Misuku Hills Biodiversity conservation
Implemented by Action for Environmental Sustainability (AFES) with support from CEPF, Misuku hills improved livelihood and biodiversity conservation project will run from July 2014 to March 2017.
The project aims to raise awareness of the value and importance of the area’s biodiversity in the surrounding communities.
It focuses on building the capacities of rural impoverished communities to sustainably harvest and sell forest products from customary land and forest reserves; the incentives will also be promoted through community capacity building on Village Savings and loan (Village Banks) which use the methodology that does not provide financial support but rather offer training for group of members (that will be established in this project) interested in the creation and operation of savings and loan associations.
The purpose is to enable communities learn to save the little they have and be able to accumulate enough money for their needs including money for venturing into various micro enterprises purposefully emphasizing the development of alternatives to biological resource use that threatens the massif’s biodiversity.
The project also aims to contribute and help to fast track the finalization of a management plan (and co management agreements) which is currently still under modification.
1. Awareness creation on the need and importance of Natural resources management and biodiversity conservation of Wilindi, Matipa and mughesse forest reserves. The awareness activities have been targeting 47 communities around the forest reserves.
2. Promotion of Non forest based activities by introducing a Village savings and loans-VSL (Village Bank)-The introduction of the village savings and loan system intends to encourage non forest based economic activities and promote the conservation of Wilindi, Matipa and mughese forest reserve.
3. Facilitate platforms to discuss with stakeholders (department of forest, local management board, Block committees, Natural resources management committees, Misuku bee keepers Association and others) to discuss debate and complete the forest management plan.
4. Capacity building on best agricultural practices with emphasis on conservation agriculture to increase food security and reduce encroachment in the forest reserves.
Since the project was implemented in July 2014, the following are some of achievements:
1. NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT AND BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION AWARENESS.
36 days of awareness campaigns around the Wlindi-Matipa and Mughese forest reserves has been conducted and 47 villages educated in Natural resources management and biodiversity conservation.
The project is not a new model but rather its building on the successes and lessons learnt from work that has previously been implemented around the Mughese, wilindi and Matipa forestry reserves.
IMPACT COMMUNITIES FOR THE AWARENESS ACTIVITIES
47 communities of Traditional Authority Mwenemisusku in misuku Hills which are close to Wilindi, Matipa and mughese forest reserves and whose livelihood is very much dependent to the forest reserves covering around 522 hectors inside the forest reserve and 622 hectors of customary land outside the forest reserve were targeted in the awareness campaign.
2. VILLAGE SAVING AND LOAN SYSTEM
Another major achievement the Improved livelihood and biodiversity conservation project is the Promotion of Non forest based Village savings and loans-VSL (Village Bank)- which has eventually increase saving culture, provide an opportunity for business loans, entrepreneurship and has created jobs to more than 500 people where 60 percent are women.
A village savings and loans feasibility study identified 41 communities who are close to Wilindi, Matipa and mughesse forest reverse and whose lives highly depend on the forest resources and the forest areas are at risk of high degradation.
These targeted communities’ covers around 480 hectors of forest areas inside the reserve and 533 hectors of customary land outside the forest reserve.
20 groups of Village savings and loan system have been established with an average number of 25 memberships (subject to increase every month) which includes members of the Wilindi, matipa and mughese management board, members of the forest block committees, Village Natural Resources Management committees, Village headmen, Men and Women of Misuku Hills. Since the establishment of the Village savings and loan system in January 2015, each group has saved about MWK 110,000 equivalent to US$ 250.
Each Village savings and loan system has a constitution which clearly states that 10% of the interest that the group makes at the end date (when they sharing the money at the end of each year) will be devoted for environmental conservation of wilindi Matipa and Mughese forest reserve.
The rules and regulations for each of the Village saving and loans (VSL) group that has been introduced by this project require that individual group members should observe certain behaviors, group members are discouraged to get involved in activities that degrade the wilindi-matipa and mughese forestry reserve (eg. they promise not to degrade the forest, they promise to guard the forest, they promise to restore the forest).
The 500 plus people who are famers around Wilindi, matipa and Mughese forest reserve and are members of the Village saving and loan system established by this project have been trained in tree nursery operation which has so far realized approximately 50,000 new indigenous and exotic trees.
Clean Develoment Mechnism (CDM) /Carbon Project
Global warming is a problem caused by the increased release of CO2. Emission of CO2 must be reduced. This is primarily the responsibility of the rich countries, but it is more cost effective to reduce CO2 emission in poor countries like Malawi.
