Mangochi Communities Building Climate Change Resilience

Mangochi Communities Building Climate Change Resilience

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

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

In Katema Village, Traditional Authority Mponda in Mangochi, a village group, under the name Stambuli and through their Area Development Committee, teamed up in constructing a multipurpose dam with the aim of venturing into fish and irrigation farming to help them become food secure as the area usually has unreliable rainfall patterns.

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

Yusuf said the construction of the dam is a big milestone to overcoming poverty and food insecurity in the 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 to the government for assistance.” explained Yusuf.

The project has also equipped another irrigation farming farmers group in the area with a high technological solar power system pumping water from Mtamankhokwe River which has enabling the group to irrigate their crops on about 5.2 hectares of land.

One of the farmers, Gladys Mchiteni, said this has greatly improved the group's livelihoods as 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 the climate proofing is a community resilience building kind of project whereby 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 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 hence the 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 to grow crops more than once in a year,” said Mkwapatira.

Climate proofing is a Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-funded project under the Environmental Affairs Department aimed at building community resilience to the many effects of climate change.