Climate Resilient Communities in Malawi

In Malawi, 80% of the population are small scale farmers and they depend on subsistence farming for their livelihood. The economy is therefore strongly based on the agricultural sector. Climate change is challenging the agricultural production and the vulnerability of small scale farmers is increasing due to extreme events and unpredictable dry periods. Maize is the main diet, mainly cultivated from hybrid seeds and is highly vulnerable to climate change. In the last four to five years it was be observed in many Malawian communities that subsistence farming was no longer sufficient to provide families throughout the year. Purchasing additional food became necessary. Further, natural resources are being depleted, especially in the project region around Central Malawi. Deforestation has led to a significant decrease in trees which are used for firewood and because space is needed for agricultural production and housing. Loss of natural resources is accompanied by biodiversity loss and a shift in microclimates which changes the local ecosystems. In combination with climate change related extreme events, like heavy rainfall and dry periods, the increase in droughts and floods is further amplified through deforestation. The livelihood of the rural population is therefore highly threatened.

The project’s aim is to build climate resilient and food sovereign communities and at the same time increase the stability of the ecosystems. The climate resilient communities should cultivate a diversity of crops, thereby being food sovereign and protecting nature through ecological farming practices. The project started in February 2017 with the project „Small scale farmer’s capacity building in climate change”. YSD conducted capacity building workshops in several communities in Malawi on the topic of climate change adaptation in agriculture. With 5 selected communities the project was continued in a second project phase with the project “Building climate resilient communities”. From September 2018 to 2019 YSD supported five communities on their way to become climate resilient communities. The communities implemented organic and climate resilient farming practices and developed risk management strategies. Since December 2019 the third project has started: „Food sovereignity and socio-economic resilience for climate adaptation”.

The project is funded by the BINGO! Umweltlotterie since 2017. Thank you very much for the support!