A system has therefore been put in place where rich countries will pay for CO2 emission reduction in poor countries such as Malawi. This is called the Clean Development Mechanism, or CDM.
Action for Environmental Sustainability (AfES) therefore is one of an organisation that has embarked in implementation of the CDM projects and is identifying partners who can purchase the carbon credits from such project in Malawi.All international partners that have been approved by UNFCCC for a Project of Activities (PoAs) program are encouraged to contact us and we will be delighted to create a partnership.
Our CDM projects includes but are not limited to the following;
PROMOTING THE USE OF BIO GAS FOR COOKING
Bio-gas has benefited communities in Malawi in different ways, the most notable benefits includes and are not limited to the following ; it uses up waste materials found in landfills, dump sites and farms across the country, provide good composite manual for agriculture and thus, improving nutrition and food security in most communities, reduces green house effect by using the gasses produced in landfills and it is non polluting to the environment because the production of bio-gas does not require oxygen.
Bio-gas dig-ester which uses animal waste produces good manure that is used to improve agriculture productivity
Bio-gas energy using a locally modified cook-stove with a single burner ( use of puxin bio-gas stoves has also been promoted in our projects and encouraged than the local modified stoves which are less efficient)
ETHANOL AND METHANOL COOKING STOVES
Alcohol burning stoves based on ethanol and methanol can be used for cooking, water heating and heating of buildings. The technology can be applied in households, institutions (e.g. schools). Ethanol is produced from sugar plants or other sources of biomass. An advantage of the technologies is that ethanol burning does not have the air pollution problems of simple biomass burning for cooking purposes. As ethanol provides a higher heat flux with no soot or smoke, cooking and hot water production can take place faster and pollution free. The greenhouse gas emission reduction contribution from ethanol and methanol cook stoves good that other fuels like paraffin.
Realizing the Eco-advantages with ethanol and methanol cook-stoves Action for Environmental Sustainability has been promoting it and assessing better ways on how it can be sustained in Malawi.
One of the most biggest challenge in Malawi is access to clean water, this problem has compromised the health of many people especially affecting those in rural areas and highly populated areas of cities.
Giving clean water to these people is a permanent solutions to many water, sanitation and hygiene related problems.
Water, sanitation and hygiene projects in communities have led to a decline in the out break of highly contagious diseases like Cholera and improved the health of the biggest number of people especially the youths who makes the highest population composition of Malawi.
Income Generating Project
AfES in partnership with the Embassy of the United States has engaged in implementing an income generating project for Mpangama Women Association in Makanjira Mangochi district. The project will train the women of Mpangama in puff making, p-nut batter making and entrepreneurship.
Her Excellency Virginia Pulmer the USA Ambassador to Malawi and our Executive Director Mr. Daniel Mwakameka signing the project grant agreement in Lilongwe on 18th August 2015.
The project is expected to create jobs and improve the income security of more than 2000 women of Mpangama community.
Kumponda Community WASH Project
Action for Environmental Sustainability (AFES) in partnership with Vibrant Village Foundation has partnerd with Group Village Headman Kumponda in Traditional Authority (TA) Kapeni in Blantyre District to embark on promoting water,sanitation and hygiene in 4 sub-communities of Kamwendo,Mzwanya, Chiwalo/Maluwa and Kumponda.
The project will maintain 4 mal-functioning water pumps, train 18 local mechanics and establish a sanitation and hygiene promotion group that will work as ambassadors in the community.
Misuku Hills Improved livelihood and Biodiveristy Conservation Project
Action for Environment Sustainability (AFES) in partnership with Misuku Bee Keepers Association and with funding from CEPF is working on conservation of Misuku Hills since July 2014.
In collaboration with the deapartment of forest, the project has trained 7 Village Forest Areas (VFAs) namely Lupalang’ombe Kapiyira, Mwenga, Nangalamu, Chipala, Arthur and Chiwi which are currently . The project has also strengthened the capacity of 7 Village Natural Resources Management Committees (VNRMCs) and planted about 50,000 indidginious and exotic trees during the tree planting season in 2015. This initiative has impacted a total land of about 1144 hectors inside and out side the forest reserve.
Action for Environmental Sustainability (AfES) and Misuku Beekeepers Association (MBA) is raising awareness of the need for conservation among community members in and around the Wlindi-Matip and Mughese forest reserves in Malawi.
Traditional dances and songs used in awareness event
Village savings and Loans (VSL)
AfES & MBA have also established a village savings and loan (VSL)/Community Bank system to support the sustainable use of natural resources; 20 VSL groups with more than 350 community members have been established in 41 communities around the reserve.
Women of a village savings and loan bank posing for a photo