Children Can Make a Difference in the Fight against Climate Change: BCP Invest in Environmental Education Programs

Climate Change is a global phenomenon that continues to impact negatively on many people’s lives. The need to urgently contain and adapt to changes it brings has become a global issue. Over the years, information dissemination and education about the adverse impact of climate change to different target groups living in different social settings has remained crucial.

In Zambia, BioCarbon Partners (BCP), a social enterprise fostering forests conservation has introduced effective ways of disseminating information on climate change to communities. In 2015, the company introduced Environmental Education Programs in four schools in Rufunsa District (targeting grade six pupils), building upon the curriculum previously developed used by Frankfurt Zoological Society and Conservation Lower Zambezi.

“As a company implementing conservation work in Zambia, community sensitization and education are at the pinnacle of our work. Our interactions with most communities mostly involve senior members of society. We also saw a need to involve children in our work and this led to the introduction of EEP in schools,” explains Hildah Mbalazi, BCP’s acting Community Engagement Manager. “The program was initially introduced in two government schools (Ndubulula and Namanongo primary school) as a pilot in 2014, but due to demand from other schools, we are now rolling it out in two more community schools (Mweeshang’ombe and Chilimba)” adds Mbalazi.

Ndubulula and  Namanongo primary school pupils during the opening of the Special Environment and Education Day (SEED) held at Ndubulula primary School,Rufunsa District.

Ndubulula and Namanongo primary school pupils during the opening of the Special Environment and Education Day (SEED) held at Ndubulula primary School,Rufunsa District.

The Environmental Education Program has become an effective channel of spreading information on climate change from pupils to their parents and the larger community. The EEP highlight events include Special Environmental and Educational Days (SEED), of which one was held recently on November 25, 2015. This day saw Ndubulula and Namanongo Primary schools compete in various activities ranging from quizzes, football and netball.

To the two competing schools, this was no ordinary day. “This is a special day for this school and this community at large. Climate change has had bad effect on our lives and continues to do so. BCP’s initiative of spreading information to the people through schools should be commended. Deforestation is a common feature in our community and people need to understand the adverse impact of this practice. I firmly believe that through these kids, who are also the future leaders, this battle can be won,” explains Mr. Kawinezi Isaac, Namanongo primary school head teacher.

Alice Banda is a grade six pupil from Ndubulula and a beneficiary of EEP. “This program is important to this community, especially that we continue to lose forests through charcoal production. The program has helped us understand the implications of cutting trees indiscriminately.”

“It was not easy for local people to understand what BCP is doing in the area”, explains 12-year-old Tiyanjani Zulu, another grade six pupil at Ndubulula primary school. “At first people did not understand what BCP was trying to do. With time, we have learnt about the importance of conserving our forests not only for human beings but also for animals. We have also realised how our actions have affected our weather patterns. After school, I find time to share whatever lessons I learn with my parents and friends about the importance of conserving our environment.”

Maria Montessori once said: “Within a child lies the fate of the future.” As the world looks for ways of addressing climate change, the role of children in this fight cannot be underestimated.

Promoting afforestation: Pupils from Ndubulula and Namanongo primary school planting trees during the Special Environmental and Education Day celebrations held in Ndubulula, Rufunsa District

Promoting afforestation: Pupils from Ndubulula and Namanongo primary school planting trees during the Special Environmental and Education Day celebrations held in Ndubulula, Rufunsa District

“We are using children as ambassadors of change. Children have the ability to communicate this information to their parents and friends. It is also important to note that some of these kids have been involved in charcoal production before and through this work, they understand the implications of their actions both to their lives and the environment. They have also learnt about sustainable Eco-Charcoal production introduced by BCP. This project gives this community a chance to produce charcoal in a sustainable manner. Today we heard some of them explaining photosynthesis, and amazingly they could even explain the acronym for REDD. To us, this is a very big success story and we hope to continue with this kind of work,” concludes Ms. Mbalazi.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project sells REDD+ Offsets to Microsoft, supporting African communities

BCP, the BioCarbon Group, and Natural Capital Partners, formerly The Carbon Neutral Company, are pleased to announce a transaction of Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) from a transformational community forestry project in Zambia: BCP’s pilot Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project (LZRP). The purchase of Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) by Microsoft will enable the LZRP to continue to implement and scale up work, improving the lives of farming communities in Zambia, in South-Eastern Africa.

