TUSK AWARD FOR CONSERVATION IN AFRICA FINALIST 2018
When Force Ngwira was once a direct contributor to the deforestation of Malawi as a successful woodcarver he made curios for tourists for fifteen years. As the number of woodcarvers around Nkhata Bay on the central western shores of the lake grew, he realised that his business was unsustainable, and soon there would be no trees left for his children. He took the initiative and at the age of 19, formed The Wood Carvers’ Association where he oversaw the planting of 27,000 trees.
As the Country Director of RIPPLE Africa, Force has developed his passion for the environment and ability to work with people at all levels to achieve long-term sustainable change. Working with 150 fulltime staff and 4,000 volunteers he manages a series of environmental regeneration programmes focused on fish conservation and tree planting projects. In addition, the fuel-efficient stove, Changu Changu Moto (meaning ‘fast fast fire’ in Chichewa), was partly Ngwira’s invention, successfully reducing fuel needed for cooking by two thirds.
We never used to think about tomorrow, but I kow that we have to start thinking about tomorrow because we will need natural resources for all the tomorrows to come.
Working village by village, in collaboration with communities, Force and his team have planted over eight million trees. Through the RIPPLE Africa Fish for Tomorrow project, he is helping communities to manage their fish resource sustainably along a 300km length of Lake Malawi.
Force has come full circle and is now a dedicated Malawian environmental activist. It has not been an easy, simple nor straight forward journey but Force’s dedication to overcome challenges; to educate and empower local communities; to encourage his fellow Malawians to be equally committed to conserving their environment has made him, quite literally, a Force of Nature!