The January-March placement is the first team of Progressio ICS volunteers to pioneer a project in Mulanje district, under Wildlife and Environmental Society of Malawi (WESM) in partnership with Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust (MMCT).
January being a rainy season, the team of British and Malawian volunteers; team 'Sapitwa', visited Mulanje Mission Community Day Secondary School Wildlife club for a tree planting exercise and environmental guidance. The school has been fortunate enough to be one of the many beneficiaries of WESM and received 270 seeds to sow, these seeds included Fruit trees; Oranges, Peaches... Exotic trees; Moringa, Msamba Mafumu, Ntanga-tanga, Accasia, but only 80% of the given population survived which represents 216 trees.
Mr. Chikondi Manyozo, the club patron, attributed the poor conduct in handling trees to lack of information and resources. “We sincerely hope your visit will show us the right way of handling trees, since we lost so many seedlings during transplanting. In most circumstances, we discovered that the trees died because the children had planted them with their roots hanging-out, which in turn dries out; leaving the plant without food and it dies a natural death eventually” concluded Mr. Manyozo.
After elaborating the entire necessary do’s and don’ts, team Sapitwa found time to demonstrate how to plant a tree in the club’s only garden; a sum of 35 trees seedlings. The volunteers also visited Samson primary school, Providence Girls primary school, Mulanje Boma community day secondary school, Nanjilili Community Based Organisation and Migowi primary school in Phalombe district respectively.
Speaking at a function in Phalombe at Migowi primary school ground, the head teacher on behalf of the Wildlife club and the teachers committee, pleaded that they should not only receive seedlings from MMCT each and every planting season, but they should also be taught practical and hands-on techniques of nursery construction. “We don’t mean to be ungrateful, you have done so much for us and the communities around, we say thank you! But since you are our only hope and rescue in times of need, as far as the environment is concerned we would appreciate if you constructed a tree nursery right here in Phalombe district, so that we may also reach out to a large number” said the head teacher.
The occasion was graced by chiefs, representatives for Traditional Authority, different school teachers, media practitioners, a representative for the District Commissioner of Phalombe, Community members, students of different schools, police men and other dignitaries. Team sapitwa has so far managed to plant almost 503 seedlings of different species. Some of the trees include Ntanga tanga, Acacia and Moringa.
After planting the seedlings at Migowi primary school, the students had time to dance, before finally watching a football match between the Phalombe Police Eagles and Migowi select.
Migowe Primary School putting on a football match for us to watch.
Written by: Timothy Banda
Photography: Gemma Heath