Youths on Likoma and Chizumulu Islands expect to benefit from the tree planting initiative being implemented by the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining.
The development has been revealed following a two day meetings called by authorities from the forestry department on 20th to 21st February at Likoma Community Hall in Mbamba area with a core obligation of informing them on the implementation of Malawi Youth Forest Restoration Program (MYFRP) initiative in the district.n
Speaking in an interview, district forestry officer for Nkhata-bay Alfred Manda who is the coordinator for the project said the MYFRP initiative which is being championed by the government of Malawi under the National Forest Landscape Restoration Strategy (NFLRS) is a response to widespread of forest degradation and deforestation in Malawi.
Manda said: “The idea is to restore deforested and degraded landscapes through scaling up improved management of forests resources which will contribute to increased food security and resilience to climate change with an aid of youth involvement.”
Shedding more light on the matter, Manda went on to say that youth clubs have been involved to spearhead this project as one way of empowering their economic lives in the country hence Likoma district deserves to benefit from the initiative as many youths are economically challenged due to its detachment from the mainland by Lake Malawi.
“The youth have been privileged to benefit from this project as they will earn some income which will be given to them in various youth clubs after successfully planting the trees and taking care of them in order to reach a utilizable age,” he articulated.
Representing Likoma District Council (DC), Director of Public Works (DPW) Vincent Holowanya expressed gratitude for the initiative saying the development agenda is of essence as it will foster the restoration of forests on the Islands at the same time empowering the youths.
“Likoma was turned into a bare Island but with the coming in of this initiative, we are going to restore it and preserve its environment. As the Council, we are going to guide these youths on the technicalities of the whole process up until we achieve our objective,” said Holowanya.
Taking his part, Chairperson for Likoma Youth Network (LYN) Atrick Mutali hailed the government for considering the youths through the initiative saying the project will help them to refrain from indulging into various malpractices as they will be participating in developing their communities.
He said: “We are very thankful to the government for trusting in us to participate in this development project, youths will be kept busy as we will be implementing this initiative instead of doing other retarding activities in our society.”
Malawi Youth Forest Restoration Program is a project initiative which is expected to run for five years in the country and five Youth clubs have been selected to benefit in the first phase of its implementation in Likoma and Chizumulu Islands where 50 youngsters will be picked to do the exercise and the routine will carry on in years to come.