20 June 2023

Reforestation project in Malawi

Reforestation project in Malawi

In October 2021 our Rotary Club Milano Nord-Ovest started a project in cooperation with
the Malawian Rotary Club Lilongwe Lingadzi (district 9210) and the participation of our twin
club of Ramat Aviv, Israel (district 2490): it is an afforestation project which lasted two years,
from October 2021 to May 2023. Now the request for a global grant is also underway to
plant 500,000 trees (about 420 hectares) during 2023-24.

Malawi, a very poor country without energy resources, suffers from a high rate of
deforestation as the wood is used to produce energy for local industries and to allow people
to eat and keep warm in winter, as well as as building material. With the help of local
partners who train people and monitor the process, in the last two years the RC Lilongwe
Lingadzi planted around 143,000 trees both for wood and for fruit in rural communities, in
primary schools, in a refugee camp.

In fact, the secondary objectives of the project were to improve nutrition through fruit production, rediscovering local varieties; promote women’s empowerment by creating job opportunities for them; create income in rural communities and improve environmental sustainability and educate young people to care for trees.

Three members of our club went to Malawi at the end of May to visit this project: the trees
were in good condition, enthusiastically cared for by the people in charge of them.
Particularly interesting is the idea of planting trees in schoolyards, which have large areas of
land available and which received most of the seedlings: having trees motivates pupils very
much to attend classes seriously, and it is also an excellent means of passing on to parents a
good culture of trees and how to take care of them. During the trip, the challenges and
successes obtained became very clear, as the results of the project depend every day on a
very large number of people who have to commit themselves to ensure that the trees grow
well, on the availability of water, on the fight against termites, on the theft of the saplings
committed by neighbours…..

During the trip, our members met some members of the Rotary Club Lilongwe-Lingadzi both
during field visits and during a dinner in Lilongwe which was attended also by the Italian
Honorary Consul, and exchanged ideas and opinions, learning a lot from the direct and
pragmatic way of working of the Malawian club whose members operate in very difficult
situations with many problems to solve.

For our club the project is coordinated by Barbara Martellini, who travelled to Malawi with
Anna Maria Catano and Margherita Ghirardi.