Congratulations to Godfrey Phiri, the latest Carey Eaton Award Recipient!

Godfrey Working with local leaders during Flying FPIC

Godfrey works with local leaders during Flying FPIC

Mr. Godfrey Phiri, our Community Engagement Coordinator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded Community Forests Program implemented by BCP, was recently announced as the fourth and latest recipient of BCP’s Carey Eaton Award – a bi-annual nomination-based award that recognizes outstanding team members for their performance and embodiment of BCP’s values. Mr. Phiri was recognized by his colleagues for his hard work, perseverance, flexibility, and humility in overcoming obstacles, and also, for the mentorship he provides his team. Godfrey respond to the announcement with a smile, saying, “People are noticing. Its humbling and at the same time drives me to do more. This award for me symbolizes the personification of an individual who contributed greatly to starting BCP. This award drives me to become a more dedicated leader and to use that extra strength to make sure this project works.”

 

Godfreys dedication and passion for BCP has been valuable!

Godfreys dedication and passion for BCP has been valuable!

As stories shared by his colleagues can reaffirm, Godfrey is a philosopher at heart, who is continually seeking to better understand the connection between people and ideas. This passion has lead him throughout his career; firstly, as a social worker using “edu-tainment” (education + entertainment) to teach and change people’s behaviour toward HIV/AIDs stigma and treatment, and then working with rural communities to improve livelihoods through agriculture. In 2014, seeking a new challenge and seeing the impact of climate change on Zambia, Godfrey joined BCP as a Community Engagement Manger. He has subsequently been promoted to his current role as the Community Engagement Coordinator for the USAID-funded Community Forests Program, as a result of his hard work, competency, and demonstrated commitment to the program.

 

Godfrey and the Malama Chief

Part of Godfrey’s works entails him working with traditional leadership like the Chief of Malama to sensitize communities about BCP’s work

In many ways, Godfrey is the “face” of BCP, leading his team to work in partnership with a variety of people and groups. One day, you may find him in the field discussing conservation agriculture with the local women’s group; the next day, he may be meeting with Government, developing polices empowering communities in protecting their forest.  Godfrey’s role is critical to the success of the USAID-funded Community Forests Program. It involves a lot of pressure, a lot of work, and can often be challenging.  As Godfrey explains: “The most challenging thing about working at BCP is that this project [is being] implemented in Zambia for the first time. The issue is buy in; convincing people they can earn revenue from protecting the forest.” Yet, despite the obstacles, he remains positive: “Each day I wake up to new challenges. I have seen myself grow to understand technical issues about climate change and carbon, and making these concrete and understandable to the community.”

 

Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of Mr. Phiri, and we look forward to announcing the next recipient of the Carey Eaton Mission Award in early 2017!

unnamedThe Legacy of Mr. Carey Eaton

Born in Zambia, raised in Kenya, Mr. Eaton 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.

Lego & Bar Successfully Graduate onto Anti-Poaching Operations

A new chapter begins for the CLZ Dog Unit. In August the dogs, two German Shepard’s named Lego and Bar, and their 4 handlers completed an intensive 3-month training course, successfully “graduating” onto operational duty.

With funding provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to counter the growing threat from wildlife crime, the Community Forests Program, implemented by BCP, is supporting Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ) and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) to set up a canine detection unit.

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This new tracking and detection Dog Unit will help combat poaching in the Lower Zambezi area.

Mike Hensman and Jay Crafter from Invictus K9 , an organization dedicated to canine training, spent 3 months working with Lego and Bar and their 4 selected handlers. To pass the training the dogs had to build up an acceptable level of fitness, be able to work around people, be focused and driven enough to track for several kilometres, and distinguish between 5 different scents. The handlers had an equally intensive training that also required them to pass a fitness test, and be able to handle and bond with the dogs.

 

Following the intensive training the dogs, handlers, CLZ staff and board, and Jay and Mike gathered together to celebrate this notable achievement. The dogs demonstrated their training by locating pangolin scales, ivory, firearms, and ammunition. The graduation further helped instill confidence in the handlers that they are undertaking a big step forward for the conservation and preservation of the Lower Zambezi National Park. Ian Stevenson, the CEO of CLZ, and Jay encouraged the handlers to continue with their fantastic work and pushed for results. Riccardo Garbaccio, the CLZ Chairman further emphasized “This day doesn’t just mark the end of your training, it marks the beginning of your operations and the need for results”.

the 4 handlers

After the an intensive three month long training, the “graduation” ceremony helped instill confidence in the handlers that they are undertaking a big step forward for the conservation and preservation of the Lower Zambezi National Park. 

