Malawi: Innovation key to combatting climate change

Date: September 9, 2014
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Lilongwe, 9 May: “Women bear the greater burden and are the worst affected by adverse climate, including collection of water, firewood and ensuring daily access to food. In addition, the changing demographics as a result of the impacts of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, are leading to women taking up greater responsibilities as sole heads of households and taking care of the sick and orphans.” Amon Lukhele of Outreach Scout Foundation (OSF), an NGO empowering rural women with knowledge and skills in environmental management made this observation at the just ended Malawi SADC Protocol@Work Summit.

In order to deal with the adverse impact of climate change, OSF aims to reduce deforestation and pollution by empowering women with economic development skills while creating employment for unemployed community members. The project indirectly reduces the rate of GBV at family level through reduced women’s dependability on their husbands.

Among the interventions taking place in Traditional Authority Chitekwere’s area, in Lilongwe rural, the community is into manure production, community awareness of climate change, entrepreneurship skills training, making briquettes and waste management.

Lukhele cited a diversity of progressive results, which support the economic link between gender and climate change. Zione Issa said, “The Chimbalanga village head testified that nursery gardens have reduced gender based violence at family level; and Mrs Sande pointed out that briquettes are a good alternative energy sources for cooking at the household level.

To manage the impact of climate change, civil society in Malawi has formed the Civil Society Network on Climate Change (CISONECC), with a goal of building communities resilience to the impacts of climate change. The network focuses interventions on research, policy analysis, lobbying, advocacy, capacity building, information sharing and monitoring and evaluation. In addition, the Centre for Environmental Policy and Advocacy (CEPA) is a public interest organisation that provides advice and conducts research into climate change.

Apart from the government and civil society, the media also has a vital role in alerting citizens on the impacts of climate change. During the summit, gender activist Emma Kaliya, commended the media for highlighting climate change issues. She however pointed out the need for more targeted mass media publicity and civic engagement in the media. She therefore asked government and other stakeholders to support innovative initiatives aimed at combating climate change.


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