Communities around Phalazi in Traditional Authority Masumbankhunda in Lilongwe have commended the tree-planting initiative, saying it is expected to transform the area.
Community member Tereza Bezaye said in an interview on Monday that people depleted trees in the area.
She said they planted 6 000 trees in the village forest in 2020.
“We struggle to get firewood as we rely on maize stalks for cooking,” said Bezaye.
She also said the forest is a source of traditional medicine.
Phalazi Catchment management chairperson Malijeni Maxon said the forest is, among other activities in the district implemented under the Enhanced Public Works Programme pilot phase.
“We have conserved the environment through the programme. Again, people got paid for working 12 days under the programme. Others have saved money in village savings and loans groups facilitated by Community Savings and Investiment Promotion [Comsip],” he said.
The World Bank-funded Enhanced Public Works Programme facilitated by the National Local Government Finance Committee (NLGFC), was piloted in 10 district councils from 2020 to 2021.
NLGFC acting director of infrastructure and economic development Stanley Chuthi said they targeted the ultra-poor in selected catchment areas, focusing on water, land and soil conservation activities.
The programme will be succeeded by the Climate Smart Enhanced Public Works Programme expected to start this month.
The programme, which is a component of the Social Support for Resilient Livelihoods Project, has increased beneficiaries from 35 000 families in 14 districts to 435 000 participants in all the country’s 28 district councils.
Under the programme, Comsip will drill people how to save their money in village savings and loans groups.