Biodiversity, Environmental Protection and Economic Development of the District of Mongu, Zambia

Project location: ZAMBIA, Mongu
Project start date: October 2012 - Project end date: October 2015
Project number: 2012-022
Beneficiary: Celim


Compared to neighbouring countries, Zambia can be defined as a natural resources rich country, loaded with land, water and an impressive diversification of biological species. Nonetheless, for decades after independence, Zambia's economic situation remained fragile while poverty levels reached alarming levels. The growth performance of Zambia in the 1990s which preceded the return to national planning was dismal. This has, however, seen a turn around with positive growth of up to 6% being experienced since the early 2000s. Poverty level nonetheless remains high at 76.8% in rural areas and 26.7% in urban areas . The lack of equity, poor social service delivery and poor governance records remain issues of great concern.
The environment sector, defined as the "management of environmental resources that provide goods and services to people; environmental hazards and ecological processes that steer these" as well hasn't contributed to any performing economic growth, instead being continuously exploited with no long term view or interest of the consequences from the Sixties on and the main output has been massive deforestation. In recent years the issue has received the interest of the political sector, nonetheless deforestation is increasing for the lack of educative, structural and organisational interventions and the loss of biological diversity is having a deep impact on local population livelihood, now severely at stake. As the Sixth National Development plan states: "Environmental sustainability is the only goal we haven't even approached".

Western Province and the district of Mongu is considered one of the poorest region of Zambia, where the majority of the population, composed of farmers and loggers, lives under the poverty line.
Environmental degradation: the high demand in wood and the big need of charcoal for domestic and industrial use has long shaped the wood sector in Zambia. If in fact the timber market has undergone a decade of regulations and practice frame implementation, the provision of energy for industrial and household consumption has not benefitted from a similar process. Woodfuel accounts for about 70% of total energy consumption, with no alternative on the energy provision market, composed by petroleum, coal and electricity.
Chances for a renewable energy source market are high, such as solar and biodiesel out of jatropha and sugar cane, but the lack of capillary control, does not allow the state to provide the necessary input to the development of such an interesting window. As a consequence of such a high demand, logging sector has expanded almost limitlessly.
The woodcutting activity has long been practiced illegally and unregulated: the majority of loggers lacks of specific skills or processing machineries and the legal framework doesn't provide support. The logging industry is regulated by the provision of specific licenses, issued by the Forestry Department of the Ministry of Tourism Environment and Natural Resources. In order to exploit the forest a license or a specific tax has to be purchased or paid. The inability for loggers to pay, forces them into illegality; in addition the market has increasingly been monopolized by big companies, who abuse the privileges they have due to poor supervision by the Forestry Department.
Under these circumstances deforestation proceeded unprevented, leading to a nowadays situation of serious environmental risk, with no regeneration practices in place and the complete absence of any long term environmental impact strategy. As a consequence of the massive deforestation loggers have been forced to work scattered and dispersed in harsh and far away areas, thus the transport of wood becoming costly, time and energy consuming. The consequent income decrease has been crushing.
In Western Province of Zambia the malnutrition, as measured by the stunting rate, reaches the 39.6% of children under 5 years, quantifiable in 36,000 children, according to 2006 estimations.
In Mongu District, the exploitation of the environment is commonly practiced and widespread. Due to the massive economic and food insecurity there are no designed regeneration strategies in place and the general pattern is to exploit as much as possible before shifting to another area. Where uncontrolled exploitation of environmental resources has caused a general natural poverty, communities are found to be the cause and the victim of such a situation, unable anymore to rely onto all those extra activities such as cutting firewood, berries and fruit collecting.
These practices spread themselves in vicious cycle of shortage and over-exploitation, fuelled by low literacy skills and lack of entrepreneurial possibilities.

The overall objective of this project, which received a grant from the Nando Peretti Foundation, is to contribute in three years to reduce the socio-economic degradation that plagues the Western province and in particular the district of Mongu, so as to put the basis for a solid development, lasting and sustainable over time.

