BCP’s Community Enagement Team engages Drama Group to Raise Environmental Awareness

Each quarter, the Community Engagement Team working in the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project, meets with each of the four local institutions in each zone – Zone Development Committees (ZDCs). The development committees are comprised of traditional leaders, such as headmen, as well as other respected and influential members of the community. This quarter, we decided to bring a drama group for the meetings in all four zones. The drama group, Kumunzi Kwathu Culture and Dance Group, is based in Lusaka and is well known in the arts community in Zambia. Bringing in the drama group to the communities would increase involvement in the meetings, send a fun but informative message, and encourage small drama groups to form locally.

The group started out in each zone, beating the drums to send the message that they had arrived and we’re ready for people to start gathering.  Once it was time to begin, the group began their first skit, in which a mother was yelling at her son for being lazy and not producing charcoal, after which an argument arose and the single mother complained of not making enough money from traditional charcoaling to feed the family. A neighbor, overhearing the arguments intervenes in the fight and advises the mother and son to accompany him to a meeting being held by a Zambian owned company (BCP) which he has partnered with and has learned the best way of making sustainable charcoal which is less labor intensive, profitable and also promotes regeneration of forests.

Many community members would get involved and it was fun to see them in a different atmosphere. The group even got a few headmen and BCP members to dance! Dramas are a great way to incorporate traditional culture and for people to see that BCP understands and is working within community dynamics. We hope that from this program, local drama groups will form so that we can work directly with our communities and to promote a full understanding of our aims and projects!

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Note: In follow-up to these dramatic performances, BCP is now working with local “drama groups” that have been established to build their capacity to similarly use drama to deliver important messages about local issues.

— This post was written by members of the BCP Community Engagement Team

BioCarbon Partners Takes No Chances with Road Safety

Increasingly, injuries and mortality arising from road traffic accidents are being recognized as one of the most important public health challenges of our time in Zambia. Along with this recognition comes a pressing need to develop capacity in the area of road safety, injury and accident prevention.

In order to keep safe on the roads and avoid the human, legal and economic costs of accidents, BCP invested in a three-days defensive and off-road 4×4 level 1 and level 2 as well as recovery trainings for its nine employees who will be driving company motor vehicles in the course of their duties. The training was led by Darren Boyd, a trainer from Top Gear SA, a South African training company.

Comprising of five modules, this comprehensive training program covered a wide range of topics, from the major causes of collisions to pre- and post- trip inspections of vehicles with an emphasis on vehicle safety specifically tyre safety, blind spot checks, side and rear view mirror use; safe stopping distance, following distance, basic hi-jack prevention, space and time management as well as gravel road driving.

Under the 4X4 off-road training module, the following topics were covered: ascending and descending slopes, side slopes, sand crossing, rock crawling and cross-axle exercises. All the nine trainees took turns in driving on the rough terrain comprising pot holes, steep slopes, rocky places and side slopes and other common obstacles and challenges.

Vehicles are an important asset when working in remote rural forest areas establishing REDD+ projects.  Training in vehicle recovery and off-road techniques is strategic for safety reasons in areas where poor roads and a rainy season lasting up to 6 months can hamper access.

By and large, the training comprised a mix of both classroom-based lectures/video footage as well as extensive one-on-one and group-based hands-on on-road and off-road activities.

The skills that employees obtained from this training will certainly help them not only in taking safety and precautionary measures when driving but also in looking after motor vehicles properly, protecting and guarding them jealously.

Kudos to BCP management for making this valuable training possible!

 

 

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The picture above shows one of the participants going up one of the steep slopes during the practical 4X4 off-road training.

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Trainees listening to the Instructor, in green cap holding the pull strap, during the Off-Road 4X4 Recovery session.

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BCP 4 x 4 / Defensive Driving Training participants, with the trainer (left) pose after a successful training workshop!

By: Esau Shawa, Community Engagement Manager

Village Scouts Selected in the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project

On a cold morning earlier this month, the ZAWA base at Chinyunyu town looked more like a bus terminal than an operational centre. Thirty young men and women were spread out around the base with their luggage, waiting. Dressed brightly and talking in hushed tones amongst themselves. All looked slightly expectant. Apprehensive even. But they weren’t going anywhere. They had applied to become Village Scouts and had been invited to attend a gruelling 3-day selection trial to see who might be worthy of attending 3 months of paramilitary training run by ZAWA’s top trainers at Chunga Training Center in Kafue National Park. The graduates of this course will be employed by the Mpanshya Community Resource Board as Village Scouts on Rufunsa Conservancy. BioCarbon Partners will be sponsoring their training.

A “Village Scout” as defined in Zambia under the Wildlife Act as an individual community member who has undergone training in law enforcement and wildlife management, who usually works outside National Parks under the  supervision of a Community Resources Board and Zambia Wildlife Authority. They’re an incredibly valuable asset to ZAWA as they often form the primary link between protected areas and the nearby areas home to both people and wildlife.

BioCarbon Partners has chosen to support the training and employment of Village Scouts as part of its commitment to building capacity of local communities to manage their resources. The Zambia Wildlife Authority, as one of our key partners, will reap the benefits of increased security along the perimeter of one Zambia’s jewels: the lower Zambezi National Park.

The training went well. There were 8km runs, push-ups at 1am, drills and just about every physically demanding excercise you might imagine. Not forgetting an amusing 10 minute challenge to erect an ancient and barely functional tent loaned to ZAWA by the Zambian National Service.

If you’re picturing the person running all of this as a grizzled old, white, crew-cut drill sergeant from those cliched films, then don’t. The man of the day here was Instructor Bright Nkoma, a young Zambian professional who kept these hopefuls on their toes, both literally and figuratively. By the end of the three days he had them marching and drilling like a well-oiled machine.

The star 12 performers during this three day selection will be selected and notified of their success. The training is due to begin in October, so watch this space!

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Mr. Chonga Puta, ZAWA Ranger-Chinyunyu addresses the potential recruits

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Mr. Paul Phiri, Mpanshya CRB, Encourages the Selectees

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Women applied to become VS, and this source of employment will provide opportunities to rural households.

This blog is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The content of this blog are the sole responsibility of BCP and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.