All our efforts would be futile and unsustainable if all we did was impose our ideas on people who don't understand why we are doing what we are doing.
For conservation work to be successful, the communities involved need to understand the reasoning behind our ideas.
In 2018, TREEZ sponsored a concert starring Moses Mkwaka among other artists and promoting environmental awareness, mainly as a thank you to the local communities for their help in their conservation efforts.
It gave us the idea of taking the concert a step further and using the event as an educational tool to take the message further and reach more people.
In 2019, we got 8 schools, all neighbouring the Plateau, to write a song carrying an environmental message, to be performed on the day of the concert, and judged by a local artist.
It was a great success: Jay-Jay C performed to a huge crowd and helped choose the winning song.
The winning song was then recorded and aired by Zodiak Radio
Watch this space for details of the 2020 concert :)
Jay-Jay C doing what he does best :)
Each year brings us more ideas as to how we can make a difference and the concert got us further thinking.
What if we could deliver a short series of lessons on environmental education to primary school children neighbouring the Plateau?
This year, we will give it a go:
The same 8 schools will receive a series of 5 lessons about the environment, why it is important, what are dangers its facing and what can be done to mitigate the problem.
The District Education Manager has just given us the go-ahead so the pilot scheme will soon take place.
As a further incentive for the schools to take part, we are also funding a football and a netball tournament and linked to a quiz, linked back to the lessons.
More information on this as we move forward :)
Above are the teachers involved with the educational project, as well as Jonas and Smart (the main helpers for TREEZ), and Petal
Another project we would like to trial this year. We would like to follow the Ripple Africa's model and adopt its fuel efficient stoves.
This would involve sending 2 or 3 community members to Nkhata Bay to train with their team so that they return to their communities and teach villagers how to build and maintain these stoves.
If women decide to adopt them, it would reduce their domestic wood use by over 60%, thus taking some of the pressure of the surrounding trees.
But convincing the women that these stoves are better than their traditional 3 stones is a difficult process and one that many organizations promoting different models of fuel efficients stoves are facing.
We are up for the challenge!