It is not every day that one hears of young people getting involved in environmental issues. But Dowa-based George Goliati, a Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (Luanar) graduate, has formed a movement for young graduates with the aim of fighting climate change.
“We need to be the first to act on our poverty rather than just waiting on foreign aid and ideas for our own development,” says Goliati.
He says rural communities should lead the process in addressing their environmental and socio-economic challenges.
This approach has started with senior group village heads Chiwaliwali and Chimbaka, and group village heads Tchale, Mbalame, Chipokosa and Chipolokazi who are under Traditional Authority (T/A) Kalumo in Ntchisi District.
The communities’ project committee is planting indigenous water-conserving trees around their water resources this tree planting season, and incorporating climate-smart agriculture practices.
“These days, people think they should always be on the receiving end from NGOs. It seems there is little understanding of the decentralisation process,” says Goliati.
He says as a water conservation strategy, the communities, through the project committee, have organised indigenous tree planting exercises along rivers and other water resources. The trees to be planted are mainly mwimbi and katope.
Kephas Kalinduna, one of the participants in the project, says villagers in Chiwaliwali are happy with the new ideas by the youth group.
“Climate change is real and if people like Goliati can start a movement that can make a difference in our lives, we need to support them. This year, rains have been erratic and if we can’t plant
trees we will continue suffering the effects of climate change,” says Kalinduna. n