Specific Objectives
- Environmental biodiversity restoration and protection in 39,819 hectares of land in the district of Mongu with benefits for 20,000 residents of the same district;
- Improvement of the economic and food security conditions for 20,000 residents in the district of Mongu;
- Increase of internal economic security for about 2,500 families residing in the district of Mongu.

Expected Results And Planned Activities
The activities will be implemented together with different actors with whom CeLIM has already established strong relationships. The local partner, the Diocese of Mongu Development Centre (DMDC) for the stove, briquettes and horticulture activities, The State and traditional authorities, namely the Forest Department and the Barotse Royal Establishment together with the local chiefs, for the community sensitisation on environmental protection and for forest and natural resources conservation.

1.1 Reduction and control of environment degradation on 39.319 hectares of forest in the district of  Mongu with benefits for 5.000 residents in the identified area

1.1.1                     Dissemination of 206 improved stoves including 200 families residing in the district of Mongu and 6 schools:  Distribution of 206 Pulumusa stoves;  Organization of 3 awareness campaigns, 1 per year, on advantages in using improved cooking stoves (Zengo);  Organization of 3 public demonstrations at DMDC/CeLIM office on the usage of improved cooking stoves and briquettes addressed to the population and the business sector;  Monitoring.

1.1.2                  Production of 10 tons of briquettes per month:  Purchasing of 1 briquetting machine and 1 oven;  Training course on briquettes production for 13 people;  Monthly gathering of rice husk (5 tons) from DMDC and saw dust (5 tons) from the sawmill Sido;  Packaging and commercialization of the briquettes;  Follow up on production.

1.1.3                  Reforestation: planting of 45.000 units in 5 communities in the Mongu district:  Realization of 5 nurseries with 3.000 plants each, dislocated in 5 villages in the Mongu district;  Supplying of 5 equipment kits needed by 5 communities - nursery and transplant  equipment: shovels, watering cans, barrows, irrigation hoses;  Organization of 5 trainings every year;  Transport and planting after 4 months from the sowing;  Monitoring.

1.1.4                  Realization of 1 forest census in the Western Province and 1 forest inventory in  Mufundu, Swe and Soyaele Forest:  Gathering of data for census purpose on 122 forest  of Mongu district;  Set up of a GIS database;  Data collection for inventory purpose on Mufunda, Swe and Soyale forests;  Realization of questionnaires in Lozi and English for communities adjacent to the forests;  Distribution of questionnaires to the communities, to Barotse Royal Establishment and to the Forestry Department.

1.1.5                   Implementation of early burning practices on 39.319 hectares  Procurement of materials for the realization of fire precaution measures (CeLIM);  Put in place of fire-breaks measures (CeLIM - Forestry Department);  Monitoring.

1.1.6                  Establishment of a permanent work table between the Forestry Department and members of the Barotse Royal Establishment and achievement of products certification:  Organization of 6 council meetings, 2 per year;  6 informative sessions and workshops on forest management, 2 per year;  Implementation of techniques for the improvement of the monitoring system;  Networking through the work table;  Certification application;  Adjustment of management practices and processing of required paramenters.

2.1     Achievement of a guaranteed varied diet for 5.000 people in the 10 selected communities in the Mongu district

2.1.1           Realization of 30 organic gardens in the 10 selected communities:        Realization of 3 training courses, 1 per year, on composting techniques and organic gardening for 30 households;        Distribution of 250 Kg of vegetable improved varieties of seeds to the targeted households;        Commercialization of surplus products;        Monitoring.

2.1.2           Realization of 1 broad wide awareness campaign on diet diversification in collaboration with 6 schools and 3 clinics:        Purchase of 18 advert spaces on Radio Liseli;        Production of 130 posters to be distributed in 6 schools and 3 clinics;        Specific courses in all the 6 schools, 1 each;        Organization of festival with prizes, 1 each school;        Radio debates.

