Mapopa Munthari was one of the lucky ones to finish secondary education. However, the lack of opportunities meant that, even with an education, he turned to the illegal charcoal buying and selling business. For the past 11 years he has been transporting several bags of charcoal each day to the city, but after his bike was confiscated he said, “I was sad and frustrated as my bike had been taken and I knew this would lead to financial struggle. My wife cried, but Ripple Africa has educated me on the importance of conservation not just for my future but my child’s too. I believe it was fair that my bike was taken as I have learnt a lesson. If I had just had the charcoal bags confiscated, I would have continued to transport more charcoal in the future. Now I know that there is a very important relationship between humans and trees.”
Mapopa turned to coppicing his trees for firewood, and in September 2019 he was offered a job with Ripple Africa on its Forest Conservation and Tree Planting project – and he is already showing great promise.