“We are proud of this sale to Microsoft, and very happy they are supporting the exceptional environmental and development benefits this project is creating,” says Jason Patrick, Managing Director of the BioCarbon Group.

The sale of VCUs from the LZRP is critical to the ongoing success of the project. The LZRP is designed to develop a sustainable enterprise based on forest protection, through the verification, generation and sale of carbon credits to fund on-going conservation and livelihoods impacts in the long term.

“We are working hard with local communities to achieve a meaningful transformation in land-use practices: increasing agricultural production and market access while safeguarding forest habitat,” explains Dr Hassan Sachedina, Managing Director of BCP. “Our successful approach is evidenced through triple Gold validation under the Climate Community and Biodiversity Alliance Standard, as well as VCS verification. The LZRP is the first project in Africa to achieve this level of recognition. We are delighted that a company of the stature of Microsoft has invested in the benefits this project generates.”

Zubair Zakir, Global Carbon Sourcing Director of Natural Capital Partners, adds: “We’re very pleased to add BCP to our network of valued project partners with this key REDD+ project in Zambia, the country’s first.  Through its work to build sustainable livelihoods in one of Africa’s least developed economies and to tackle urban demand for charcoal coming from the city of Lusaka, which is one of Africa’s fastest growing cities, the project is meeting a demand which is very important to Microsoft and we are increasingly seeing from all our clients: one which combines emission reductions with delivering essential, long term sustainable impacts to communities, both urban and rural.”

To read the full statement please visit BCG webpage or download pdf here.

Disclaimer: 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.

BCP Participates in USFS Fire Management Training

In the Southern African savannahs, fire has been identified as a vital, accepted management tool and is strongly controlled by environmental factors such as rainfall and grass fuel load, often more so than human influence.

In Zambia, studies have shown that  a combination of extensive burning late in the dry season, continued population growth, wood extraction,  and  agricultural  expansion are some of the factors acknowledged to have  resulted  in  a  significant  increase  in  the  rate  of deforestation and environmental degradation. Among rural households, setting fires is perceived to be an easy and inexpensive solution to clear areas of vegetation  for agriculture,  improve  pastures  for  grazing,  hunting,  and  stimulating  the  growth  of  non-timber forest  products  (NTFPs). Done in a controlled way (for example, early controlled burns), these fires can be effective – but late, hot season fires cause numerous problems in and near to protected forest areas.

BCP has always considered fire management an integral part of its work in the Rufunsa Conservancy / at the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project (LZRP). On October 26-30, 2015, BCP team member Mr. Darlington Chipita attended a fire management training that was organised by the U. S.

Governmental and non-governmental organization take part in a fire management training organized by the United States Forest Services (U.S.F.S) in Chipata, Eastern Province.

Governmental and non-governmental organization take part in a fire management training organized by the United States Forest Services (U.S.F.S) in Chipata, Eastern Province.

Forest Service (USFS) through USAID, in Eastern Province. The training was intended to provide participants with wild fire behavior knowledge applicable for safe and effective fire management activities, and to introduce participants to interactions of the wild fire behavior and how to best carry out prescribed burning.

“This training has helped some of us understand that fire can be an effective tool in the management of forests,” Mr. Chipita said, reflecting on the outcomes of the training. “Coming from an organization fostering conservation in Zambia, this was an important training especially understanding that fires can have have an adverse impact on biodiversity. Learning that if well controlled and managed, fire can enhance biodiversity, giving an advantage to grass biomass that can be improved through fire and creating an environment where wildlife can settle.”

The recognition of fire as an important management tool in forest management is imperative. According to Mr. Chipita, the need to pass on this knowledge to forest users, especially communities, should be a priority for conservation organizations. As he summarised: “There is a clear need to share this information with communities who are the major users of forests. Communities need to be taught about the importance of fire as a management tool.”

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.