Mangochi Communities Adapt to Climate Change

Mulanje, Malawi is one country that has been heavily hit by the effects of climate change ranging from droughts, dry spells and unreliable rainfall patterns among others.

For this reason, government and other development partners are undertaking several initiatives across the country in a quest to make sure people bear fewer burdens of the effects of climate change.

In Katema Village, Traditional Authority Mponda in Mangochi, a village grouping under the name Stambuli, through their Area Development Committee, teamed up to construct a multipurpose dam.

This was aimed at enabling themselves to venture into fish and irrigation farming so that they become food-secure as the area usually has unreliable rainfall patterns.

The community, with the help from the district council through the Climate Proofing Project, has constructed a dam with a capacity of 35, 000 cubic metres, which according to chairperson for Stambuli Dam Sad Yusuf, will benefit people from five surrounding villages.

He said the construction of the dam is a big milestone to overcoming poverty and food insecurity to communities surrounding the dam.

This dam has come at the right time as our area mostly has intermittent rainfall. With the fish and irrigation farming we are venturing into, our lives will definitely never be the same as we will be self-reliant and not looking out to the government for assistance, explained Yusuf.

The project has also equipped another farmers’ group in the area which ventured into irrigation farming with a high technological solar power system, pumping water from Mtamankhokwe River which is enabling the group to irrigate their crops on a 5.2- hector land.

One of the farmers, Gladys Mchiteni, said the development has greatly improved their livelihoods.

She said they are able to grow crops three times a year where after good yields, every member of the scheme is able to get six bags of maize among other crops that are grown.

An Environmental Officer from the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining, Patrick Mkwapatira, said Climate Proofing is a community resilience-building project where communities are equipped with skills in natural resources management and agriculture as these are major sources of livelihoods.

He said these are deliberate measures to make sure people do not only rely on rains for farming activities.

As you know, Malawi heavily relies on rainfall for agricultural activities and sometimes it is unreliable because of climate change.

This is why there is this project coming in to help people be able to cope with and adapt to climate changes by giving them skills such as these to enable them grow crops more than once in a year, said Mkwapatira.

Climate Proofing is a global environmental facility and UNDP- funded project under the Environmental Affairs Department aimed at building community resilience to the many effects of climate change.

Source: MANA Online