WITH combined efforts to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining and restoring the ecosystem in and around the Zambezi River catchment area, Stanbic Bank and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have partnered in planting 10,000 trees aimed at securing the Lower Zambezi.
For Stanbic, this commitment comes a long way as the bank had pledged to plant a tree for each ticket sold for the 2023 Stanbic Music Festival which featured American three times Grammy award winner, Ne-yo who performed for at the two nights show, making the event tremendously successful.
But aside the 10, 000 trees, Stanbic will also be launching a documentary that demonstrates the scale of the threat the source of the river faces as human activities and climate change are together affecting the ecological balance of an area rich in flora, fauna and wildlife
In a statement to mark the continuation of the campaign which is running into its second year, Stanbic Head Brand and Marketing, Erick Ngondo, said the bank together with WWF aim to restore the source of the Zambezi by working with the community to plant trees and conduct awareness activities.
The initiative is called, ‘Lets Secure the Zambezi’.
Speaking during the announcement, Stanbic Chief Executive, Mwindwa Siakalima said that the Let’s Secure the Zambezi campaign is a critical initiative that falls under the CSR portfolio urging that the planting of these trees is crucial to effectively counter the effects of climate change.
“We have all witnessed the extreme weather patterns in recent years, where we have either prolonged drought, heightened flooding, or unusually high temperatures. These have all been attributed to the effects of climate change. It is indisputable that our planet is getting hotter,” said Siakalima.
Further, he said the Lower Zambezi is an area that is naturally rich that it is tentatively listed as a possible world heritage site under UNESCO, noting that it is an urgent need of rescue and the people who live there need alternative means with which to subsist.
“This is why Stanbic and WWF, among others, felt it necessary to raise awareness around this issue, which is of national and international significance, as the planting trees will help combat climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions and bringing an increased supply of oxygen into our ecosystem.” He said.
Meanwhile, WWF Zambia Country Director, Nachilala Nkombo, said there is urgent need to secure the Zambezi as the campaign will limit the damage of deforestation in Ikelenge District and the surrounding area & promote environmental conservation.
She added that the second phase of the campaign, will engage a broader group of stakeholders, who include the local schools and residents of the area, with exciting activities all aimed at preserving the natural environment and ecosystem an activity that can only be actualised with the involvement of the community.
“The local, indigenous population in and around Ikelenge District are on the frontlines of this battle and enormous task of protecting and preserving the source of the Zambezi River- the lifeblood of our economy. Every sector of the economy is affected by this precious water resource. We have to act now to counter deforestation and change the course of how climate change is affecting our ecosystem. We look forward to planting the trees at the Zambezi River source next month in our collective effort of environmental conservation and water stewardship,” she said.
By Buumba Mwitumwa