Congratulations to Hildah Mbalazi! – on Receiving BCP’s 3rd Carey Eaton Mission Award Recipient

On February 2nd, BCP’s 4th birthday, Hildah Mbalazi, the BCP/CFP Community Engagement Manager for the Rufunsa Site, became the third person and first female to be honoured with the BCP Carey Eaton Mission Award, which recognizes BCP team members for their  outstanding service and exemplification of BCP’s values.

 

Hildah planting

Hildah has worked with local communities in Rufunsa to deliver impacts such as creating nurseries for growing trees

Hildah is one of BCP’s longest-serving team members, having started as an intern in 2012.  As she explains: “I graduated in 2013 from the University of Zambia where I acquired my degree in environmental education. It was during my time at UNZA that I got devoted to BCP as an intern; this was equally a time when the company was being set up. I think, I left a good impression because after my internship, I was given an offer to join them after completing my degree which I later did…Looking back at my very first years to what I have achieved today is just unbelievable.”

 

With a strong commitment to BCP and delivering impacts with the communities she works with, Hildah was promoted to Community Engagement Manger in Rufunsa in early 2016.  Along the way, she has faced numerous challenges with positivity and dedication.  As the inscription on her award certificate describes: Hildah lived in a tent for nearly a year, including during the rains, and she chose to remain in Rufunsa despite local politics, all the while being the only female on her team.  Throughout these challenges, she maintained her poise, kept her team focused, and proposed solutions.

 

Hildah teaching EE

Hildah teaching environmental education in Rufunsa

However, Hildah is not only a hard worker with a positive attitude. As the announcement to the BCP team read, what set her nomination apart from the 10+ others that were received from over 20 members of the BCP team, was the fact that Hildah’s hard work had recently resulted in some remarkable impacts. In the past 6 months Hildah has helped to lead the Rufunsa team in delivering tangible impacts to local communities, including: overseeing a grant that trained 500 farmers in conservation farming, delivering 11,000+ kg of seeds, launching 3 nurseries, training 83 honey producers, delivering 113 hives, registering 4 community governance Cooperatives, and expanding the Environmental Education Program and School Support Program to include 5 schools and 8 teachers.

 

Despite her long time and demonstrated commitment to BCP, Hildah responded to the announcement of the award with modest surprise: “Honestly I did not see myself winning this award,” she said. “The company has grown exponentially and there are people doing some great work for the company that I thought were going to receive the award…I am truly honoured and humbled to receive this award and I am grateful to everyone.”

 

Hildah’s achievement is a testament of her leadership skills, hard work, and having role models who inspire her. “I would like to pay tribute to Molly Crystal who has been my mentor and role model, and the Rufunsa team who have only been supportive, without them this would not have been possible. This is a great motivation for me to work extra hard and win the award again,” concludes Mbalazi.

 

Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of Ms. Mbalazi and her team, and we look forward to announcing the next recipient of the Carey Eaton Mission Award in mid 2016!

 

CE award winners

Hildah Mbalazi receiving the award with past Carey Eaton Mission Award reciepent, Darlington Chipita

The Legacy of Mr. Carey Eaton

Mr. Carey Eaton was a BCP Advisor from the beginning. He was born in Zambia, grew up in Kenya, and he was globally recognized as a technology pioneer in Africa.  Prior to the inception of BCP, Mr. Eaton held the position of CIO in a publicly traded Australian company. He then took a risk and returned to Kenya, where he started a group of linked technology firms that soon created 600 jobs in multiple companies, built African capacity and improved markets through the mantra that “technology is the great equalizer”.

 

When BCP was launched in 2012, Mr. Eaton became an Advisor who volunteered extensive time and expertise to support BCP through the rigors of the start-up phase and during the development of the company. BCP is here today thanks to his support.

 

In June 2014, Mr. Eaton tragically passed following a violent crime in Nairobi, Kenya. He is survived by his wife and four young children.

 

The Carey Eaton Mission Award was launched in his honour in October 2014, and is intended to recognize BCP staff members who embody the values, commitment and spirit that Mr. Eaton brought to the start-up phase of the company.  Mr. Eaton was committed to African economic development, capacity building, teamwork, mentorship, humility and hard work. In spite of his success, he made time to coach aspiring African tech entrepreneurs. He was generous, energetic, a strategic thinker, fun, and focused. The Carey Eaton Mission Award is as much a recognition of good character, as it is recognition of actions that contribute to the overall BCP Team.

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 Has A Fresh New Look

BCP and the BCP Trust have fresh new logos!

 

The original BCP logo

The original BCP logo

BCP’s original logo was designed by our Managing Director’s cousin in Nairobi in early 2012, just as BCP launched.   This new conception, created by the South African design firm Fixate retains the circular shape of the original logo, and will continue to be recognizable by local communities we work with.

 

What is the symbolism behind BCP’s new logo? The circle represents the earth, and the fading brush like lines represent the deforestation affecting the earth, as well as the inner rings of a mature tree.  The greens in the BCP logo represent the forest and the life that comes from that.  The BCP Trust logo, while the same design, uses brighter colours, representing the sun, sunrise, and hop e.  Both are interconnected, yet different – recognizing that the work of the BCP Trust supports BCP, but that the Trust is still a distinct entity with its own, connected, mission.

 

Not only does the release of this new logo mark an important milestone along with our 4 year anniversary, but it also revitalizes BCP with a new level of energy as we continue to grow and work to make African forests valuable to people.

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 Celebrates 4 Years!

