Lilongwe District Council has commended Malawi Green Corps (MGC) Project for empowering 195 youths in the areas of Traditional Authorities Malili and Masula with skills and knowledge in environmental conservation and business management.
Speaking in Lilongwe on Tuesday during the presentation of certificates of appreciation to the youths who took part in the project, Chairperson for the Council Dan Mtayamanja said the coming in of MGC project, which is now phasing out, has assisted many youths to take part in environmental conservation as well as afforestation exercises in their respective areas.
He said, this is in line with Malawi 2063 enabler seven which talks about environmental sustainability.
“With the skills and knowledge gained through the project, youths have managed to plant over 12,000 trees in their areas and protected 485 hectares of Dzalanyama Forest Reserve and 15 hectares along Lilongwe River banks.
“These youths have been working on voluntarily basis and they were given something as a token of appreciation to be used to start their own businesses that are environmental friendly like making briquettes for cooking. Before starting their businesses, these youths were trained in business management,” Mtayamanja said.
He, therefore, urged the youth to utilise the skills and knowledge gained through the project to empower their fellow youths so as to increase the number of youths having skills and knowledge in environmental conservation and business management.
In his remarks, MGC Project Manager Baxton Chirombo said the project, which started in 2021, decided to use youths in conserving the environment.
The project was being implemented in 10 districts across the country including Lilongwe to the tune of US$2.4 million.
“Looking at the economic status of Malawi and youth being at the disadvantage level, we thought the project could be an aspect of empowering the youth to make sure that the environment, which is fragile at the moment, should be conserved by the youth.
“As Malawi, we have two kinds of challenges of youth unemployment and land degradation. So, the project came in to bridge the two on how to empower the youth economically using this concept while at the same time making sure that we conserve the environment we have,” Chirombo said.
He said, the project which was funded by the United Nations development Programme (UNDP) and was implemented by Catholic Relief Services was a pilot which wanted to test how best it can utilise the youth in environmental conservation.