Every year Zomba TREEZ buys tools, fuel and provides logistic support to the Zomba Forestry Department as well as tools for the football teams, the Zomba Tour Guide Association and for a number of other volunteer groups who help with the fires.
Zomba TREEZ also help to pay for fire breaks to be made and maintained and pays for patrol teams to be circulating on the southern slopes, with over 150 conservation group members taking turns to patrol, and thereby earning some much needed cash in the process.
As fires are one of the biggest threat to conservation, much of the TREEZ funding is spent here - and it is worth it:
The number of fires on the south western slopes have been reduced from 37 to 1. For the past 3 years, this side has only suffered from 1 fire but we are trying very hard to have none!
Up until 2018 inclusive Zomba TREEZ had concentrated its tree planting on the south western slopes of the Plateau and in 2018/19 Zomba TREEZ paid for the Zomba Tour Guide Association to create and maintain a tree nursery of indigenous trees on the Plateau and in 2020 created a whole new one by the Waterboard offices so everyone will be able to visit it :)
So far the race has funded a nursery of over 10,000 seedlings... and it is growing :)
Now, in 2021 to 2022 rainy season, more than 28,000 trees were counted in only 4 of the group's areas and there are 14 groups!
We are also progressing to counting and protecting mini woodlots, woodlands and trees in individuals fields!
And more recently, TREEZ has received funding to create kitchen gardens in order to create more resilience within their communities, as well as agricultural training in Deep Bed Farming methods which involve turning the soil at a deeper level, wider beds and more composting.
We are all watching these spaces :)
For the past 5 years Zomba TREEZ has sponsored 2 local football teams: the Happy Hammers and the Berries FC. In early 2019 Zomba TREEZ started sponsoring the Happy Hammers Queens and they are now also sponsoring the Berries Sisters, both local netball teams.
In late 2019, we added Kasonga football and netball teams and in 2020 we have added Nankhunda FC and NC to our portfolio of environmental helpers :)
And the teams are all doing so well. In 2020 we did a sports' bra drive as we found out that the netball players didn't have sports' bras, and in 2022 the George Watson College in Edinburgh kindly donated some amazing kit to the teams, including football nets.
In exchange of the sponsorship the teams are responsible for the protection of a designated area, fire prevention activities and fire fighting if fires occur.
The teams have been an amazing environmental awareness tool as they spread the word about not lighting fires carelessly as they do not want to go firefighting :))
In 2018 Zomba TREEZ sponsored a local concert as a thank you to the neighbouring communities for their help with the project with the chiefs, Jonas (our Zomba TREEZ representative in the communities) and Tom (Zomba Forest Lodge) giving speeches about the importance of preserving the environment.
In 2019 Zomba TREEZ pushed the message further
with 7 schools writing a song each carrying an environmental message about not lighting non domestic fires, looking after water sources and the importance of trees.
Each song was sung at the concert and judged by local performing artists.
The winning song was aired on both Zodiak and Chanco radio.
In 2020, we aimed for more schools and more songs, but Covit hit and our Environmental programme sank :(
BUT, where there is a will, there is a way, and in July 2023, TREEZ funded an Tisamale Chilengedwe (Look after the Environment) concert with mainstream artist Atoht Manje headlining and man others performing, interspersed with conservation group leaders, The Bright Dreamers (hip hop band sponsored by TREEZ) and village and senior village headmen advising the audience (of many hundreds) of the risks of fires, careless tree cutting, littering etc.
The concert doubles up as a Thank You to the communities for their past work and the hard work ahead.
It was a real hit!