Wildlife Action Group (WAG) are delighted to have partnered up with Tuesday Trust to assist communities living near the forest.
One of our major challenges in protecting the forest is that the local communities are extremely poor, have little or no chance of employment by which to earn an income. This means that they are completely reliant on the land. Food security is very important. Recent changes in climate have led to erratic rainfall, meaning rivers are drying up and crop harvests have been poor.
Communities living near to the reserve boundaries look to the forest for many things including bush meat, fish, wood from trees, bamboo, and medicine. A ticketing system allows individuals to come and take sustainable amounts of firewood and bamboo from the forest. However in most cases people are using the natural resources from the forest for commercial reasons , so not for their own use but to earn an income.
WAG have been trying to establish partnerships with other NGO’s with humanitarian and agricultural expertise, to work in villages near the forest boundary to help alleviate poverty but also to teach new skills so people can be more self reliant. This in turn will relieve the need for people to hunt and cut trees.
With a assistance from Tuesday Trust
The Tuesday Trust is a small Irish humanitarian agency that promotes and supports projects which address food security, gender inequalities and the right to education in Africa & Ireland. It also manages projects to assist people who are infected or affected by HIV and AIDS. It is co-ordinated and run by volunteers drawn from various fields including development aid specialists, event management, fund-raising, marketing & communications.
The first project is at Mphizi Village. Tuesday Trust in partnership with WAG are working with vulnerable ladies in the village. The village itself is very close to the forest and has been affected by elephants destroying crops, but since WAG has installed the fence they are safe.
An irrigation garden has been established close to the Linthipe river. The ladies are receiving an ongoing training programme which supports them in growing a variety of vegetables which in turn gives them a reliable income and food security for their families.
Irrigation garden close to the Linthipe River
Crops such as cabbage, rape, spinach, tomatoes, onions and Chinese leaves have never been grown in this way before.
The ultimate challenge is for this garden to be self-sufficient. The Tuesday Trust and WAG are working with the community to introduce farming methods such as intercropping (the practice of growing faster crops in-between the slower growing crops) crop rotation (to get maximum nutrients from the ground) and use of perma–culture (supporting seasonal crops with perennial planting to help manage gluts and dirts).
WAG facilitate by conducting weekly support visits, help with planning, building a small summer hut, assisting with accounts, advice, and anything the ladies need. WAG have also fenced off the garden to help protect against visits from elephants. Two bee hives have been placed in the garden which will also bring money by selling the honey locally. This project is the first of its kind for WAG and so far the results have been very positive. We hope to replicate this in other villages around the reserve.
Tuesday Trust in partnership with WAG are working with vulnerable ladies in the village