Project Concern International (PCI) says one of the achievements of its Njira-Pathways Project in Balaka and Machinga was assisting communities in the two districts to restore about 52 hectares (ha) degraded by floods.
Speaking on Monday at Chatama Village in Traditional Authority (T/A) Amidu in Balaka during a media tour of its projects, PCI chief of party Michael Ghebrab said they dug six-metre deep wells on the river’s one kilometre stretch (dredging) to prevent flooding.
He said the initiative has enabled communities to resume farming activities on the once abandoned land and this has increased sustainable food security and community resilience.
“This is one of our biggest successes. Such a big piece of land has become productive again after 15 years. The initiative has also reduced the people’s vulnerability to floods.
“It has also decreased community susceptibility to waterborne diseases such as cholera,” Ghebrab said.
Chatama Village Development Committee chairperson Wasili Mtwana said Chilanga River has been flooding the area since the 1980s displacing people and destroying livestock and property.
The five-year (2014-2019) $30 million project, funded by United States Agency for International Development, has established 60 irrigation schemes and sustainable linkages for about 80 000 people.
Every year, Chilanga River floods due to silting thereby washing away of fertile land abandoned by communities for 15 years.