Forestry community mobilization

Being the implementers of the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI)/Publish What You Pay (PWYP) campaign that focuses on the forestry sector in Zambia, The Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) ‘advocacy team’ recently undertook a three weeks orientation and community mobilization trip to four districts in western and north western province of Zambia namely Sesheke, Senanga, Kasempa and Mufumbwe. The trip ran from the 10th to the 25th of October 2011.

 

The objective of this trip was to introduce the new EFZ advocacy officer and assistant advocacy officer to the respective districts where the programme is being implemented, to carry out sensitization on issues of deforestation through the media and to disseminate information of the findings documented in the forest report “forests; our heritage under threat".


The  main objective of the research study was to analyze the responses to forestry challenges in policy, legislation and practices with a view to ascertain progress, challenges and opportunities for improved sustainable forest sector development for poverty reduction of the present and future generations.


During the first week(10th 14th 0ctober) , meetings in the districts of western and north western province were held and were well attended by different stakeholders which included representatives from the pastors fellowships in the four districts and the district natural resources committees(forestry dept, timber associations, fisheries department of agriculture, local authorities and district administrators). These were then tasked to select capable and available representatives that would attend the trainer of trainer’s workshop which was planned to take place in the second week.


In the second week, the first trainer of trainer’s (TOT) workshop took place from 17th-18th October 2011 in Kasempa at Tamala guest house (08:00-17:30hrs) whereas the second took place between 20th and 21st October at Dolphin lodge in Mongu. The main objective of the TOT was to disseminate the findings of the research study and to get feedback from the participants. The EFZ team was also building the capacity of the participants who would be required to go back to their communities and further disseminate the research findings. Facilitators were invited from the forestry department of the two provinces to give an overview of the forestry sector in their areas of operation. These are Mr. Joseph Sombondu who is the District Forestry Officer for kasempa and the provincial Extension Officer for Mongu, Mr. Mwabuunga.

The workshops were participatory in nature, with the participants mainly working in district groups to explore issues in the forestry report and others matters that were not captured by the report. Plenary feedback sessions allowed time for further discussions of points raised and sharing of ideas amongst district representatives.


Generally the participants felt that the forestry report was well prepared and that it gives a true reflection of what is pertaining in the industry. In this sense, they agreed that what is documented in the report such as erratic funding to the forestry department, low levels of staffing,  the lack of political will and the lack of information on what is legally extracted verses what is illegally extracted is correct and needs to be addressed by all stakeholders. It was also stressed that there is need to harmonize the forestry policies so that the sector is governed by one act unlike the case today.
Week three starting from 21st -25th October 2011 saw implementation of some the activities that were planned by participants of the trainer of trainers whereas monitoring was conducted by the EFZ team. In addition to these activities during the week, community radio programmes were launched by the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia Executive Director, Rev. Pukuta Mwanza in Solwezi, Mwinilunga, Kasempa and Mongu districts. These radio programmes are part of community sensitization aimed at educating and raising awareness on effective utilization and management of natural resources and will subsequently run for ten(10 )weeks.


Evaluation of the workshops by participants and subsequent implementation of activities is so far impressively positive, and progress over the next few months will indicate the impact of the workshops on district plans and policies on the forestry sector.


Zambia is a nation that is well endowed with a diverse range of natural resources that support the extractive industries in various sectors. But these extractive industries have not contributed to the expected levels of economic growth and poverty reduction. In order to address this, Zambia subscribed and launched in 2008 to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). This is an independent, voluntary initiative that endeavors to support improved governance in natural resource rich countries through the verification and full publication of company payments and government revenues from oil, gas, mining and other natural resources such as forestry. Publish What You Pay (PWYP) is a civil society initiative that advocates for revenue transparency and accountability in the extractives sector in order to contribute to poverty reduction and enhance the standard of living of ordinary citizens.


For further information contact our advocacy officer Susan Kirimani-. Lusambo[ This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ] or the assistant advocacy officer chali katungula( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )