Project Concern International (PCI) plans to rehabilitate part of the 35-kilometre stretch of Liwonde National Park to protect people whose lives are being endangered by stray elephants.
PCI project manager for Balaka, William Kawenda said during a briefing with the district executive committee over the weekend. He disclosed that the organisation has set aside K5 million (about $13 888) for the project.
“Every year, stray elephants kill people and or destroy crops. We would like to erect an electrified wire perimeter fence to protect lives and crops of the people around the park,” said Kawenda.
He further said that at least 10 000 households from areas of Traditional Authorities Kalembo, Amidu, Sawali, Kachenga and Msamala are expected to benefit.
The work is expected to take three months. It will involve replacing damaged wire and erecting metal poles. According to Kawenda, PCI will provide labour, procure and install solar panels so the wire fence is electrified while the park will provide other equipment.
“We will employ at least 500 people who will work on a cash-for-work basis and they will be receiving K300 daily,” said Kawenda.
Research officer for Liwonde National Park, Blessings Nsikuwanga commended PCI for the initiative, saying this will provide safety to people around the area.
Liwonde National Park is surrounded by Balaka, Machinga and Mangochi districts where stray elephants cause havoc especially in areas that do not have an electrified perimeter fence. Last year alone, elephants killed four people and damaged eight hectares of crops of maize in Balaka.