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Community takes initiative to save trees

BUHERA – A group of villagers in Mutiusinazita in Buhera have taken an initiative to protect the environment by planting trees to avoid complete deforestation in the area, due to excessive cutting down of trees by some members of the community.

Report by Stephen Tsoroti
Alarmed by the high rate of depletion of trees, villagers came together to form the Promoting Positive Livelihood with Adaptation to Climate Change (PPLACC) to reclaim all land that had been destroyed, in an effort to fight effects of climate change.

PPLACC secretary Patrick Chidhoma said the organisation was formed with the help of The Zimbabwe Women’s Bureau two years ago to stop widespread deforestation that was threatening livelihoods of the community.

“We realised that there was no one who was going to come and plant trees for us. We had to act fast as our forests were fast disappearing,” he said.

Chidhoma said the group had embarked on bee-keeping, gardening and planted woodlots in an effort to preserve the environment.

Presently, the organisation has a membership of over 200 households, mainly vulnerable members of the society such as widows, orphans and unemployed youths.

“To date we have several woodlots created. Combined we have planted over 10 000 indigenous trees, including fruit trees,” said Chidhoma.
“One project we have done well is implementing the tsotso stove in the village. Over 500 households have the stove in their homes.”
The tsotso stove, he said, used less firewood.

“The tsotso stove uses much less wood and has an insulated combustion chamber which helps reduce smoke while increasing the heat output and burning efficiency,” he said.

“The fuel sticks, usually from thorn trees, come in a bundle and cost very little. A bundle of the sticks can potentially cook approximately six to ten meals, saving energy and labour in the process.”

One of the beneficiaries, Mable Makufa said the tsotso stove was convenient because it could be carried from one place to another.

“All in all, the tsotso stove is highly desirable because it cooks fast, produces less smoke and is environmentally friendly and requires very small amounts of wood fuel,” he said.

The organisation is also getting assistance from agricultural extension officers to implement new conservation farming methods in an effort to boost crop yields.

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