More than 32,000 new trees have been planted in brand new nurseries thanks to the Chembe Community in Malawi. In a single year, the Community managed to plant 10,000 new trees and their dedication their nurseries resulted in an incredible 85% survival rate of these seedlings. This year, they are aiming to increase the area they work in and plant more than 12,000 new trees. These trees will enable the Community to support a healthy environment while diversifying their income to support local families. Find out more about this story in the run up to World Environment Day.

The Chembe Community is a Village Natural Resource Management Committee (VNRMC) formed through working alongside Progressio and our local partner organisation, Environment Africa. In their established woodlot, The Chembe Community has 8,500 live trees that are used for beekeeping. The Community learnt how to make this happen by studying a similar project facilitated by Progressio and Environment Africa.

The Chembe Community were provided with 23 bee hives, one honey processing machine, four pairs of bee suits, 12,000 polythene tubes, four buckets, four smokers, four gloves and six pairs of gumboots. Crucially, they were also offered training in forest based enterprises such as beekeeping, advocacy, and the concept of village saving and loans.

By putting into action what they learnt from the other local project, the Chembe Community have taken a step further by molding 30,000 bricks. These bricks will be used to build a honey processing center, comprising of a honey production room, an office, a meeting place and a sales outlet for honey products such as candles.

The molding of bricks is an initiative started by the Community. It has already proved that the work carried out by Progressio and Environment Africa will be sustained beyond for a long time after our direct involvement with the community has ended. One Community member has donated a piece of land for the team to plant another 12,000 seedlings. With this many extra trees, the Chembe Community will be able to increase the number of bee hives and their honey production, which will make marketing and selling their honey products significantly more achievable.

This project will transform local lives entirely. Food security, nutrition, education and income generation all stand to be significantly improved by the innovation and hard work of the Chembe Community.

“One day, people will meet at our center and will buy honey and candles from us,” said Mr Samson Kaludzu, Chairperson of the Chembe Community. “We thank Environment Africa, Progressio and those who give money to implement this."