Fury, the local puppy selected to undergo detection and tracking training was also in attendance and her skills and abilities continue to improve as she bonds with her handler. It’s expected that she will start active duty soon!

In the few weeks following graduation, Lego and Bar have started operations in the field. Already they have been remarkably successful. Recently they were able to detect and help apprehend people who possessed illegal bush meat.

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During the ceremony Lego and Bar demonstrated their training by locating pangolin scales, ivory, firearms, and ammunition in different locations. 

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The handlers had an equally intensive training requiring them to pass a fitness test and demonstrate they could handle and bond with the dogs. 

 

 

 

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To pass the training the Lego and Bar had to distinguish between 5 different scents.

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.

New Partnership with Bee Sweet Honey Ltd Expands Honey Production to Support Conservation in Rufunsa

There is an enormous amount of potential for beekeeping and honey production in Zambia. Located an hour and half outside of Lusaka, the Rufunsa District, is an ideal spot for honey production because bees thrive in the miombo woodland that cover the rolling hills.

 

bee-sweet-downloadWith assistance from the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) supported Community Forests Program, BCP is proud to announce a new partnership with Bee Sweet Honey Ltd, and the launch of a long term and scalable beekeeping initiative. This new partnership provides a large scale opportunity for communities involved in the USAID funded Community Forests Program implemented by BCP to earn an income from the sale of honey to Bee Sweet and protect standing forest on community lands. Due to the fact that bees depend on a healthy forest, this provides an incentive for farmers to keep these trees standing for their bees to collect pollen to make honey. Furthermore, the hives that Bee Sweet provides to farmers will last for many years instead of the unsustainable traditional bark hives.

 

Since 2012, BCP has been working with local communities neighboring the protected forest of the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project (LZRP). We have worked hand in hand with the community to identify and implement alternative livelihood projects that create sustainable sources of income to help reduce poverty and incentivize conservation of the local forest. Beekeeping is one of these livelihood projects. The initial pilot project trained local farmers and distributed over 200 beehives, and was funded through a VIGOR grant from USAID. With the initial success and interest, BCP realized that there is potential for beekeeping and have decided to enter into a partnership with Bee Sweet, a honey production company based in the Copperbelt in Zambia.

 

Bee Sweet met all necessary criteria for this venture: they are experienced in honey production with local small scale farmers, and have a well-established market for honey products. In 2015, they exported over 300 tons of honey internationally. The company already works with 12,000 farmers throughout Zambia operating over 70,000 Top Bar beehives. They have also been granted organic certification by ECOCERT (an organic certification organization from France) in 2013 and 2015, and a HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) certification is in progress.

 

beesweet-download-2The initial partnership between BCP and Bee Sweet under the Community Forests Program will run for 3 years, establishing 6,000 beehives among at least 200 new households in Rufunsa. There are opportunities for expansion, both within Rufunsa, and into new areas in Eastern Province. If beehives achieve a standard 40% occupancy, communities can expect to earn as much as $30,000 per year (K300,000), from honey production.  New producers are being enrolled into the honey production program and we anticipate 100 new households participating by the end this year. Currently there are approximately 1,200 households living in the zone and about 2,000 hectares of intact forest along the boundary of the protected forest area, in which honey production could take place.

 

The expansion project got off to a good start. In July, three individuals from Ndubulula, Namanongo and Chilimba communities travelled to the Bee Sweet factories in Ndola for mentorship training on beekeeping and honey making. These three individuals are now primarily responsible for project operations through beehive installations, honey harvesting and storage. Following training they returned with enough materials to initially assemble 1,000 top bar hives which will be distributed to the new beneficiaries they train. The USAID Community Forests Program implemented by BCP and Bee Sweet staff will be on-the-ground to assist farmers in installing hives, monitoring, harvesting, and purchases of honey from the participating farmers. Since the longevity of beehives is 20-30 years, this partnership with Bee Sweet is anticipated to provide a regular and long-term market for honey.

 

We see honey production in Rufunsa becoming a significant source of income for local farmers and creating an incentive for local communities to keep their forests standing. We are very excited to announce this partnership, and the launch of this expansion project and anticipate a bright future for the communities and forests of Rufunsa District!

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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.

