By Mervis Lodzanyama and Sala Banda
Monitoring and Evaluation Program Officer at Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust, Henry Chinthuli, says he is impressed with how the 2022 fire break maintenance-contracted groups are clearing and maintaining the firebreaks.
Chinthuli said this after an eight – day monitoring exercise to over the 750km firebreak network on Mt Mulanje.
“From what I have observed, this year there is improvement in terms of the width of the firebreak and it shows that people have realized how about the firebreaks are, not in environmental conservation efforts only but also to them as individuals who benefit from the mountain” he said.
Chinthuli further pleaded with the other groups to take the activity seriously as their performance also determines their participation in the coming year’s project.
Speaking on behalf of contracted groups and individuals, Chairperson for Mpata Conservation group, John Mwayiwathu explained that the quality of work is motivated by the fact that people are also aware that they are protecting their own resource.
The activity is going on well with most of the workers doing the recommended four meters width of the firebreak. We are not doing this activity for the sake of money and not only to protect the mountain’s species but the reserve is also a source of income and livelihood to surrounding communities,” he said.
Mwayiwathu also pointed out that in addition to commitment, they also followed all firebreak clearing and maintenance instructions that were given during briefing at MMCT.
Firebreak maintenance is a critical exercise that helps to prevent wild fire to spread in the core zones where unique species are harboured. The fire break exercise creates job opportunity for over 800 people annually.