BCP staff in Lusaka enjoying the braii

BCP staff in Lusaka enjoying the braai

On February 2nd 2016, BCP staff gathered to celebrate our 4 year Birthday.  Many start-ups and NGO’s do not make it to the 4 year mark, so this is a huge milestone.  In the four years since launching, BCP has grown from a small core staff of less than five people (including one driver), operating out of a rented cottage, to almost 100 (mostly Zambian staff), situated across three field sites and six offices, leading operations that are planned to extend from the Lower Zambezi to the Luangwa Valley ecosystems, based out of Rufunsa, Mfuwe, and (now, as of this month) Nyimba.

BCP’s fourth birthday  was an opportunity for staff to take a moment and reconnect as one team – a team we are now calling “One BCP”—  with a shared vision and mission to continue working to make African forests valuable to people.  On this day, teams at all five of BCP’s Zambia offices took a pause in the afternoon to celebrate BCP – which, at all sites, involved a braai (barbecue) and an opportunity for staff to relax and connect with each other, while reflecting on the accomplishments of the team in this short-but-long, and certainly very intense, time of growth for the company.

BCP staff in Mfuwe braaing on the banks of the Luangwa River

Setting up the braai in Mfuwe on the banks of the Luangwa River

In addition to the Birthday celebrations, Ms. Hildah Mbalazi was announced as the recipient of the third annual Carey Eaton Mission Award. Ms. Mbalazi is the first female recipient of this award, and she was recognized for her tireless work with the Community Engagement Team in Rufunsa since 2012, her positive attitude, her demonstrated leadership (especially as the youngest Manager on the BCP Team), and especially, for the tangible impacts that her team had achieved among communities in Rufunsa during the past quarter.

As BCP, we are certainly very excited to have achieved this important milestone. However, we also recognize that we have not made it here on our own: BCP’s fourth birthday was also an opportunity for our team to reflect upon the many partners and supporters who have helped make our journey possible. To all of you out there who have supported BCP, either from the beginning, or more recently, THANK YOU, sincerely, for your support. Partners is in our name – and if it wasn’t for our partners, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

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.

Mfuwe staff celebrating on the banks of the Luangwa River

Mfuwe staff celebrating on the banks of the Luangwa River

 

Staff celebrated at the Lusaka office with a cake dedicated to Carey Eaton work with BCP

Staff at the Lusaka office celebrated with a cake dedicated to Carey Eaton’s work with BCP

Building Community Capacity for REDD+ in the Luangwa Valley

Mfuwe CM training

The new Community Mobilisers

In January, seven even new Community Mobilisers (CMs) joined the growing BCP/CFP implementation team in Mfuwe. CMs are local hires from rural Chiefdoms, who are intended to support ongoing community engagement, mapping, sensitization and data collection work related to the development of new REDD+ projects in these Chiefdoms, under the USAID-funded Community Forests Program (CFP). Among other things, CMs will be in charge of organising the community stakeholders within their specific Chiefdoms and collecting household data on livelihoods.

 

 

The new mobilisers were selected through a transparent, competitive process led by BCP in collaboration with Chiefdom representatives from traditional leadership and/or local institutions such as Community Resource Boards (CRBs). The CMs were selected from seven Chiefdoms in Mambwe and Lundazi Districts, and include: Lufeyo Zulu from Nsefu, Emmanuel Milanzi from Kakumbi, William Sakala from Malama, Rhoda Mbao from Jumbe, Bornface Simunshi from Msoro, Paul Weza from Mnkhanya, and Doubt Phiri from Mwanya (under Lundazi district).  To date, these 7 Chiefdoms have expressed interest in participating in the CFP, and as such, these new CMs were hired in January, in anticipation of upcoming needs to increase local engagement in participatory REDD+ project development activities, as we hope to sign agreements to launch new REDD+ projects in these Chiefdoms within this upcoming year.

 

To empower the new CMs with the necessary skills and knowledge to conduct successful field work, the BCP/CFP team conducted a week long orientation and training detailing their new roles and responsibilities. The training was also aimed at equipping the new Community Mobilisers with skills on engaging the community on different issues including forest conservation. It was an interactive training with a lot of fun memories!

 

The new Community Mobilisers acquired skills in community organisation, including the use of Participatory Learning Action (PLA) tools for engaging the community in discussing issues affecting them.  To set the ground, the trainers defined ‘Community Mobilisation’ as “a process that brings community members at centre where they identify issues affecting them and together as a community identify solutions or develop ideas for community action”.

 

PLA Tool Training with School

One notable PLA tool was “a transect walk”.  This tool is used to explore the local area around a community and has been used successfully in natural resource management.  It allows people to take note of the different agro-economic zones and compare topography, land type, land use, soil type, soil fertility, vegetation, crops, social problems, opportunities, and possible solutions.  Knowledge gained from such tools / activities will be used to engage target communities in the development of Participatory Forest Management Plans (PFMPs) for new REDD+ protected forest areas under the CFP.

If correctly applied, Community Mobilisation addresses individual and/or social fears, doubts, myths and hopes, and gives voice to the communities, empowering them to participate in the selection of forest for conservation, how they share resources, and ultimately benefit.

 

The training was facilitated by Godfrey Phiri, the Senior Community Engagement Manager, assisted by three community Engagement Managers — Esau Shawa, Nchimunya Hambote, and Willie Shuma —  and four Community Officers: Kennedy Tembo, Hebron Yowela, and Noah Mbewe. Marvin Mpola, a GIS Specialist on the CFP team, also participated, and the CFP Technical Coordinator also facilitated the training.

The CFP is excited to welcome the new Community Mobilisers to our team, and we look forward to working together to support new REDD+ activities in these 7 Chiefdoms, and beyond, in the upcoming year.

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.