3.1      Support to income generating activities for 5 communities in the Mongu district

3.1.1           Soap production        Set up of 3 soap labs, including stocking rooms;        Purchasing of equipment such as caustic soda, Yenga press and soap molds;        Set up of 5 soap garden for the cultivation of aromatic plants for making soap;        Training on soap making;        Training on soap garden management, pruning systems and aromatic plants management;        Training on money management, marketing and commercialization;        Training on leadership and inner conflict management;        Product marketing;        Monitoring.

The total number of persons directly involved in the activities of the project are 444:
- 200 women for the dissemination of the stoves and briquettes;
- 9 people as schools referent for stoves, briquettes and nutrition education activities;
- 50 employees to nurseries;
- 12 people responsible for the inventory;
- 24 people involved in fire fighting measures ;
- 10 people involved in the control and certification;
- 30 women for the work in the gardens;
- 6 reference persons from clinics of for nutrition education activities;
- 103 women for soap activity.

The communities in which these people are members are 10, so located:
-5 Near Mongu: Mawawa, Mukango, Kataba, Namushakende, Limulunga. In these villages, the project aims to manage the activities developed by relying on the existing associations. These, in fact, have already received support from DMDC and have proved to be capable and willing. They consist of about 100 members. Many of the activities will therefore be carried out directly with them while others will be implemented with their support and with some of their members.

-5 Near the forests identified by the project, around which the communities they live: they are Likonge Forest, Mufundu Forest, Swe Forest and Soyaele Forest, for a total extension of 39,319 hectares. The Likonge Forest has already been the subject of attention from the DMDC and CeLIM and together they conducted an inventory that was instrumental in the preparation of the intervention strategy, part of this project. The other three forests are adjacent to the Likonge forest and crucial to expand the involvement of environmental resources and communities and make it truly effective. Neighboring communities to the forests in question, with which the Diocese has been working are: Ndanda East, West Ndanda, Malala, Loma Shangwe, Mulumba and Nando. Among these 5 will be chosen according to criteria of need and skills of the population.

These are the aims of this project:

1. Result 1: Restore and increase of the biodiversity of 39,319 hectares of forest
- Improved cooking stoves and briquettes
- Reforestation (planting-census-controlled fire)
2. Result 2: Achievement of a varied diet, guaranteed for 5,000 people in 10 selected communities
3. Result 3: Realisation of income generating activities in 5 communities in the district of Mongu.

Direct Beneficiaries:
The number of people who will directly benefit from project activities and / or people directly affected by the awareness campaigns will reach the number of 8,298 (60% women and 40% men):
- 1,200 families (average of 6 members per family) of the women involved in the stoves and briquettes activity;
- 2,800 students of the schools involved with stoves and briquettes and in educational activities;
- 5 community of 2,500 people for reforestation;
- 180 women involved in family gardens;
- 1,000 patients of the clinics for educational activities;
- 618 families of women involved in the soap making.

Indirect Beneficiaries
All members of the community involved in the project implementation, will indirectly enjoy of preserved forests, clean energy, an expanded market and healthy food including, belonging both to the villages and to the town of Mongu:
- community members who are 5000 people,
- the central part of the town of Mongu, which are about 15,000 inhabitants.
A total of 20,000 indirect beneficiaries will be reached.

CeLIM has been involved in international cooperation and development since 1954. CeLIM has been working in Zambia for 20 years, since Eighties, and its presence is stable and deep-rooted. During decades, the number of interventions has increased. Thanks to the implementation of a multilevel strategy and several projects CeLIM gained a full knowledge of the Country, experience in different sectors and achieved positive results in terms of improvement of life conditions of the population. CeLIM's Country strategy deals with different issues such as agriculture development, health, education, and micro finance, in order to trigger off a sustainable process of development.
The newly designed project is part of a bigger and longer process of cooperation and collaboration CeLIM has undertaken in Western Province of Zambia with local stakeholders and communities.
This project in fact will allow the continuation of the activities that CeLIM has been implementing in a three-year project called ‘Poverty alleviation through the sustainable use and management of forest resources'. In particular, community sensitization on environmental issues, training on best farming practices and conservation agriculture to farmers' associations, collection of oily seeds from jatropha, castor and production of biodiesel and soap, all activities that are already taking place.

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