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UNDP props up youth conservation efforts

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United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in collaboration with the Malawi Government, has encouraged the youth in the country to be determined in restoring and conserving the environment.

The UN agency, through the Catholic Relief Services (CRS), is targeting 2,000 youths in 10 districts under a two-year ‘Malawi Green Corps’ project, to undertake environmental restoration which includes reforestation and waste management.

Speaking after touring activities that youth groups in Dedza, Ntcheu, Mangochi and Salima are undertaking, UNDP Representative Shigeki Komatsubara said youths with ‘green innovative ideas’ play a crucial role in restoring damaged sections of the environment.

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“Malawi has talent and UNDP is supporting a lot of people in universities and entrepreneurship. I believe UNDP can do more than what we are doing now to support young people in developing ideas into money making and enterprises,” he said.

The targeted youth groups are involved in natural regeneration and tree planting, targeting 659.6 hectares out of the 5,000 hectares intended to be restored under the project.

Apart from restoring the degraded land, the youths have also been trained in income-generating activities using waste and other locally made materials.

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CRS Country Representative Shigeki Mudonhi said they are looking forward to engaging the private sector in providing expertise in waste management in a profitable manner at community level.

“There is so much potential in land restoration and waste management. We want to make sure there is waste that is not wasted; waste from which we can get valuable products,” Mudonhi said.

One of the youth groups, Malapa II, from Traditional Authority Kambwiri in Salima Joseph Sikalioti said the project is an eye opener and an encouragement to the young man to take part in environmental conservation.

“We are also transferring the skills that we have acquired to other members of our community. We are sensitising them to the advantages of environmental protection,” Sikalioti said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Director of Forestry Kasizo Chirambo has said Malawi has so far managed to cover two million hectares out of the 4.5 million which it seeks to restore by 2030.

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