Photo Credits: BCP

Painting for Protection: CFP and Community Ambassadors Paint Threatened Conservation Forest Boundary in Msoro Chiefdom

Recently, twenty one people including staff from the USAID-funded Community Forests Program (CFP), local leaders and Community Ambassadors from Msoro Chiefdom joined together to paint a 2.6 km boundary along the proposed Conservation Forest.  An area the community has flagged as facing a “high threat” from deforestation, and which they have requested support to “mark”, as the next step forward for the CFP.

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Representatives from the CFP and Msoro Chiefdom painted 2.6 km along a “high threat” boundary of the proposed Msoro Chiefdom Conservation Forest.

Since 2014, the CFP, being implemented by BCP, has engaged with local communities, community leaders, and Government, to identify areas of forest that will be conserved by the community using the REDD+ method. The fact that local communities are now ready and willing to begin visibly marking their proposed boundaries of the protected forest, is a major milestone.

 

This activity also provides an important reminder of the threat that these forests face, including pressure to clear land for agriculture use from a rapidly growing population. Msoro Chiefdom was selected as the first site to pilot visible demarcations. The community brought up concerns and warnings that certain areas of the proposed Conservation Forest are close to villages, flagging these areas as “high risk” for trees that could be cleared along the proposed boundary.

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A felled tree within view of one of the painted boundary trees. While not all areas of the proposed Msoro Chiefdom Conservation Forest face such high levels of threat, near to villages, there are strong pressures for deforestation to spread into areas of intact forest. The CFP aims to help reduce these pressures, by promoting sustainable land use planning, making critical investments into local livelihoods, helping to create incentives for conservation, and empowering members of the local community to protect and manage their forests.

Sure enough, the community members were right. During the painting activity the participants witnessed a “new” village (i.e. started within the past few months) along the boundary of the proposed protected forest area. Near to this village, the team saw numerous trees that had been felled, presumably to clear land for agriculture use. They also saw trees that had been “ring-barked,” a practice that slowly kills the tree. When a tree loses a strip of bark ringing it, nutrients can no longer freely flow through the tree. These trees had been deliberately ring-barked, to make them easier to knock down and clear land for agricultural use. In another case, the trees had been stripped of their bark to make traditional and unsustainable hives for beekeeping. (Note: BCP’s Honey Production Project, which has been launched in Rufunsa, and which we hope to expand into Eastern Province within the next few months, promotes the use of sustainably-produced hives that do not drive deforestation, and which can, in fact, help to create incentives for protecting forests, by allowing producers to gain income from honey produced in areas of intact forest).

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On the left, the visible (painted) boundary for the proposed Msoro Conservation Forest boundary are clear. On the right, a tree that had earlier “ring barked,” which will slowly die. The tree was likely ring-barked in order to be removed, to allow for the expansion of nearby agricultural fields.

The painting activity proceeded peacefully, and provided a great opportunity for Community Ambassadors to speak with residents of the local village, reminding them of the proposed Conservation Forest boundary, and encouraging them to participate in the sustainable livelihoods activities that will be implemented in their Chiefdom. Importantly, the initial boundary painting activity provided a learning opportunity for the participants to visibly mark the “most threatened” areas of their Conservation Forest boundaries, thereby ensuring the local community is aware of the boundaries, and to avoid conflicts based on misunderstandings, in the future. These initial boundary marking activities will be followed by a more formal boundary demarcation process, which will be undertaken in upcoming months in partnership with the Government of Zambia, including the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), the Government Department responsible for the management of Game Management Areas (GMAs) where the Conservation Forests are located.

As we came upon a nearby village, we noted numerous trees that had been cut down, to be used for poles for construction of new households. On the right, trees that have been stripped of their bark, in order to make hives for wild honey production.

As we came upon a nearby village, we noted numerous trees that had been cut down, to be used for poles for construction of new households. On the right, trees that have been stripped of their bark, in order to make hives for wild honey production.

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The painting team visited a new village that is visibly still under construction, as evidenced by the freshly cut poles for new structures that are not yet completed.

The Msoro Chiefdom Conservation Forest boundary painting team, earlier this week, comprised of representatives from BCP, as well as members of the local community, including local members of the Community Resources Board (CRB), Community Ambassadors, and the Community Mobilizer for the Chiefdom.

The Msoro Chiefdom Conservation Forest boundary painting team, earlier this week, comprised of representatives from BCP, as well as members of the local community, including local members of the Community Resources Board (CRB), Community Ambassadors, and the Community Mobilizer for the Chiefdom.

