PAMZ which Stands for plant a million was initiated by Emanuel Chibesakunda who is currently a Zambian/German business advisor and project manager. Emanuel’s inspiration for the initiative, came from his father who taught him that talent was like a seed which needed to be planted in the right soil to germinate into beautiful fruit. This led to his passion for trees, and especially the involvement of children and young people
The initiative was launched by the Republican President of Zambia, His Excellence Dr. Edgar Lungu in May 2018. Therefore, the initiative marked the beginning of growing money through trees and government stands ready to support it and ensure that it succeeds.
Ecological deterioration, growing population and economic pressure have increased demand for ecological, social, and economic development, forcing people to just take from the environment instead of growing from it. Impacts of climate change, loss of biodiversity, over-use of natural resources and environmental and health issues, are critically linked to issues of poverty and the sustainability of ecosystems, and consequently, issues of resource security and political stability Ecological deterioration: Zambia is at a juncture to start integrating the values of ecosystem services in the
country to improve the management of forests. Zambia has also pledged to contribute to emission reduction in the order of 38,000GgCO2eq by 2030. Therefore, the forest sector has a critical role in contributing to these reductions. Unfortunately, Currently, Zambia loses 250 000 to 300 000 hectares of forest each year, making Zambia one of the most deforested countries in Africa (Zambia National Forest Policy, 2014).
Growing population and economic pressure: Lack of employment for youths has become a matter of serious concern, not only in Zambia but worldwide. About 81 million youths around the world were jobless at the end of 2009 and in 2010 the figure went up to 196 million unemployed youths. This is contained in a United Nations International Labour Organisation (ILO) report published on 11th August 2010. More youths had to return to their parents’ homes in the months following the global economic recession than ever before. Unfortunately, this trend has continued and according to statistics, currently we are talking of 174 million youths around the world are jobless. In Zambia, unemployment rate has increased from 10.88% in 2016 to 11.43% in 2019 (Statista, 2020). Therefore, Plant A Million Zambia (PAM) is one of the blueprints for tackling the above challenges. How? PAM intends to plant as many trees as possible and fight poverty through economic usage of the planted trees, with projected figures of 2 billion by 2030.
Plant A Million is rooted in interlinking the 3Es (Ecology, Economy and Education) to enable sustainable & lasting impacts on people, profits, and the planet. Among others, the initiative will significantly contribute to reducing deforestation which has earned Zambia a bad name of being one of the most deforested countries in Africa because of uncontrolled harvesting of trees. The initiative does not only add value to people’s livelihoods through income from the sale of fruit and other forest products, but also contribute to the country’s ambitious mitigation targets as set in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC). Tree planting plays an important role in addressing impacts of climate change, and mitigating effects of climate change. In this regard, the Zambia Plant A Million initiative is also responding to national efforts of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Mr. Chibesakunda, the Founder of the “Plant a Million” trees initiative, has facilitated partnerships with key Ministries in Zambia, an ever-increasing number of learning institutions, media institutions, and a host of supporters including AGCO (Agriculture Company) Future Farm and Airtel Zambia among others to implement Plant a Million’s objectives. Plant a Million will later manufacture products using its trees (e.g. local fruit juice), ensuring that vast swathes of Zambia’s rural population receive employment and are discouraged from the persistent deforestation that is currently taking place. Lastly, Zambia is the first country in the world to have Environmental Education books (EE) from grade 1 to 12 initiated by PAM. Mr. Chibesakunda envisions Plant A Million as a supranational education tool that will contribute to the battle against climate change whilst empowering Africa simultaneously.