The Department of Parks and Wildlife has  commended YONECO for involving young people in conservation of natural resources saying the development will go a long way in instilling a sense of caring for nature among the youth.

Speaking during a field visit at Linyangwa in the area of Traditional Authority (T/A) Lukwa in          Kasungu district, Parks and Wildlife Officer responsible for environmental education, Mathias Kachepa Elisa, said promotion of mind-set change among the youth to preserve nature would help in environmental conservation.

“The youth should grow up knowing the importance of wildlife and environmental conservation so that they can meaningfully engage their communities in the fight against environmental degradation,” he  said.

Elisa added that mind-set change on environmental management could graduate into a culture of caring for protected areas. 

YONECO in partnership with Church Aid Relief    Development (CARD), Centre for Integrated     Community Development (CICOD), Civil Society Network and Climate Change (CISONECC) and TROCAIRE is implementing a project titled “Building Climate Resilient Communities through Conservation Effective Management of Natural Resources and Diversified Livelihoods Particularly for Women, Youth and People with Disabilities Surrounding National Parks and Game Reserves.”

Village Savings and Loans Agent for Chitsime Village in T/A Lukwa’s area, Margret Kalinga, said the youth in the area are eager to help in conserving trees and wildlife at Kasungu National Park but lack of economic independence has for so long affected their undertakings.

She, however, said they are optimistic that the project’s interventions and approach in                empowering the youth surrounding the park will also focus on empowering them economically. 

“With support from this consortium of Non-Governmental Organisations, we have already organized ourselves in groups where activities like Village Savings and Loans (VSL) groups, livestock farming, irrigation farming and afforestation among others are taking place to make sure that communities especially young people surrounding the park are empowered so that the park should remain protected,” said Kalinga.

The three-year project is being coordinated at national level by Trocaire and is being implemented in Kasungu, Chikwawa and Nsanje districts targeting Kasungu National Park, Lengwe National Park and Mwabvi Wildlife Reserve respectively. 

The project is aimed at transforming negative coping strategies and building resilience to the     adverse impacts of climate change.

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