 

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+ Revenue Share Inspires Local Communities to Protect their Forests

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Over 100 people from Ndubulula gathered to witness the Revenue Share

The singing and dancing started at 10am in the morning as the Kumudzi Kwathu Drama Group called out to the Ndubulula Community to come and gather. This was a special day that the local community had been waiting for, as this was the day that the first round of community revenue-share from the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project (LZRP) would be delivered to local communities.

The delivery of community revenue-share from a conservation project is a significant event, especially in this area of Rufunsa District, where heavy unsustainable charcoal demand from the nearby capital city of Lusaka, combined with high levels of rural poverty, help to explain why deforestation has become a problem in recent years.  A baseline survey conducted in 2012 estimated that 88% of local households live in poverty, and 70% of households in the LZRP Project Zone relied on income from charcoal production as a major source of livelihood.

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Juraj Ujhazy, BCP’s Rufunsa District Site Coordinator, gave a short speech about the LZRP being implemented in the zone

One of the goals of REDD+ is improving community livelihoods.  Although the conserved forest of the LZRP is on private land, REDD+ offset revenue is being shared with neighboring local communities to spread benefits and to reduce pressure on Rufunsa Conservancy.  These ‘conservation fees’ are based on communities performing to help protect Rufunsa Conservancy.  In this first distribution, four Community Zones with a population of approximately 1,200 households, are receiving a total US$64,000.  Most of the funds will go to community development projects selected by the communities; these absorb 82% of the funds. The balance is shared amongst the Chief (6%), the Headmen (6%), and the Cooperatives (6%) for their help in ensuring illegal activities stay out of Rufunsa Conservancy.  This REDD+ revenue share amount is separate to an additional US$145,000 that was directly invested into the same communities in 2015 through support from the USAID-funded Community Forests Program (CFP) and Musika, a local partner organization.

This exciting occasion, filled with the color of chitenges and singing and dancing, included a dramatic performance about a family who became involved in the LZRP, who then benefitted from alternative livelihood projects. The play showed that by protecting the forest, they earned money through REDD+.

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Mr. William Phiri reading a speech on behalf of the Zambian Government

The Rufunsa District Commissioner was the Guest of Honor at the Ndubulula REDD+ Revenue
Sharing celebration, and stated: “We are confident that the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project being applied here will go a long way in complementing the Government’s effort to sustainably improve the livelihoods of people in this community and bring forth a brighter future.”  A ceremonial public Conservation Fee signing ceremony between the Government, Traditional Authorities, BCP and Cooperatives was also held.  Headman Lumwengo, a Village Leader, shared that: “No words can really capture the joyous feeling in my heart on this day. It started like one of those sweet stories when the REDD+ revenue share to the communities was announced but today it has come to pass. I would like to encourage every member of this community to join forces in protecting the REDD+ project area if we are to continue benefiting from it.”

On the same day, the community received a hammer mill purchased through the REDD+ Revenue Share to help them process maize.  Ndubulula also chose for boreholes to be drilled using their REDD+ Revenue Share as surface water becomes more scarce.  Hassan Sachedina, the Managing Director of BCP, added: “BCP’s mission is making African forests valuable to people.  This milestone today of Zambian communities directly benefitting from REDD+ revenues reflects that.  We are grateful to the Zambian Government for their support and to buyers of offsets from Lower Zambezi who helped to make this wonderful occasion happen.”

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Headman Lumwengo signing for his Revenue Share allocation

If you would like to contribute to improving community livelihoods in Zambia`s Rufunsa District, while also reducing your impact on the environment, you can – through the purchase of Forest Carbon Offsets from BCP`s Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project. Please visit Stand For Tress; or for corporate purchases please contact BCP`s Sales, Marketing & Communications Manager, Andrea McWilliam amcwilliam@biocarbonpartners.com.

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.

Lions and Carbon: How REDD+ is improving Biodiversity in Zambia

Lions are in rapid decline throughout much of Africa.  According to a recent report by Panthera and WILDAID, lion populations have plunged 43% in the last 20 years.  Today, 20,000 lions (Panthera leo) remain, occupying just 8% of their historical range.  National Geographic reports that the Luangwa to Lower Zambezi ‘complex’ is one of the last ten lion strongholds in Africa.  A ‘stronghold’ is where lions have a long-term chance of survival.  The USAID-funded Community Forests Program (CFP) which BCP implements overlays the same Luangwa to Lower Zambezi geographic area.  The Luangwa ecosystem has an estimated population of 574, and the Lower Zambezi ecosystem contains an estimated 40 lions.

