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Sunday, 14 May 2017 08:57

Govt gives K164m grant to natural resources conservation committees in NU

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Councillor Shimita Njovu presenting a dumy cheque to a community represetantive Councillor Shimita Njovu presenting a dumy cheque to a community represetantive

Ntcheu, May 13, 2017: Government through Shire River Basin Management Program (SRBMP) has provided enterprise development grants amounting to K162 million which would be disbursed on loan basis amongst community members of natural resources conservation groups who are undertaking environmental rehabilitation activities at the upper Lisungwi River catchment in Ntcheu.

Speaking at Namisu Primary School during the symbolic presentation of K18, 250,000 cheque to one of the groups, on behalf of the chairperson for Ntcheu District Council, Councilor, Shimita Njovu, said there are nine natural resources conservation groups at Upper Lisungwi River and each groups will get K18, 250,000.

“This grant is meant to serve as a loan facility which should be accessed by members of these groups and even those who are not members of the groups. The idea behind the grant is to ensure that members of these groups should embark on alternative businesses other than selling charcoal,” said Njovu.

He expressed worry that most households in the area depend on charcoal selling for their livelihoods, a development which he said continues to impact negatively on initiatives and interventions which are geared to redress environmental degradation at Upper Lisungwi River catchment.

“With the provision of this grant, it is my hope that charcoal making business would no longer be a livelihood activity as it is expected that loans accessed from the grant will make you embark on environmental friendly businesses,” he said.

He then advised members of the community to ensure sustainability of the facility by paying back their loan in time so that the facility grows into community managed revolving fund.

Earlier, a member of SRBMP technical team, Alice Gwedeza said government decided to provide the grant to communities at upper Lisungwi River Catchment, as an incentive which if put to good use, would reduce pressure on over dependency on forestry related activities for the communities livelihoods.

“Our intention is to see most of you shift from charcoal selling to other small scale businesses which are environmental friendly,” said Gwedeza.

She said Lisungwi River forms part of Shire River Basin and if rivers within the basin are protected from degradation, the result is that the country can be assured of sustainable hydro power generation and reduced flooding incidences in the Lower Shire.

 “Degradation of river banks within the Shire Basin continue to fuel siltation of the Shire River, a situation which in most cases has led to over flooding of the river,” she said.

Shire River Basin Management Programme is a Malawi Government Programme which is funded by World Bank.

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