& CHANGU CHANGU MOTO
"PLANTING TOMORROW TODAY"
Why are we planting trees
At the current rate of deforestation, there won't be any trees left in Malawi by 2079. The rapid deforestation is caused by clearing land for tobacco, farming, livestock, charcoal making, building, brick making and cooking. The impact is clear to see, with crops failing due to soil infertility, flooding, landslides, loss of habitat and lack of timber! Forests have the ability to stabilise the climate, reduce flood risks, cool the ground level temperatures, prevent soil erosion restore biodiversity and improve crop yields.
What the project involves
We work with local government and traditional authorities to protect existing woodland and establish new tree planting locations.
Training is then provided as to how to plant trees, which species are suitable and how to nurture them. We facilitate communities to create and enact bylaws, to protect existing and newly planted forests.
Working with key stakeholders, committees, we facilitate and support local Tree Committees to establish, rear and plant native seedlings.
Monitoring our progress
Our vision is to reduce deforestation and bring back nature in protected forests, prisons and schools. Planting trees is relatively easy, but only the very start of the journey. Our trees are not just planted and then forgotten. We continue to work with the recipients to inform, nurture and protect trees. We teach about the calendar of tree care, the importance of firebreaks and facilitate the development of bylaws to protect trees. Drone footage is uploaded to the tree database, providing visible verification of the progress. We love to encourage communities by showing them ‘before and after’ examples (in Malawi trees can grow fast!), change can happen quickly when there is a shared vision.
Where do we plant
We plant in schools to mark boundaries and provide a cooler and more conducive learning environment.
In shared community forests, to reduce soil erosion, increase biodiversity, prevent landslides and create shade.
Along waterways, to reduce river bank erosion and flooding.
In family units we plant small scale woodlots as a way to provide a sustainable food source, and supply of sustainable firewood and timber.
In prisons, to create a diverse forest for timber and agroforestry purposes; this prevents the need to buy wood, whilst increasing crop yields.
Equipping and supporting local communities is essential in all that we do. Planting trees by ourselves would not only be expensive and labour intensive, but would also remove responsibility and ownership from those who benefit. We collaborate and work alongside government officials, traditional authorities (village chiefs and elders), schools, National parks staff, prison inmates and staff, school pupils and teachers, large community groups, landowners and individual house holds. This combined and long term support is key to changing attitudes, protecting mature and newly planted trees.
What we are planting
We plant a variety of different trees, always specific to the area and purpose. On mountain tops and river banks, we plant fast growing native trees, creating natural biodiversity and binding the soil together, reducing erosion and landslides. In schools we plant trees that are traditionally used to mark the school boundary, as well as trees that provide shade. In prisons we plant trees that nitrogen fix the soil, boosting the soils natural fertility increasing crop yields. We support communities to grow sustainable and diverse forests; providing shelter, a food source and a sustainable source of timber.
Crucial to our success is education. Teaching the importance of trees locally and globally, the process of germinating, planting and protecting, as well as coppicing and agroforestry techniques. Through education we have the ability to shift the social consciousness, to upskill and empower. The students we teach leave with a new-found respect for forests and empowered to ‘plant tomorrow today’.
Prevention & protection
One of the driving forces behind the rapid rate of deforestation in Malawi is that 89% of families cook on open fires. By teaching communities how to build clay efficient stoves, families reduce the firewood required for cooking by up to 70%. The clay ovens also reduces burns from spilt pots, speed up the cooking process and are so efficient that some still have embers the next morning! Communities receive training on how to construct a clay stove in their home, they are then visited to encourage long term use and shown how to maintain the oven and how to sustainably coppice firewood.
Moving forward we are looking to expand this project and plant on larger scales. The change in attitude towards trees and forests is exciting and now is to time to support these local communities in changing their landscape. Communities have seen the success of our pilot schemes and are eager to see their woodlands grow. We called upon the local community to reforest an area called 'Kumuzu View', the turn out was phenomenal and years on they call it their forest, they protect it and are proud of it and it stands as a reminder of what can be achieved.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Monthly donations are the most effective way to help to help us carry out this vital work, one off donations can also be life changing.
If you are not in a position to help financially, there are several ways in which you can still help us out. Simply by following us on our social media platforms and sharing our work with friends, family and colleagues, you can make a big difference in raising awareness. Alternatively, you could become a fundraiser.