Lion along the Chongwe River in Chiawa GMA. The Chongwe River forms a boundary to Rufunsa Conservancy.

Lion along the Chongwe River in Chiawa GMA. The Chongwe River forms a boundary to Rufunsa Conservancy.

Large herbivores and big cats are particularly affected by escalating human-caused threats such as poaching, exploitation and habitat loss. While there is tremendous pressure on these species to survive, hope does exist. REDD+ is emerging as a tool to support wildlife conservation through protecting forest habitat, wildlife that live within these forests, and community-incentive programs. The Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project (LZRP) implements a set of community livelihood and development activities in return for help protecting Rufunsa Conservancy.  The Conservancy adds 400 square kilometres of improved conservation area in a buffer zone directly adjacent to Lower Zambezi National Park, an area 10% the size of the Park.  This is important as buffer zones to parks can often be “sinks”, not sources of lion.

When the Project started in 2012, we were lucky to see a lone Reedbuck sprinting away from 200 meters.  Throughout 2013, wildlife sightings continued to be sparse; lion had not been reported in scout patrol records in the Conservancy for over a decade; wild dog (Lycaon pictus) had not been reported at all; the last buffalo (Syncerus caffer) had been reported around Mukamba gate about 8 years previously; and the few roan and sable left were sparse, stressed and poached.  All indications pointed to a major near wildlife collapse in the Conservancy.

1In addition to major community investments, the security system was overhauled in the Conservancy.  New scouts were hired, trained and equipped, new vehicles procured, a radio repeater system put in place, and investments made into aerial surveys and a dog detection unit conducted by CLZ and DNPW.  Bush meat poaching still is a problem but in short, a small pride of four lion appear to have found their way back to the Conservancy, and are feeling more and more comfortable and secure there.  Lion roars are heard from the Management Camp regularly, and occasionally lion are seen by the Camp.  These four lion represent around 10% of the Lower Zambezi ecosystem’s overall lion population.

Some may ask, why do four lions matter?  According to a new BioScience article entitled “Saving the World’s Terrestrial Megafauna”, 59% of the world’s largest carnivores and 60% of the world’s largest herbivores are classified as threatened with extinction.  These four lion are important because lions and their prey are in such trouble, and at the start of LZRP, it was rare to see any wildlife at all.  Spectacular sightings continue to increase in the Conservancy including of iconic species like Sable (Hippotragus niger) and Roan (Hippotragus equinus).  In April, 2016 wild dogs, a critically endangered predator, were spotted near the Rufunsa Conservancy entrance gate by DNPW staff for the first time in years.  Six buffalo also moved through an area where they had not been seen in eight years.

To see whether these sightings scientifically reflect if REDD+ helps conservation or not, we teamed up with Lion Landscapes, a Kenyan-based Conservation research organization, to develop a structured community-based wildlife monitoring program in the Conservancy.  Dr. Alayne Cotterill who heads up Lion Landscapes, recently visited the Conservancy and said: “There has been a noticeable difference in wildlife numbers since the REDD+ program started. During my initial visit we saw very little wildlife, and lions were discussed as something to aim for in the future. My last visit saw almost daily signs of lions using the area; I heard them calling 3 nights out of 6, and I even had lion tracks on my tracks walking back into camp one day! It is exciting to see the Conservancy becoming a sanctuary for both lions and their prey.”

 

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.

Introducing Lego and Bar the Newest Additions to Combating Wildlife Crime in the Lower Zambezi

Throughout Africa, illegal trans-national wildlife crime is on the rise.  To counter this growing threat, conservation agencies are introducing detection dog units across African protected areas.  This new ‘technology’ has shown effective results in deterring illegal wildlife crime.

Lower Zambezi National Park is one of Zambia’s most strategic protected areas.  It forms part of a trans-frontier conservation area shared with Zimbabwe and Mozambique, containing one of Zambia’s largest elephant populations.  The Lower Zambezi National Park, surrounding Game Management Areas and Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project’s Rufunsa Conservancy cover approximately 10,000 km2.  Threats to this million hectare area are clear and stark.  The proximity of Lower Zambezi to the capital city means that increasing population combined with illegal activity pressure like poaching, encroachment, and illegal charcoal making threaten both the habitat and wildlife populations.  Conservation Lower Zambezi (CLZ), in partnership with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) and BCP support regular foot patrols and aerial surveys, but this is a vast area, so the question is how to support foot patrols with more tools?

