Deforestation is a persistent problem in Malawi, with two percent of forested land being removed every year. Wood is needed by communities for everyday purposes like cooking and building, but the soil erosion that results affects subsidence farmers who rely on the land for their livelihood. The residents of Sangilo are among those affected by this phenomenon, as many are subsidence farmers. Subsequently, reforestation is one of Determined to Develop’s ongoing efforts.
The most recent reforestation project began in August and is overseen by Special Programs Officer Frackson Mhango and Joseph Mataya, an intern from Mwimba College of Agriculture. The sponsored youth are the primary project caretakers, assisting with seed collection, planting, and watering.
In August, seeds of local varieties, including moringa, calcia, and mtangatanga trees, were planted in D2D’s greenhouse. Mango tree seeds will be added at the onset of rainy season in late November. The seedlings will remain in the greenhouse until January when they are mature enough to be transplanted. At this time, they will be distributed to the sponsored youth to plant in their home villages, where they can reap the trees’ benefits, including fruit-bearing and nitrogen fixing. The remaining seedlings will be given to the Wasambo High School students, each of whom will receive two trees to care for on the school campus. This will diversify species at Wasambo, which is presently populated by blue gums, planted in 2017.
It is D2D’s objective to help the residential youth understand the importance of reforestation efforts by giving them agency in the process and to disperse the benefits to an array of communities.