The collapse of Zimbabwe’s agricultural production, as well as population growth, has led to significant forest degradation. This has impacted strongly on native ecosystems, which could no longer be managed sustainably. About 3% of Northern Zimbabwe’s forest cover has been lost per year and wildlife populations have partially collapsed. On the other hand, Zimbabwe now has one of the world’s lowest Human Development Index scores – which made the starting point for the Kariba project.
Its aim is to reduce deforestation and forest degradation through a range of activities proposed by local communities and financed by project supporters. These include the establishment of nutritional gardens, conservation agriculture, promotion of efficent cookstoves, forest fire prevention and management, and enhanced wildlife conservation. There is also direct support in the provision of basic equipment needed for the administration and management of the project, such as computers, printers, uniforms for community guards and bridge repairs.
Locals are supported in setting up their own sustainable businesses that allow a living in line with conservational requirements. This includes low-emissions brick making, native fruit tree cultivation and establishment of beekeeping, with honey sales contributing to family incomes.