Promoting reforestation and increasing household incomes
A report by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) indicates that Zambia loses about 300,000 ha of forest cover per year. An increased demand for wood fuel for domestic use is one of the major causes of this. In addition, communities tend to destroy primary forests to improve food production when harvests are low as a result of lack of agriculture inputs and reduced soil fertility. Poor forest management is also a contributing factor.
The Zambia programme of Action Africa Help International (AAH-I) is addressing this problem by promoting reforestation in Kawambwa district in Luapula province. The project, Sustaining Environment and Natural Resources in Kawambwa (SENARK) is implemented by AAH Zambia with funding support from the Civil Society Environmental Fund. The goal of the project is to minimize pressure on forest cover and natural resources, and to increase household incomes. To this end, the use of an energy-saving stove was introduced in Kawambwa, and 124 community Conservation Group members trained on how to produce moveable and static energy saving-stoves that consume relatively less charcoal than the traditional stove.
48 year-old Queen Kunda from Senami village of Ntembo area in Mushota’s chiefdom is one of the people that benefitted from this initiative. Queen is now able to cook for her family of 8 using a smaller amount of charcoal. As a result she is now able to save 90 Kwacha from the amount she would spend on charcoal monthly. From the savings Queen is able to buy basic household necessities such as bathing soap, salt, cooking oil and washing power.
“My husband earns a monthly income of 300 Kwacha from selling vegetables, groundnuts and maize cobs. Imagine I would spend 40 % of that on charcoal! This left us with little to use on other household needs. But since the training by AAH Zambia, I have been able to save the family’s income by using these stoves. I am encouraging my neighbours to follow my example. This will not only help them to manage the family income, but it will reduce the pressure on the forest,” she says. Queen’s household income security has increased as she saves money and these an impact on natural resourced as there is less pressure on the forestry.