Community takes initiative
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CTA. 2001. Community takes initiative. Spore 92. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/46115
Internet URL: http://spore.cta.int/images/stories/pdf/old/spore92.pdf
The communities of the wetland and catchment area of Lake Chilwa, Malawi s second biggest lake and largest producer of fish, are engaged in a community based project to conserve the ecosystem of this inland drainage lake which dried up in 1997. In...
The communities of the wetland and catchment area of Lake Chilwa, Malawi s second biggest lake and largest producer of fish, are engaged in a community based project to conserve the ecosystem of this inland drainage lake which dried up in 1997. In partnerships with government agencies, NGOs and community based organisations, the communities have used needs-based approaches to set up micro-community groups to draw up concrete plans for managing soil, trees and fish resources. The lake is important at a macro-level too. It used to contribute 20 percent of the nation s catch, all the more significant because fish is the only affordable source of protein to poor people, who form over 60 percent of the population. The Lake Chilwa wetland is Malawi s only listed site under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance. Apart from fish it supports large populations of other specific plant and animal species such as water fowls. The inland drainage lake has a maximum depth of less than six metres; it is this shallowness which contributed to its drying up, alongside coastal agriculture including rice and maize. Farming practices have been reviewed and farmer experiences exchanged through micro-projects. Now alert monitoring by beach village committees is succeeding in curbing overfishing, and other local watchdog bodies are cutting back on deforestation. This is being helped by reforestation work with seedlings provided by the community s financial partner, the Danish development agency Danida. [caption to illustration] All hands on deck to save a lake