The Katanino Forest Rangers’ graduation ceremony took place in September. Some of the new rangers could hardly control their delight and pride on receiving their certificates. After some serious patrolling, there was time left over for some acrobatics and dancing!
Forest fire management
Being a rural community, Katanino has been spared from high COVID infection rates. Nevertheless, to prepare the communities for fire management activities in April, headmen were involved at an early stage so they could then hold small meetings in their respective villages rather than one big briefing session. After receiving training in forest fire management from WeForest Zambia and the Forest Department of the Republic of Zambia, Katanino community members are now actively participating in the management of wildfires that can destroy forests if they're not controlled.
Tabetha C. is a 27-year-old single mother of two children from Chembo village in the Serenje zone of Katanino. She grew up in the big towns on the Copperbelt and would visit her grandparents in Katanino during the school holidays. She has fond memories of collecting mushrooms, fruits and wild vegetables from the Forest Reserve, but over the years, she saw the devastating impact of forest degradation and deforestation. She wanted to be part of an initiative that would spearhead the process of restoring Katanino Reserve, so when she saw that Community Forest Resource Guards were being recruited to enforce the law in Katanino and that women were particularly encouraged to apply, she convinced her friend Precious L. to go with her and register. Both were successful! Tabetha was appointed as a Team Leader and has been recommended by the Forestry Department for appointment as an Honorary Forest Officer.
Law enforcement in traditional rural communities is usually a male job, but Tabetha and Precious have challenged this stereotype. Tabetha is hoping her trailblazing will pave the way for more women to get involved in community forest governance.
Mecca is a 74-year-old grandmother from Oposhi. She has a 20 hectare farm, part of which she uses to grow maize, beans, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, ground nuts and watermelons. Some she keeps and others she sells, while the other part of her land is left as woodland. Mecca registered for the bee keeping livelihood empowerment scheme after community sensitization meetings at which women particularly were encouraged to register. Her farm was visited to assess the condition of the woodland and when it was certified as good old growth woodland with potential to support bee keeping, she set aside 2.2 hectares of her 20 hectare farm for the ANR programme and was given five bee hives.
Like most families in the area, she has divided parts of her farm and given parcels to her grown children. Trees are cut for agricultural activities or for charcoal production and she has been facing increasing pressure from her children to open up the old growth woodland for charcoal production which she has resisted for a long time. When WeForest introduced the bee keeping programme, it was a huge relief to her because she can now earn an income and her grandchildren can see the benefits of keeping the trees standing.
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