Honorary Consuls pivotal in helping raise awareness, attracting local and international donors
Monday, 2 March, 2020. Zomba, Malawi
The Honorary Consuls of Malaysia and Italy in Malawi have partnered Mlambe Health and Social Trust (MhEST) in its campaign to plant 1 million trees within 5 years in Zomba district.
MhEST, a Zomba-based charitable organisation rolled out the initiative in February with a two-week tree planting campaign working with 137 Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) to plant 50,000 fruit and indigenous seedlings before hosting an extraordinary event at T/A Mwambo, GVH Mandota, Pirimiti on Sunday, 1st March 2020 for donors to a get hands-on planting opportunity.
The two Honorary Consuls are playing a significant role in publicising the initiative within and outside the country, raising awareness as well as canvassing for donations in support of reforestation village by village.
The Honorary Consul of Malaysia Ahmed Sunka said: “I am honoured to be part of the MhEST tree planting initiative. What really caught my attention is that the planting is not just to grow trees but to restore livelihoods in the communities as most trees will be fruit bearing which can be a means of food and income.
“We have had overwhelming response and this has been proven by the fact that we have jointly managed to raise much more than the initial target of 50,000 trees.
“The MhEST team has done an outstanding job from the day we started working together especially the transparency, dedication and speed at which this project has been rolled out.
Personally I have been impressed and look forward to continued partnership for further projects to benefit fellow mankind.”
The Honorary Consul of Italy Grazia Bargellini Bizzaro stated: “it is very important for me because I believe reforestation is a crucial step to solving the environmental problem in Malawi.
“The response has been very encouraging. I’ve noticed that when approaching people for donations, most of them are very concerned about the environment and are pleased to make a contribution for such an important cause. I believe there is a lot to do and I would love to assist as much as I can.”
Zomba District Commissioner (DC) Raphael Piringu said: “We’re trying to encourage the communities in the sense that when planting the other trees, they should combine with the fruits for their income so that they should not be travelling a long distance just to look for these fruits.
“We’re also encouraging them to look after these trees and also involve the youth so that they should at least follow the good examples.”
MhEST Executive Director Dr. Zahra Ismail remarked: “We reflect on this campaign as a pleasant surprise and encouragement, humbled by the tremendous public response which has seen nearly 65,000 seedlings donated and planted; Our donors have ranged from school children to High ranking officials, individuals, families and friends; organisations, business community and Government departments.”
MhEST Technical Director Grace Makonyola added: “We wish to thank all who have donated to make this possible and reassure them that MhEST will work diligently alongside Community Based Organisations to care for and protect the planted seedlings while ensuring optimum survival rates.
We also take this opportunity to extend our special gratitude to the two Honorary Consuls and Zomba District Commissioner for their enthusiasm and mentorship.
“We look forward to continued positive collaboration with all of you as we follow these trees and others in a bid to stem the negative impact of climate change on the health of all of us.”
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About Mlambe Health and Social Trust
Mlambe Health and Social Trust (MhEST) is a registered charitable organisation based in Zomba, Malawi. MhEST aims at collaborating with government, partners, communities and individuals to enhance collective impact and deliver innovative, cost-effective interventions to alleviate vulnerability, suffering and poverty on young people, the elderly and those requiring palliative care.