The initiative implemented through the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining acknowledges the role played by youths in forests restoration in the country.
The development has been revealed following a two-day stakeholders sensitization meeting which was organised by authorities from the Forestry Department on 20th to 21st February at Likoma Community Hall in Mbamba area with an objective of sensitizing them on the implementation of Malawi Youth Forest Restoration Program (MYFRP) initiative in the district.
Speaking in an interview, District Forestry Officer for Nkhata Bay, Alfred Manda, who is the coordinator for the project, said that MYFRP initiative which is being championed by the Government of Malawi under the National Forest Landscape Restoration Strategy (NFLRS) is a response to widespread degradation and deforestation in Malawi.
He said, “The idea is to restore deforested and degraded landscapes through scaling up of improved management of forest resources which will contribute to increased food security and resilience to climate change with an element of youth empowerment.”
Shading more light on the matter, Manda went on to say that Youth clubs have been involved to spearhead this project as one way of economic empowerment. He further said Likoma district deserves to benefit from the initiative as many youths are economically challenged for its detachment from the mainland by Lake Malawi.
“The youth have been privileged to benefit from this project as they will earn some income through their various youth clubs after successfully planting the trees and taking care of them to utilisable stage,” he articulated.
Representing Likoma District Council (DC), Director of Public Works (DPW) Vincent Holowanya expressed gratitude towards 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 reinstall it and preserve the environment. As a Council, we are going to guide these youths on the technicalities of the whole process up until we achieve our objective,” said Holowanya.
On his part, Chairperson for Likoma Youth Network (LYN) Atrick Mutali hailed 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 development initiatives.
“We are very thankful to Government for trusting us to participate in this development project, youths will be kept busy as we will be implementing this initiative instead of doing other retrogressive activities in our society,” said Mutali.
Malawi Youth Forest Restoration Program is a project initiative which is expected to run for five years in the country. Five Youth Clubs have been selected to benefit in the first phase of its implementation.