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Empowering communities through climate change interventions

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Climate change presents the biggest threat to sustainable development everywhere and its widespread, unprecedented impacts disproportionately burden the poorest and most vulnerable.

One of Adapt Plan initiatives in Nkhatabay district One of Adapt Plan initiatives in Nkhatabay district

Looking at how climate change effects are impacting on the living standards of people, the Environmental Affairs Department with support from UNDP is implementing Adapt Plan Project in the districts of Nkhata Bay, Ntcheu and Zomba.


According to Deputy Director of Environmental Affairs, Micheal Makonombera, the 5 year pilot project aims at strengthening awareness and ownership of adaptation and climate change risk reduction processes at local level. He said through the project a number of climate change adaptation initiatives are rolled out as part of empowering communities.


“The objective of the project is to reduce the vulnerability of rural communities to the adverse impacts of climate change in Malawi,” said Makonombera.


He added that Adapt Plan Project is targeting about 5, 800 households and the project is in line with MDGS III supporting government’s key priority areas on climate change, natural resources and environment.


The project use community based adaptation approach to identify activities that communities can participate in. CBA allows communities to choose an activity in their context which they feel can help to build resilience and adaptation.


Despite significant political will and commitment in addressing climate change in Malawi, some barriers exist. These barriers include poor policy, implementation as well as technical capacity challenges and knowledge gaps. The barriers are exacerbated by cross-sectoral nature of climate change.


Some of the initiatives in the three districts include fish farming (in ponds), bee keeping, irrigation using solar systems, and livestock farming.

Local communities are involved through clubs. They told members of the press during the tour that as the environment is critically changing, the adaptation options by Adapt Plan have proved to be effective in natural resources management.


Samson Nyirenda: We are benefiting a lot from the project


“Adapt Plan gave us pigs; and now we use dung for farming. Manure from pigs has improved the soil structure (aggregation) and the soil is more fertile,” said Samson Nyirenda Chairperson of Tikolesyane piggery group in Nkhata Bay.


The Adapt Plan Project originates out of recognition that, without significant climate change adaptation efforts, the risks posed by climate change will undermine years of development in Malawi.

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