JCI (Junior Chamber International) is a global network of young active citizens who are creating sustainable positive impact in their communities by improving themselves and the world around them through tackling the greatest issues challenging their communities by collective action. JCI has active members of over 5000 in 115 different countries around the globe. Engaging in activities, members demonstrate their social responsibility and improve themselves through participation, leadership and action.
Why Tree Planting?
JCI City has recently embarked on a 5 million tree planting project for the year 2014 with an aim of unifying the three pillars of society i.e. the Civic, Government and business in solving present day problems. With 500 million trees being cut down annually, deforestation has become a continuous battle to society that as a society should strive to reduce. Zimbabwe currently loses an estimated 1,48% of its forest cover annually and is currently ranked 9th deforestation rate world-wide. These alarming deforestation levels formed the basis and purpose of the Tree Planting Project 2014.
As the deforestation battle rages on, the Tree Planting Project 2014 has embarked on a fight against deforestation through planting trees across five Provinces across Zimbabwe which is inclusive of semi-arid regions, such as Matabeleland. In addition, the near future tends to become bleak if you consider the carbon emissions contributed by pollution, industrial activity and mining as these combined have a more drastic and detrimental effect to human kind unless if we plant trees as a counter act. Currently there are a minimum of 120000 small holder farmers who are involved in a minimum of 1 hectare each of tobacco farming who cannot afford to buy coal which is also in short supply. Each hectare uses approximately 6 cords of firewood per season.
Sustainability underpins the thinking behind our tree planting model. We want our resources to make the greatest possible impact where it’s most needed. We want the communities to assume ownership of the trees and ultimately to take responsibility in solving the problem, therefore the trees are entrusted into the hands of the communities.
We don’t want to burn-out and we believe that we can do more with others than we can alone, so we are involving long-term eco-partners, which means a jointly beneficial relationship for JCI City as well as the organizations we work with.
We have enlisted the following as our partners, Tetrad Tree Foundation, Sol-Vest Agriculture, Zimbabwe National Army, Ministry of Education and Local community boards. Our eco-partners have been serving crucial roles in our bid to attain our goal of 5 million trees, namely Tetrad Tree Foundation that has served as a logistics and technical partner. The Zimbabwe National Army has also been involved in the logistics, mainly in ensuring trees reach their distribution points and to ensure the long-term survival of each tree planting initiative through monitoring. Considering that some of our community points of contact are schools, the Ministry of Education plays a pivotal role in coordination with the relevant stakeholders in those institutions.
Sol-Vest Agriculture has been significant through provision of 20,000 trees which formed part of our initial stock used for launching the project. They produce indigenous tree seedlings of important human health supporting and food producing (fruit) trees with the aim of reducing the impact of deforestation in Zimbabwe. Solvest agriculture is also involved in protecting the environment by practising organic farming.
Tree Planting Project launch
JCI Tree Planting Project was launched on Friday 7th February 2014 at a colourful ceremony held at Chinamano Primary School in Epworth. At the launch a total of 1,500 trees were donated to 15 primary schools across Epworth with all our eco-partners present at the ceremony, namely, Tetrad Tree Foundation, Zimbabwe National Army, Ministry of Education, Sol-Vest Agriculture, Epworth Local Board, Honourable Minister of Harare Metropolitan Province Madam M. Chikukwa and Honourable Ambassador A. Midzi.
This launch was meant to create visibility of JCI City as an organization; with specific emphasis on the tree planting project as this was a first of many other tree planting projects across Zimbabwe. With the magnitude of the project, the tree planting launch was also significant in unifying our existing relationships with our eco-partners and aligning towards meeting our goal of planting 5 million trees across Zimbabwe in 2014.
In conclusion, let join hands in planting trees to bring hope to the hopeless .Our TREES, OUR LIVES, OUR FUTURE
By Michael Tawanda Madzara