Handlers need to form a strong bond with the dogs

Handlers need to form a strong bond with the dogs

Until now, patrols have relied on the human nose, and physical searches with limited success.  Highly trained detection dogs on the other hand have the relentlessly keen ability to track and follow scents that have long gone cold to humans. These sophisticated canines have the capacity to locate a small piece of ivory or game meat in a densely packed 40ft shipping container with a capacity of 67 cubic metres; making border crossings and routine road block checks far more efficient and leading to an increase in arrests, recoveries, deterrence and information related to wildlife crime and trafficking.

Realizing the importance of a Dog Detection Unit as a tool in combating wildlife crime and poaching in the Lower Zambezi ecosystem, BCP partnered with CLZ to support DNPW in establishing a new dog unit. The establishment and operational costs for the unit are provided through the USAID-funded Community Forests Program (CFP) implemented by BCP (BioCarbon Partners). This sub grant of US$150,000.00 includes a new modified Toyota Land Cruiser that will be used by the dog unit for special operations, making it an entirely independent unit that can randomly deploy across the highways and disrupt wildlife criminal chains.  Funds from this same grant will pay the salaries of the four dog handlers for the first 2 years.

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Lego and Bar’s keen sense of smell help scouts track illegal activities in Lower Zambezi

Lego and Bar are two detection and tracking dogs. These German Shepherds were born and bred in Holland – and arrived in the Lower Zambezi on April 24 along with specialist dog trainers Jay Crafter and Mike Hensman from Invictus K9. Nine potential handlers were assessed over a week for specific qualities – physical fitness, memory, integrity, teamwork, leadership, ability to communicate and function under pressure, and importantly empathy toward animals and their ability build a relationship with Lego and Bar. Two primary handlers were chosen, Sheleni Phiri (a CLZ Village Scout since 2013) and CLZ’s, Peter Tembo, who started with CLZ in 2011 as kitchen/camp assistant and has since risen to Operations Assistant. The secondary handlers are Christopher Sheleni and Adamson Phiri, both formally employed under CLZ’s Village Scout unit. The four on them will have completed an intense and challenging 3 month training period by the end of July 2016, the first step to becoming expert dog handlers.

In addition to Lego and Bar, a 13-week old puppy, named Fury and selected from one of the local villages has been undergoing training to become a tracking and detection dog.  This relatively new and slightly experimental process, time will show if it’s possible to successfully train Fury to perform the same duties Lego and Bar will be fulfilling in the field. Dogs from local villages have a strong immunity against diseases and illness found in Zambia, and are better adapted toward coping with the heat in Zambia. A few weeks in and Fury is already picking up scents!

We are proud to be supporting DNPW and CLZ in the development of this important new tool to reduce wildlife crime in the Lower Zambezi ecosystem.  We look forward to sharing more information about the progress of the Dog Detection Unit in future as the program develops.

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The young puppy, Fury, learns commands

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.

A Brighter and Healthier Future Through Clean Water in Nsefu Chiefdom

For the rural communities living in Nsefu Chiefdom, a hot and dry valley in the Luangwa ecosystem, accessing clean and safe drinking water is a challenge.  Balancing plastic buckets on their heads, women will sometimes walk several kilometers to collect water, but the water they access may not always be safe, coming from open and exposed water sources.

A well in the last stages of rehabilitation and capping in Noah Village

A well in the last stages of rehabilitation and capping in Noah Village, Nsefu Chiefdom.

Through the USAID-funded Community Forests Program (CFP), BCP has begun partnering with local communities in Eastern Province to develop community-led REDD+ projects to protect forests and deliver key impacts based on community needs. The CFP is currently working in 8 Chiefdoms in Eastern Province to identify areas of intact forest for conservation, as well as to implement initial “Partnership Impact Projects,” which are designed to meet critical development needs of local communities. Partnership Impact Projects are intended to demonstrate initial goodwill and commitment from the project, in advance of signing forest protection agreements between communities and government concerning the protection of designated REDD+ areas.

In the case of Nsefu Chiefdom, the community determined that access to safe and clean drinking water is one of their top development needs, and they therefore requested for assistance with the delivery of clean water infrastructure as their initial Partnership Impact Projects through the CFP.

In Kabela Village the community is very happy to have a safe a clean source of water.

In Kabela Village, Nsefu Chiefdom, the community is very happy to have a safe and clean source of water.

On April 28th 2016, the first well was rehabilitated and capped in Noah Village.  Over the course of the next month, 4 more wells were capped and rehabilitated across the Nsefu Chiefdom, totaling an estimated value of 4,500 USD.  Community members, especially women who had to previously walk long distances, were excited about this development.

