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.

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