Temwa Update for 2020 – Tree planting in Northern Malawi

In 2020 carbon balancing donations to our Trees+ programme went to three trusted project partners – one of these partners is the charity Temwa who, as part of their charitable work in Malawi, run community tree planting, sustainable farming and community-led management of local natural resources in Nkhata Bay North in Northern Malawi. Find out about our other parters on the Trees+ programme page.

Although the Covid-19 pandemic has caused severe health and economic disruptions in the area, Temwa’s tree planting project has been running since its launch in early 2020 – and thanks to donations from our members in 2020, 15,641 trees were planted as part of the project.

Temwa Project Background

Around 90% of households in Nkhata Bay North are smallholder subsistence farmers. Although the communities depend on their local natural resources for survival, poverty forces them to use the resources unsustainably – exacerbating the same problems. Temwa tree planting project alongside their broader programmes in agriculture, health and education, address the interlinked challenges these communities face in a holistic way. Temwa’s aim is to strengthen local structures so they can take over the programmes and drive their own development, independent of international support.

Tree planting Update

Tree planting in 2020 focussed mainly on landscape conversion, transforming previously deforested areas into woodlands that will be used for timber. There is high local demand for timber, and families living in poverty are starting to realise that growing, harvesting and replanting trees for construction materials is a sustainable, long-term investment for future income.

Pine trees are felled for timber after they have matured, which takes about 30 years. Because the carbon is stored in timber even after the trees have been harvested, tree-planting for timber is an effective method of carbon capture, unlike the sale of firewood and charcoal, which leads to carbon being released back into the atmosphere.

Not all trees in a woodlot will necessarily be felled and the types of tree species and planting locations will increase over time based on community priorities. Seedlings are growing well for the 2020-2021 planting season, and starting from January, the communities are ready to plant more pines, mahogany, moringa and agroforestry trees that help improve soil quality in agricultural fields.

Strengthening local stewardship of natural resources

Temwa works in close collaboration with local governance structures, such as Area and Village Development Committees, whose representatives have been participating in all activities. They want to ensure that the activities are aligned with local development plans and that the local governance structures will have the knowledge and skills to promote reforestation and forest-friendly livelihoods in their areas, including the protection of trees through local bylaws and patrols. In 2021, they will also launch a participatory community monitoring system for the scheme to track its progress.

Find out more about Temwa’s work HERE.