields using conservation farming techniques. Enny has also planted 78 citrus trees providing not only a source of income, but also a source of added nutrition from the fruits.

Enny had a lot to say about her flourishing orchard and their fascinating benefits.

“I planted mangos and oranges for home consumption. It is part of Agro-forestry.” Pointing to a Sennas ciamea Tree she adds, “Rainfall here is good because of these trees. When we plant these trees, they absorb carbon from the atmosphere and also help with rainfall.”

She adds, “the Faidherbia Albida is used as ‘green manure’. The leaves drop in October and November and make the soil so fertile.” Moving on to the Neem Tree she adds: “These leaves are used as medicine for chickens and people and cure about 200 diseases.”

Our ambitions are to scale up nutrition security in the 13 Chiefdoms we partner with over the next 36 months.  It’s an ambitious target, but it’s a necessary one.  According to Government statistics, some of these community areas of Eastern Zambia have some of the highest poverty and food insecurity rates in the country.  Our goal is to change this through forest protection.  In order to live BCP’s mission of making conservation of wildlife habitat valuable to people, we have to pursue strong partnerships targeting the most vulnerable households and scaling Enny and Charity’s stories across thousands of households.  We are proud that BCP’s partnerships with Government are building livelihoods and continuing to improve the livelihoods of women, their communities, and their farmlands and forests, and we are proud of Enny and Charity empowering their families through trees.

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