Changemaker: Bri’An Mphande
Country of Implementation: Zambia
In rural parts of Chipata district of Eastern province, Zambia, charcoal production is one of the major sources of income for most settlers in the rural areas. The production of charcoal is driven by two main aspects: the low amounts of electrical energy that is produced for consumption by the country's general population; as well as the high costs of electricity for the larger part of the population. As such, most rural communities have resorted to 'charcoal burning' as a means of financial obtaining support.
However, the production of charcoal in a bid to meet the energy demands of the general population has massively contributed to the deforestation of natural woodlands, especially in the Eastern province of Zambia. This has also contributed to changes in climatic conditions in most parts of the country.
Therefore, to curb the challenges of massive deforestation of forests/woodlands, the need for a cheaper energy source, as well as the need for reliable sources of income for the rural settlers would be addressed, BriAn Mphande in collaboration with others has designed this project to tackle all three (3) challenges. The project shall commence with an engagement and awareness workshop that shall be opened to Traditional Chiefs, Headmen, local farmers, and charcoal burners. The workshop shall be focused on raising awareness on the need for integrated sustainable practices in the management and protection of natural resources - forests in particular.
The next step shall be to identify areas that could be earmarked for re-afforestation and protection from any activity that would lead to deforestation. This shall be done through the collaboration of the traditional leaders and natural resource management experts. In addition, the leaders shall with the involvement of the charcoal burners decide where a depository and production center should be established for the charcoal burners.
On the other hand, the farmers shall be engaged so as to establish how they could participate in the project through the provision of agricultural waste material to charcoal burners.
Key to this project IS the training of charcoal burners in the making of charcoal briquets from agricultural waste products and other resources, with the exception of wood from forests. This shall also be inclusive of how they could conserve the forests to be re-afforested.
To ensure that the project shall be able to sustain itself, a final workshop shall be held to establish a comprehensive system for the management of the project by the local community in a sustainable manner. This shall also cater to agreements on the monitoring and evaluation of the project by the involved stakeholders.