A project to reduce environmental degradation through cash-strapped communities from traditional authorities (T/As) Mponda and Chimwala in Mangochi has been launched in the district.
The project, which is being implemented by a consortium of three non-governmental organisations (NGOs), namely; We Effect, Catholic Development Commission of Malawi (Cadecom) and Organisation for Sustainable Socio-economic Development Initiative (Ossedi), is aimed at addressing environmental problems that culminate in sedimentation in the Shire River Basin.
Speaking during the launch of the project at Majiga Primary School in Chimwala’s area in the district, consortium’s project coordinator Archangel Munthali said the project aims at improving the status of Shire River.
“The project seeks to increase hydro power generation by way of empowering communities through different initiatives,” he said.
Among the initiatives, Munthali said the project wants to economically empower women through business and engage men and women in joint decision-making to ensure sustainable management of natural resources, among others.
“Poverty levels among communities have resulted in them depleting natural forests which would otherwise been prevented if they were empowered, hence, we want to empower the communities,” he explained.
Added Munthali: “We want to contribute towards addressing social and gender constraints and inequalities in communities along the Upper Shire River that prevents sustainable agriculture practices and sustainable management of natural resources. And this can be achieved if we empower vulnerable people from the communities.”
Chimwala hailed the consortium for the project, saying apart from conserving the environment, it will also economically empower his subjects, thereby reducing poverty.
The project is being implemented with financial support from the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA).