MTEKA ZOKOMA GREEN INITIATIVE-A Community Driven Social Enterprise

March 13, 2021




For many years indigenous forests in Mtenguleni area of chief Madzimawe have played a key role in the livelihoods of the community. For many years communities have harvested indigenous fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, herbal medicines, fodder, fuelwood, small mammals, and building materials from their indigenous forests.

Over the years the local forests have been over-exploited leading to near extinction of many useful floral and faunal species. River catchment areas have been deforested and degraded leading to the siltation and drying up of many rivers and dams which were once the main sources of water for vegetable growing and domestic use. Today the communities in Mtenguleni area are increasingly finding it difficult to cope with the increased frequency of Climate Change. Their archaic farming and livelihood practices can no longer sustain them. Women and girls have to travel long distances to fetch firewood and other useful forest products which were once readily available within their reach. The indigenous fruits that once provided nutritional supplements are no longer readily available.

Who are Mteka Zokoma Green Initiative?

Mteka Zokoma Green Initiative is a recently formed not-for-profit organisation whose mission is to empower local communities with necessary knowledge and skills to enable them manage their natural resource capital for sustainable livelihoods. We work with local communities to support their efforts in regenerating and restoring degraded and deforested indigenous forest ecosystems in a way that promotes environmental resilience and sustainable livelihoods. Our overarching goal is to promote sustainable livelihood options that increase environmental resilience and enhance the capacity of the community to cope with the effects of Climate Change. We place emphasis on Climate Smart Agriculture, which promotes among other things, Conservation farming, Agroforestry and Integrated Soil Fertility Management practices. We support beneficiary communities in establishing village based tree nurseries which they use to regenerate their once thriving indigenous forests. We promote self-regulating community management structures to improve monitoring and accountability.

What are our main Activities

  • Promotion of climate smart/conservation farming practices such as use of agroforestry, crop rotation, crop diversification, use of compost and animal manures and preserving of crop reduce to increase soil fertility
  • Working with communities to control of bush fires
  • Conducting Community sensitisation on environmental conservation
  • Planting trees and promoting regeneration of indigenous forest regeneration. This season we’ve planted Red Mahogany and Musangu trees.

  • Beekeeping within our protected community forests to improve community livelihoods (we are yet to find an ideal partner for this activity)
  • Empowering local women with energy efficient cooking stoves to reduce on the use of firewood. This will significantly improve the health of women by reducing the inhaling of smoke by the women during preparation of their meals. We are looking to partner with the Zambia Integrated Forest landscape Project (ZIFLP)on this activities

Our Area of operation

Our geographical area of operation is within Mtenguleni area,in the newly created Kasenengwa district. This is a densely populated area comprising of 15 villages and settlements with an estimated population of more that 15,000 people. The people of the area irk their living from rain-fed agriculture. Those settled along the Trans-eastern highway are also involved in some form of commerce and trading like grain marketing, grocery shops and other small scale SMEs.

The natural environment in Mtenguleni area has for many years been degraded due to rampant deforestation and forest degradation. Agriculture, fuel-wood and expanding human settlement have been the major causes of this degradation. Many of the previously lush indigenous woodland forests in the area have now been reduced to mere shrubs. The once thriving riverine forests have been decimated leaving the rivers and dams exposed to excess siltation and drying. This has inadvertently increased the community’s vulnerability to the effects of Climate Change. Women and girls have borne the larger share of the negative impact of this environmental degradation as they are the ones who have to walk long distances to fetch firewood.

Our Partnerships

Mteka Zokoma Green Initiative has partnered with communities and the tradition leadership in the area who share our dream. Chief Gogo Madzimawe, in whose domain Mtenguleni lies, has issued royal instructions to prohibit the unlawful cutting of trees around the villages and farming areas. Since this royal edict was passed a few the area has witnessed a slow but significant increase indigenous forest regeneration and recovery around each village. A number of edible fruits trees which had nearly become decimated are slowly beginning to thrive again. Green zones around each village are slowly beginning to emerge. The regeneration of these indigenous forests has increased the prospects of community members engaging in sustainable livelihoods such as beekeeping and other non-timber forest livelihoods. Mteka Zokoma GI will also be entering into partnerships with other community-based and environmentally friendly organisations such as World Vision, Community Markets for Conservation (COMACO) and Good Nature Agro who operate in the same area.

Our anticipated impact

We anticipate that in the next few years we should begin to see the following evidences of change in the community

  1. Indigenous forests regenerated and restored and communities engaged in beekeeping and other non-timber forest livelihood options to raise incomes
  1. Women and girls using energy serving stoves for their cooking. This will improve their health and enable them to spend more time on other economic activities
  2. As the indigenous forests are regenerated and restored, there will be more and more indigenous fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, etc, for the enjoyment and health of communities. Some of these products fruits will be sold to raise funds for other household uses. In fact community members are already harvesting indigenous fruits for sell from community protected forests
  3. River catchment areas will be restored and wetland areas recharged. This will make more water available for communities to grow their vegetables and graze their cattle. This will improve their nutrition and financial status
  4. Communities will learn to live in harmony with their environment and seek to pass on the conservancy legacy to future generations
  5. Communities will practice climate smart farming practices leading to increased yields. This will increase their resilience against the impact of Climate Change
  1. Women in the community utilising energy-efficient stoves for their cooking, leading to improved quality of life. Girls will spend more of their time on their education instead of fetching firewood and water
  2. Enhanced agricultural and forest ecosystem resilience


Our Management and Coordination structure

Mteka Zokoma Green Initiative is managed by Mteka Zokoma Gardeners Cooperative Society Limited, an entity registered under the Cooperative Society’s Act. A volunteer Coordinator is responsible for the technical aspects of the Cooperative group



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