Kariba Forest Protection

Saving forests, protecting wildlife and changing lives


In recent decades, Zimbabwe has suffered from political and economic turbulence. With limited economic opportunities, desperate communities have delved deeper into the forests, clearing it for subsistence farming and fuelwood. More than a third of Zimbabwe's majestic forests have been lost. Creating further instability for people with already precarious livelihoods.

Forest Protection

Sustainable Development Goals

1. No Poverty

USD 249,000+ income generated

by the local community from beekeeping, moringa tree and community garden sales

2. Zero Hunger

18 nutritional gardens set up

are increasing food security

3. Good Health and Well-Being

14 health clinics supported

with safe drinking water

4. Quality Education

18,000+ people

attending 430 workshops on project-related activities, such as nutritional gardening and beekeeping to date

6. Clean Water and Sanitation

37,000 people

have access to safe drinking water, thanks to 147 boreholes being repaired

8. Decent work and economic growth

22 Permanent jobs

created thanks to the project

9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

USD 57,000+ spent

on supporting health clinics and schools

13. Climate Action

3,620,000 tonnes of CO2e

mitigated on average each year since the project started in 2011

15. Life on land

784,987 hectares

of forest protected

17. Partnerships for the goals

International partnerships

between local communities, national and international organisations and carbon experts to deliver sustainable, long-term benefits.

The Solution

The Kariba Project protects almost 785,000 hectares of forests and wildlife on the southern shores of Lake Kariba, near the Zimbabwe-Zambia border. One of the largest registered REDD+ projects by the area, it connects four national parks and eight safari reserves, forming a giant biodiversity corridor that protects an expansive forest and numerous vulnerable and endangered species – including the African elephant, lion, hippo, lappet-faced vulture, and southern ground hornbill. As well as this, the project implements numerous community-focused initiatives detailed below.


By using the conservation farming method, our community members are able to earn an income from the sunflower seeds and there's no waste: the stalks are used as fences around the homesteads.

Otilla Makanjera, Farmer at the Kariba project


Africa is known for some of the most impressive and awe-inspiring wildlife migrations in the world – Kariba provides a safe wildlife corridor between safari and nature reserves.


Givas Chisaka, part of the Carbon Green Africa Project Monitoring Team, is carrying out a plot monitoring field visit in Nyaminyami RDC


Elephants migrate through the project area to Mozambique. While wildlife is a welcome sight, to keep it at a safe distance, local people use strings of chilis or prickly knob thorn to deter elephants from coming into the crop fields.


With forest-friendly beekeeping people can earn money from selling honey, so they are less reliant on other income-generating activities that may harm the forest!


The Impact

Kariba is a community-based project, administered by the four local Rural District Councils (RDCs) of Binga, Nyaminyami, Hurungwe and Mbire. As such, the project supports a range of activities beyond environmental protection, promoting the independence and wellbeing of these communities. Improved clinic amenities provide better healthcare, infrastructure including new roads and boreholes improve daily life, and school subsidies are offered to the poorest quartile of the population. Project activities in conservation agriculture, community gardens, beekeeping training, fire management, and ecotourism create jobs and facilitate sustainable incomes, benefiting the entire region.


So far so good, communities highly appreciated the Kariba programme.

Luke Kalavina, Chief of Hurungwe Rural District Council


Project progress


Project progress

Fresh hope for communities in northern Zimbabwe

The community-led forest protection project is set up in 2011 to protect this incredible swathe of miombo and mopane forest by empowering communities to become more resilient to the effects of a changing climate.


Project progress

Award season!

Three years after launch, the Kariba project is recognised as a finalist in the 2014 UNCCD's Land for Life Award and UNDP's Equator Prize 2014. These are very positive signs so early in the project.


Project progress

Why I get out of bed in the morning

What motivates you at work? For us it's seeing the tangible changes our projects are creating together with local communities in the face of a changing climate that is bringing severe drought to already vulnerable regions.


Project progress

An important milestone

The Kariba project completes it's 4th successful verification under one of the world's leading carbon standard, Verified Carbon Standards (VCS) and CCBS Gold Level accreditations, Climate Change Adaptation Benefits and Exceptional Biodiversity benefits! Every 2-3 years the project and its impacts are audited by an independent third-party.


Project progress

Overcoming a challenging year

Global temperatures soared and emissions continued to rise, despite the pandemic. Yet, commitment to tackle climate change gained momentum. Not only have the communities survived the pandemic, they have thrived. See the 2020 impact report.


Project progress

Happy 10th Birthday Kariba!

The end of 2021 brought with it an exciting milestone in the Kariba Forest Protection project's lifetime… It's 10th birthday! A decade of protecting forests, reducing emissions, preserving biodiversity and empowering local communities deserves to be celebrated. Read the project's 10 year anniversary report here to learn more about what has made it such a success.

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Project ID: 300990