* Donated 650 assorted tree seedlings to Malabada Primary School in Ndirande, Blantyre
* As one way of fulfilling it’s project under its campaign theme of ‘Cleaning and Greening’
* Which rolled out by nurturing the tree seedlings at the foot of the mountain
By Michael Martin, MANA
Ndirande Township’s Community Impact Group — a concerned set of volunteers with the admirable passion of protecting and restoring Ndirande Mountain’s vegetation — on Wednesday reached out to the area’s Malabada Primary School where it inculcated the culture of conservation of the environment.
The Community Impact Group donated 650 assorted tree seedlings to Malabada School in Ndirande Blantyre as one way of fulfilling it’s project under its campaign theme of ‘Cleaning and Greening’ — which rolled out by nurturing the tree seedlings at the foot of the mountain.
Speaking during the ceremony at the school in Traditional Authority Kapeni of Blantyre District, the group’s Executive Director, Gift Landani urged the teachers to continue inculcating their young learners to fully own the trees planted to ensure sustainability and enhance environmental preservation at the school.
“We want to cover Ndirande Mountain with 15,000 different species of trees this year, but currently we have managed 4,000 trees,” he said. “So, to fulfil our target, we have involved communities and primary schools by donating different kinds of tree seedlings to them.”
In January, the grouping involved senior citizens to plant over 2,000 pine trees on the depleted Ndirande Mountain landscape and Landani, said experience has made it apparent that community involvement and support could enhance full protection and sustainability of these trees — hence also the decision to engage the young minds of Malabada School.
“Our organisation so far has donated assorted tree seedlings to over 100 individual households and three primary schools;namely Ndirande Matope, Mpata and now Malabada,“ he said.
In her remarks, the school’s manager, Aida Kachale commended Community Impact, saying the donation of the tree seedlings will help to address challenges of soil erosion, lack of firewood at the school, issue of fresh air and rainfall creation in the area.
She said the school has 2,078 learners and to ensure that the trees are growing well and protected, each learner will be given a tree to own it and take its care by giving it a name.
Kachale added that once the trees are grown, they would create shade for the students at break time as well as help in shielding the school from heavy winds, which are frequent in the area that cause destruction.
Present was Primary Education Advisor (PEA) for Ndirande Zone, Audro Mmanga said the school management and surrounding communities have been empowered with leadership skills with the establishment of Tree Conservation Committees to ensure proper management, conservation and protection of trees at the school.
While representative of Group Village Head Gamulani, Naitosi Noah urged all school authorities and learners to advantage of the Community Impact Group by initiating activities such as tree planting and promoting environmentally friendly agriculture practices at the school.
While encouraging students to plant trees, traditional leaders have the mandate to facilitate tree preservation and he encouraged the school authorities to ensure that the tree seedlings survive.
Distressed that the residents of Malabada Constituency are disposing their household waste anyhow in open spaces — while markets garbage keep piling up due to failure by the Blantyre City Council to collect the waste — the Community Impact Group initiated a waste management campaign by converting it into compost fertilizer.
In the process of compost fertilizer production, they also decided to take their campaign to another level by breeding tree seedlings at their site at the foot of the mountain to replenish the bare landscape.
The compost fertilizer being produced is targeted at community members who farm on the mountain’s bare land and the group approached them to also practice agroforestry.
These farmers provide dry maize stocks to the Impact Group to build on the organic waste, which is collected from community members after piling it at their households to them to recycle it into compost fertilizer.
They got trained of this compost fertilizer expertise by Waste Advisors organisation and they were equipped with industrial gloves, gumboots, drums, a wheelbarrow, digging fork, slashers as their starter pack.
Established in 2021 under the theme: ‘Cleaning and Greening’, the group has 14-plus volunteers, comprising youths who are employed while others are in school — doing all this in their free time and in shifts.
The group members contribute funds from their pockets every month to financially sustain the project and they continue to appeal for support, both financial for costs of collection of waste and equipment.
The starter pack equipment that Waste Advisors provided has lasted their lifespan and they are still lacking in finances to procure protective materials such as face masks, work suits, gloves, watering cans and work suits.