Protecting ecosystems, biodiversity and natural resources is vital in maintaining the health and productivity of our environment, and responding to threats such as land degradation, deforestation, pollution and climate change.
In parts of Malawi, the agricultural extension services and district authorities are supporting reforestation efforts by rural communities, by supplying polythene tubes and advice for the cultivation of tree saplings. In the village of Nkhukwa, about 10 km from Lilongwe, the villagers are attempting a massive reforestation effort, to restore their eroded soils and replenish their lost water supplies. Villager Wonderful Chalera also urges people to grow crops such as groundnuts, as an alternative to tobacco, which requires large amounts of wood for curing or building drying barns.
published: August 2013
At the Dompoase landfill site, a renewable energy project is processing human toilet waste into biodiesel and solid fuel pellets. The biodiesel can be used to power engines and generators, while the fuel pellets can be burned in industrial kilns and boilers, as well as solid fuel power plants for electricity generation. A second income generating project is using organic waste to make compost, a valuable resource for crop farmers. Both these projects, as well as reducing the quantity of waste and creating wealth, are also good for the environment, reducing the output of harmful greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.
published: August 2012
In Katoba, to the east of the Zambian capital Lusaka, felling of trees for charcoal making provides the only available source of income for many households. To address the problem, the Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre is supporting the adoption of bee keeping as an alternative source of income. Donald Zulu explains the double benefits of bee keeping, both for income generation and environmental protection. We also hear from Japhet Seulu of Community Markets for Conservation, about a pricing system for crop production which is helping to reduce slash-and-burn agriculture, another major cause of deforestation in the area. And lead farmer, Peter Chabola, explains why he prefers keeping bees to making charcoal, as a means to raise his family.
published: August 2012
Farmers living in deforested and degraded land in Uganda have begun earning carbon credit payments by planting indigenous trees. The payments are made by companies in Europe and America who want to reduce their environmental impact by compensating for their carbon dioxide emissions. Local NGO, Ecotrust Uganda, provides technical support to the farmers, and calculates the payments they are entitled to – according to how much carbon is stored in the trees over their life span. Pauline Nantongo, Executive Director of Ecotrust Uganda, explains more about this valuable new opportunity, which is creating income for local farmers, restoring the degraded land and also helping to tackle global warming.
published: May 2012
In Nigeria, it is estimated that every year over 90,000 women and children die from illnesses caused by breathing smoke from open fires and cooking stoves. Felling of trees to provide the large amount of firewood used to cook food and keep warm is also causing deforestation, and this not only leads to soil erosion, but also contributes to climate change. The Nigerian Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, with support from its global partner, has launched an initiative to introduce clean and efficient cooking stoves to 10 million Nigerian households by 2020. At the launch event in Abuja, Aveseh Asough speaks to those involved in this ambitious project, and learns more about how new designs of cooking stove can improve the health of women, children and the environment.
published: April 2012
In February 2012, representatives of governments, NGOs and civil society organisations from Africa, Europe, and Asia set off from Nairobi on a learning journey across Kenya and Tanzania. They travelled for 12 days in harsh, dry conditions, staying in community-run lodges and tented camps and holding discussions with pastoralist communities. The purpose of the journey was to understand the problems faced by pastoralists (and other rangeland users) in accessing resources, and to learn about successful strategies in improving community ownership and management of land. At the beginning of the journey, four participants from Sudan, Uganda, Kyrgyzstan and India described the challenges pastoralists face in their home countries, and what they hoped to learn from the journey ahead.
published: March 2012
Charcoal made from bamboo burns more evenly and efficiently, and with less harmful smoke than normal charcoal made from wood. In Ethiopia, Tanzania and Ghana, the International Network on Bamboo and Rattan works with farmers and charcoal makers in order to improve management of bamboo and to introduce simple machinery to pulverise bamboo charcoal and make it into conveniently sized briquettes. This can increase rural incomes while also helping to tackle climate change, since fast-growing bamboo absorbs carbon dioxide more quickly than many other plant species, and will re-grow after harvesting. In the exhibition hall at the international conference on climate change in Durban, Wambi Michael learns more.
published: February 2012
Kotu Strand in The Gambia is a beach area with many tourist hotels, attracting visitors from around the world. But in recent years, erosion by the sea has washed much of the sand away, leaving narrower beaches and threatening local hotels, bars and restaurants with flooding. Saidou Mballow is the manager of Solomon’s Fish Hut, which has been serving tourists for many years. He describes what he and other business owners are doing to protect their buildings, and urges the national government and international community to take urgent action to tackle coastal erosion, sea level rise and climate change.
published: January 2012
Oysters, a luxury food in many western countries, sell very cheaply in The Gambia. The women who harvest oysters have traditionally been poorly equipped and given little respect. However, recently Gambia's oyster women have formed an association, and are organising festivals to promote different oyster-based foods. The association has trained its members to cultivate oysters rather than collect wild ones from the mangroves, in order to reduce the damage done to fish and shrimp nurseries. They are also practising improved hygiene at the trading centres. Fatou Mboob, the association coordinator, speaks to Ismaila Senghore about what they have achieved, and their future hopes.
published: July 2011
In Uganda, religious leaders are adding their voices to the call for community tree planting. This is vital support, given the urgent need to reverse deforestation and reduce the rate of carbon dioxide build up in the atmosphere. Pius Sawa speaks to religious leaders from both Christian and Muslim faiths, about why they see care for the environment as an important part of their message.
published: June 2011
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