Jeliat Phiri from Noah Village remarked, “In the past we had to walk through five villages which took at least 30 minutes to access water from the nearest well. Now other villages are also coming here to our neighborhood to fetch water! Having a borehole in my home-village has helped me to have more time to take care of my child and other household chores. It is less stressful now that I even have time to relax!”

In Mwangazi Village, Estele Phiri explained, “My village did not have sufficient clean water before the boreholes, now both my village and other nearby villages will benefit hugely from this new water supply.’’

The Headman from Noah Village applauded this project with BCP, hailing it as an improvement to health and sanitation in the area, and an advancement for the women of the community who previously spent much of their day fetching water.

BCP will continue to support the Nsefu Chiefdom through additional Partnership Impact Projects that will bring about positive impacts on both the local community and the local forest.

Woman are already using the well being rehabilitated in Kamukuzi Village

A woman already using the well being rehabilitated in Kamukuzi Village.  This new rehabilitated well lets her access clean water and saves her time from having to walk long distances to access water.

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 Sells Forest Carbon Offsets to BP Target Neutral, Supporting African Communities

Elephants in Lower Zambezi

BioCarbon Group, BCP, and First Climate are pleased to announce a significant multi-year transaction of Forest Carbon Offsets (also known as Verified Carbon Reductions)  from a transformational community forestry project in Zambia. The purchase of the carbon offsets by BP Target Neutral will enable the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project to continue to implement and scale up work, improving the lives of farming communities in Zambia, in South-Eastern Africa.

The project engages more than 8,300 local community members to improve land-use practices and conserve forests and wildlife. It ensures the conservation of 39,000 hectares of valuable Miombo forest, creating a vital buffer for Lower Zambezi National Park, as part of a trans-frontier conservation area of global significance that is home to 23,000 elephants. The project area also provides valuable habitat for threatened species such as lions, ground hornbill and sable and roan antelopes. Threatened animal species are now returning to the forest, which is linked to a UNESCO World Heritage site.

_MG_0529Income levels in the project zone have historically been extremely low, and Zambia itself is a UN-designated Least Developed Country. To earn a living, local communities depend on charcoal production and in efficient farming practices, both of which put significant pressure on shrinking forest resources. The project directly tackles the poverty-driven causes of deforestation. It does so, for example, by improving agricultural practices, boosting yields while conserving soils and diversifying production. The project also supports the establishment of village-based agro-businesses, such as poultry and honey. Furthermore, communities are now successfully producing “eco-charcoal” from sustainably managed community forests. All these activities directly support local incomes. In addition, the project directly supports local schools and healthcare and improves access to drinking water. Since inception, the project has provided approximately 50% of all clean drinking water supplies across the entire project community zone, and this figure continues to grow.

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

“We have worked hard to very actively engage communities in designing alternatives to land-use practices that drive deforestation,” explains Dr Hassan Sachedina, Managing Director of BCP. “The success of our intensive and focused community approach is evidenced through triple Gold validation under the Climate Community and Biodiversity Alliance Standard; the first project in Africa to achieve this level of recognition.”

P1060661Dr Jochen Gassner, Director of First Climate, adds: “As a provider of climate neutral services, we have been working together with BP Target Neutral for many years now. It has always been a great pleasure to support our partner’s environmental, socio-economic and social commitment all around the world with high-quality and multi-benefit projects such as the Lower Zambezi Community Forestry Project.”

Further details about this project can be found on the VCS website

BioCarbon Group

BioCarbon Group Pte Ltd is a leading international investor in land based carbon mitigation activities that offer transformational environmental and development benefits. With projects located in Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America, BioCarbon works with experienced local project partners. Its shareholders are Global Forest Partners LP, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and Macquarie Bank. www.biocarbongroup.com

BCP

BioCarbon Partners (BCP) is a leading African-based and majority African citizen owned forest carbon social enterprise. BCP’s mission is to make African forests valuable to people. BCP’s focuses on dry-land forest conservation projects in globally significant biodiversity landscapes in Africa. BCP combines an entrepreneurial approach with a core philosophy of caring for people and environments to catalyze landscape-scale, community-based market driven solutions to deforestation. www.biocarbonpartners.com

First Climate

For over 15 years, first Climate has advised companies, governments and international organizations on various aspects of their climate protection and water management strategies. With more than 500 large- and medium-sized clients to date, First Climate counts as one of the leading providers of climate protection, green energy and water management services worldwide. www.firstclimate-climateneutral.com

For information please contact:

Jason Patrick, BioCarbon Group, Email: jpatrick@biocarbongroup.com

Hassan Sachedina, BCP, Email: hassan@biocarbonpartners.com

Jochen Gassner, First Climate, Email: jochen.gassner@firstclimate.com

To read the press statement please download PDF here.

