New Non-Timber Forest Product (NTFP) Activities!

In the first quarter of 2014, BCP Trust promoted a series of trainings on Non-Timber Forest Product (NTFP) activities to community stakeholders living in the project zone for the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project (LZRP).  In particular, BCP Trust supported trainings in mushroom production and dried fruit production.  At the start of this second quarter, we are now preparing to support our first honey production pilot, taking place in an area of protected forest along the LZRP boundary.

 

In February, 22 women from Mweeshangombe Zone were trained in the production of dried fruit.  The training was led by Ms. Indwina Kalunga, a local resident of Ndubulula Zone, who is also active in BCP’s sustainable eco-charcoal project.  After discussing possible fruits and vegetables to dry, the women decided that moving forward in 2014, they would focus on preserving foods such as local greens that can be used in cooking. For now, they have decided to focus on using these new skills and technologies of improving nutrition in their families and local community, and in future, they aim to develop this program into an income-generating business. The production of dried fruits and vegetables is a fantastic way for local women to improve nutrition, food security, and develop small businesses based on a forest-compatible activity!

 

Also in February, BCP Trust supported a second mushroom production training, to follow-up from the original training that took place in Mweeshangombe Zone, which involved over 30 participants.  Due to popular requests for more people to be involved in the trainings, an additional 16 participants have now been trained in mushroom production, from Mweeshangombe and Namanongo Zones, along the boundary of the LZRP.

 

BCP Trust aims to continue supporting these NTFP production projects in upcoming months and years, as a means of improving local food security, and hopefully, to assist community stakeholders in developing sustainable, forest-compatible businesses.

 

Both of these trainings were made possible by funds received through a generous VIGOR grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) (See more about BCP’s VIGOR grant from USAID here: http://biocarbonpartners.com/bcp-trust-receives-vigor-grant-from-usaid).

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Participants in the mushroom production training that took place in Mweeshangombe Zone.

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Participants in the mushroom training program in Mweeshangombe Zone proudly display what they have produced.

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Participants in the dried fruit and vegetable training, who came from Mweeshangombe and Namanongo zones.

First Special Environmental Education Day (SEED) at Namanongo and Ndubulula Schools

First Special Environmental Education Day (SEED) at Namanongo and Ndubulula Schools

 

On April 2nd, students and teachers at Namanongo and Ndubulula primary schools held their first Special Environmental Education Day (SEED) events, as part of the Environmental Education Programme (EEP) supported by the BCP Trust.

 

SEEDs are designed to provide students and teachers with an opportunity to showcase their work through the EEP. Representatives from BioCarbon Partners, the local community and, importantly, parents are invited to attend and participate in SEEDs.

 

At both schools, students showcased their work through performances, including drama events and poetry readings. Teachers provided “demonstration” lessons to show how the classes are being taught, and to better explain the content of the courses to the community and parent representatives in attendance. In Namanongo, students and teachers also participated in a competitive Environmental Quiz, which resulted in much clapping, laughter and learning.

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BCP’s Community Engagement Officer, Hildah Mbalazi, leads students in a song and dance to open the SEED activities at Ndubulula School.

Representatives from BCP Trust were especially impressed by the dramatic performance that was delivered by students in Namanongo, in which a notorious charcoal producer and poacher is convinced to adopt sustainable cutting techniques and to participate in livestock projects by his children, who are participating in the EEP at their school. The students were able to convince their father by describing the negative effects of deforestation, and by explaining alternative activities—such as sustainable charcoal production, conservation farming techniques, livestock rearing and tourism—that can benefit community stakeholders as well as reduce deforestation. The students explained that these are the sorts of activities that BCP is supporting through the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project.

 

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Students at Namanongo put on a fantastic dramatic performance, explaining the power of youths to bring change in their communities and to promote environmental protection through knowledge and communication.

 

As part of the event, BCP Trust helped to facilitate a donation of 20 guava trees to each school, made by the local Forest Officer from the Forestry Department. Students and teachers planted the trees, which are intended to grow into small orchards that will provide students with fruits in the upcoming years. As the schools were about to “close” for term break, BCP Trust ensured that students and teachers had committed to caring for the newly planted seedlings, even over the break period.

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Students at Namanongo School lead a tree planting activity.

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The next SEED events are scheduled to take place in June, midway through the year-long EEP course. BCP Trust is actively seeking support and contributions that will help this program to be successful in motivating students to become involved as “environmental ambassadors.” In terms of next steps, BCP Trust hopes to support environmental movie screening events, scholarship programs, awards for academic performance and a mentorship program in local communities. Please contact us for more information, or, if you have any ideas or interest in supporting this dynamic program!

 

The launch of the EEP has been made possible by funds received through a generous VIGOR grant from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) (See more about BCP’s VIGOR grant from USAID here: http://biocarbonpartners.com/bcp-trust-receives-vigor-grant-from-usaid).

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Tree planting at Ndubulula School