Dedza community embraces National Bank’s adopt a forest initiative

Community members from Group Village Headman (GVH) Njolo in Dedza have said they will be fully committed towards the conservation of their village forest area with help from National Bank.

GVH Njolo said this Tuesday when officials from National Bank and Department of Forestry visited the village to appreciate forest conservation works that the villagers are doing in Chipendeko hill.

Njolo said: "Chipendeko hill had a lot of trees in the past and it even had wild animals but due to wanton cutting down of trees, the forest was depleted. Of late, we have been working towards replanting trees in the hill and now with the coming of the support from National Bank, the development will help strengthen our ongoing community based conservation efforts”.

The GVH said the community has already planted one thousand tree seedlings in a nursery which are awaiting to be planted in Chipendeko hill.

On her part, National Bank's Marketing and corporate affairs manager, Akossa Hiwa said recently, the bank signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Natural resources and Climate change in which they committed 100 million kwacha towards the restoration and regeneration of forests in Mangochi Palm forest reserve, 7 hills in Dedza and Jembiya forest in Chitipa.

Hiwa interacts with GVH Njolo at the foot of Chipendeko Hill

"We expect the community members to take full ownership of the project and benefit from the initiative so for starters we are going to buy the 1000 seedlings which are in their nursery and then they will plant them in the hill whilst receiving money for their labour as well, “she said.

Hiwa added that through the initiative, the bank will mobilise resources for tree planting, natural regeneration and other forest management activities like procurement of inputs as well as using paid casual labour from local communities.

Dedza Assistant forestry officer, Grace Mwale said the trees around the seven hills area had been badly destroyed due to charcoal burning therefore the decision to adopt the forest reserve by National Bank is a development which will help conserve and protect the area.