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

Mwanya Chiefdom Sails Toward its Future

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The Chief Representative giving a speech

Imagine that you live in a small remote village in Zambia.  For four months every year the river swells with water from the rains further north.  You cannot access the other side to go to school, or visit the clinic when you’re sick, without the risk of being attacked by crocodiles who prowl the water.

 

This is a very real situation for the villages in the Mwanya Chiefdom. Every year from December to April, the Lukusuzi River, a subsidiary of the Luangwa River, rises, breaking the connection that local villages have to education and healthcare. When the waters rise and the footpath across become inaccessible, only an adventurous few are willing to venture across the water. Those who do cross the river during flood, build makeshift rafts or swim, but risk getting attacked by crocodiles.

 

For a long time, Mwanya Chiefdom has needed a boat to cross the river when it floods.  

 

On May 18th, BCP delivered a boat to Mwanya Chiefdom. The boat — “Mwase Wa Minga,” named for the first Chief of Mwanya Chiefdom — is one of three Partnership Projects that BCP is funding in Mwanya Chiefdom, under the USAID-funded Community Forests Program (CFP). The boat was handed over to the community during a public ceremony that was officiated by the Lundazi District Commissioner, and which was attended by numerous government representatives, as well as representatives from BCP and USAID. Two hundred people were in attendance, including many local school children, who were celebrating the fact that they would no longer have to cross the river by foot when it floods, or miss classes due to high waters.

 

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The District Commissioner, and a representative from USAID and BCP cutting the ribbon

For miles around the community came and gathered at  the banks of the river, where the boat launch was held. The event started off with the national anthem, followed by singing and dancing, and speeches given by BCP, the Chief Representative, and the District Commissioner. During her speech, the District Commissioner praised the partnership that has formed between Mwayna community, BCP, and the government, to deliver community needs and to promote local natural resource conservation, under the USAID-funded CFP. As she said: “BCP under the CFP has engaged the government, traditional authority, and the entire community. This has made them very visible in the district and more specifically it’s importance to Mwanya Chiefdom. This incentive we are witnessing today must be commended. The CFP has procured a boat to facilitate the crossing of the Lukusuzi River. […] I am aware that we have recorded a number of of fatalities and incidents at the Lukusuzi crossing point and a boat needs to be used during the rainy season.  My office is aware that this is an important crossing point because it’s the only route out of Mwanya during the rainy season. I’m very pleased and glad to see this boat […] Mwanya Chiefdom has a lot of needs and it is my hope that the CFP, with funding from USAID, will go a long way toward improving the community once an agreement has been signed by the community, government, and BCP to protect the forest.”

 

Along with the speeches, students from the local school performed a play about a young boy trying to get to school and a young pregnant woman who was unable to reach a clinic.  While the play elicited laughter from the crowd, it still provided a reminder of what has, up to now, been a very real concern and reality for local communities who are regularly isolated by the river. In attendance at the event, Mrs. Abbia Daka, the acting deputy teacher at Mwanya School, stood beaming and surrounded by her students. Praising the launch of the boat, she said: “In March there was just a recent case of an attack. Children were afraid to cross and they stopped their education. Now this boat will take them to the other side so they can attend and get an education from the fifth through twelfth grade.’’   

 

IMG_2450 retouchThanks to this boat, during the next rainy season, villagers in Mwanya will be able to safely cross the Lukusuzi, children will be able to go to school and the sick will be able to access the clinic.

 

The USAID-funded Community Forests Program (CFP) is now working in Mwanya Chiefdom as well as 8 other Chiefdoms in Eastern Province to develop community-led REDD+ projects, by partnering with local villages to protect intact forest, and delivering impacts based on community needs. Partnership Projects are an initial step of demonstrating goodwill and commitment from the project, in advance of signing forest protection agreements between communities and government. In Mwanya Chiefdom, other partnership projects that are being delivered by BCP under the CFP include delivery of furniture to Yakobe Clinic and assistance with the construction of a maternity shelter for Mkasanga Clinic. These projects are estimated to be completed in upcoming months, through BCP support and community and government facilitation.

 

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.