Rural communities in Zambia depend on forests for their livelihoods, yet poverty drives deforestation.
BCP, through the USAID-funded Community Forests Program, partners with these rural communities to find ways to reduce poverty. Together, we develop and invest in projects driven by community needs, bringing a positive impact to both rural villages and forests.
Many people in rural Zambia are farmers practicing traditional “slash and burn” farming, which contributes to deforestation. Together with our partners, we train these farmers in sustainable Conservation Agriculture methods. These techniques help restore poor soil, yield more produce and improve a family’s food security while reducing the amount of land cleared for agriculture. We’ve partnered with Zambia’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and other local organizations to create markets for farmers’ agriculture goods.
IMPACT: 750+ farmers trained in Conservation Agriculture
Community Development Projects for Health and Sanitation
We work with communities to increase access to healthcare and sanitation through investment in infrastructure. This includes everything from boreholes to clinics, and even a boat.
IMPACT: 67% of all the fresh water boreholes in communities involved in the Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project are provided through BCP
Sustainable Income and Market Creation
Rural communities can earn an income while protecting their forests. We work with communities to create enterprises based on sustainable products like honey. In 2016, we partnered with Bee Sweet to build markets by training communities on beekeeping.
IMPACT: 7,177 beehives distributed to community members since 2016
Opportunities for formal employment are rare in the rural areas where we work. Which is why we provide opportunities and employ people to protect their environment. We hire and train people locally for our Community Engagement Conservation, Forest Monitoring, and Community Scout Team, as well as operational support positions.
IMPACT: 90 people hired from the local community and employed by BCP whose salaries support 8,100 people
Community Development through Infrastructure
We support the development of infrastructure projects to benefit local communities. This includes clinics and rural health centers, to teacher’s houses and classrooms, to a gate for protecting a road to a national park, a tree nursery growing tree seedlings used in Conservation Farming, and even a boat to help communities cross a river during the rainy season.
IMPACT: $254,700 invested into infrastructure development
Income from Forest Protection
Conservation Fees (known as Revenue Share once the project is verified) are performance-based payments given to communities that have identified and are committed to protecting areas of forest. Through our partnership with the Forestry Department and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife these payments benefit the whole community. Projects are chosen through an open, transparent and participatory process and have included boreholes and even a hammermill.
IMPACT: $150,000 delivered through Conservation Fees for community development from forest protection in 2017
Sustainable Eco-Charcoal™ Project
The demand for charcoal is a major cause of deforestation in Zambia. Through our Eco-Charcoal™ Project we train people on sustainable tree harvesting and the use of high-efficiency kilns to produce charcoal. This encourages the use of sustainable methods and in return, enables families to earn an income.