Radio and TV Series

Radio and TV Series on Climate Resilience and COVID-19 Prevention

In a series of ten radio shows, YSD Malawi plans to inform the audience in depth about the COVID-19 pandemic and appropriate prevention measures as well as climate resilience and resilient livelihoods during the pandemic. The radio shows are presented on the Channel for All Nations (CAN) Radio at the frequency 101.5 fm in central Malawi on Tuesdays at 20:00 hrs, Wednesdays at 18:30 hrs and Saturdays at 16:30 hrs GMT+2. All episodes will also be published in the original Chichewa version on this website. We will also provide a summary and the topics of the shows in English.

First and Second Episode

Understanding the Complexity of Climate Resilience Amidst COVID-19

Both episodes are presented by Philip Zikanyanga featuring Jekapu Dishani and Joseph K. Sakala as experts from YSD Malawi. The aim of this programme was to establish a foundation of all other programs by helping listeners to understand what climate resilience is all about, its basic concept and how is can be attained among smallholder farmers. The program was based on the following guiding questions:

1. What is climate resilience both in scientific and practical context?
The term climate resilience was defined and clarified with examples both scientifically and practically.

2. How can farmers become climate resilient?
The presenter emphasised that is is possible for smallholder farmers to become resilient to the shocks of climate change. It was explained that farmers can become resilient if they implement strategies aimed at the following aspects: soil management such as applying manure, crop rotation and others; water management strategies like pit farming, conservation agriculture, box ridges etc.; pest and disease prevention and control strategies (indigenous ways are encouraged); using resistant crop varieties such as cassava; not relying on only one crop (crop diversification).

3. The approach of YSD Malawi to help farmers attain climate resilience
YSD uses a unique approach to help the smallholder farmers attain climate resilience. First of all, the farmers are trained to help them to understand the concept of climate resilience, why it is important and strategies they can use to attain it. Then a "'learning by doing approach" is used to help them implement the strategies. In this approach, a demonstration site is established where farmers are able to learn different approach and later implement them in their individual fields.

4. How has COVID-19 affected the implementation of climate resilience among smallholder farmers?
The pandermic has affected the implementation of climate resilience initiatives in a number of ways as follows: COVID-19 has restricted gatherings whereby it is becoming impossible for an NGO that works with farmers to go into the field and conduct its activities. Farmers who are organised in groups are not meeting to discuss and work together in initiatives which would help them attain climate resilience. For example, farmers who do irrigation activities together as a club are no longer doing it in fear of transmitting the corona virus. At individual level, farmers have been affected psychologically: Instead of fearing climate change, the corona virus has taken their attention and hence they are not focusing much on climate resilience initiatives. Farmers are finding it difficult to search for good markets. Hence, they are selling their crops are low prices.

5. The way forward – What should be done for farmers to still attain climate resilience amidst COVID-19?
First of all, it was recommended that new ways that will assist in passing information from organisations or other institutions to farmers without physical interaction should be developed and encouraged. Farmers should consider COVID-19 as any other permanent disease and should accept and learn to live with it while taking all precautions to avoid contracting the disease.

Third Episode

Environmental Conservation Amidst COVID-19

This episodes are presented by Philip Zikanyanga featuring Bonface Phiri and Joseph K. Sakala as experts from YSD Malawi. This program was designed to help listeners understand how some climate resilience enablers, such as environmental conservation, have been affected by COVID-19 and how this can have a bearing on smallholder farmers.
The program was guided by the following questions:

1. What impacts has COVID-19 brought to the Environment?
It was explained that although research is underway to determine the effects of COVID-19 on the environment, the following were some of the issues that came out: The rate of deforestation might increase. COVID-19 has caused economic challenges among most poor rural households. Those households near forests might be forced to rely or forests or their products as a source of living through firewood and charcoal selling which might increase deforestation activities. Concerning wildlife management, the tourism industry has been greatly affected by lockdowns and travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has decreased the income of the owners of the tourism industry which might also affect conservation activities of forests and wildlife. Regarding the use of masks, research is underway to determine the effects of use of masks on the environment. Those masks that are made from non-biodegradable materials have the potential to negatively affect the environment. The coming of COVID-19 has resulted in stopping the implementation of environmental management strategies either by organisations or government institutions.

2. Can the problems brought by COVID-19 have a bearing on smallholder farmers and if so how?
Yes, the problems that COVID-19 has brought about can directly or indirectly affect the smallholder farmers. For example increased deforestation has an effect on rainfall pattern which can affect rainfed agriculture. On the other hand, the same deforestation can increase run-off whereby increasing the risk of floods and this can have a bearing on smallholder farmers. There is also a link between environmental degradation and climate change. It is noted scientifically that increased environmental degradation accelerates climate change. Therefore, there is likelihood of increased climate change shocks as a result of mismanagement of environmental resouces making it difficult for a smallholder farmer to become resilient to these shocks. So, there are many ways a smallholder farmer can be impacted if there is a mismanagement.

Fourth Episode

Challenges Posed on Forests Amidst COVID-19

Forests help preserve water which is also an important resource amidst Covid-19 pandemic. The following are some of the challenges that have been posed on the forests amidst Covid-19:
– Due to Covid-19, meetings aimed at enhancing protection of forests have been restricted and even stopped completely, a development that has led to increased destruction of forests by those who do so.
– Due to Covid-19, there is a decreased work force in institutions that encourage protection of forests hence there is a decreased monitoring of activities that take place around forests. This has in turn also led to the increased damage and destruction to forests.
– It is helpful to strengthen cooperatives in nature conservation activities.

Fifth Episode

Natural Resources Management Amidst COVID-19

– Good nature entails good climate and environment for ecological food production.
– As citizens, we all have a responsibility of managing natural resources.
– As citizens, we all need to have an awareness of ownership of the natural resources present in our country as this is an important factor in the management of natural resources.
– By-laws can also help in proper management of natural resources.

Sixth Episode

Wildlife Conservation Challenges Amidst COVID-19

– Money that would work to conserve wildlife is now working to fight Covid-19
– Health of the people who would work to conserve wildlife is at risk of contracting Covid-19 and its preventive measures are restricting those workers from going to work.
– In the end wildlife gets out of control and feeds on the smallholder farms in search of food, in such cases the farmers pay the price at the end.

Seventh Episode

Challenges Facing Fisheries Amidst COVID-19

– Fish farming is considered among climate resilient pathways that helps strengthen the farmers’ stability socioeconomically.
– Covid-19 has decreased the demand for fish which can make fishers to resort to others ways of earning a living some of which are not environmental friendly.
– Covid-19 has decreased the freedom to work in groups as fishers and fish sellers at fish markets since Covid-19 has led to restrictions on the number of people that can work together as a group.

Eighth Episode

Fisheries Management Amidst COVID-19

– Covid-19 has led to a decrease in the number of fishers at the lake a development which has a positive result of increasing the fish population in the lake.
– During Covid-19, fishers are encouraged to use the recommended sizes of nets as a way of managing the fisheries resources.
– During Covid-19, fishers are encouraged not to use fishing methods that are not environmental friendly.

Ninth Episode

Vulnerability of Agricultural Water Sources Amidst COVID-19

– Good access and quality of water is essential for a vibrant natural ecosystem and sustainable ecological farming
– Poverty during Covid-19 has forced some people to engage in collection of sand along river banks for sell which in turn has a negative effect on the water sources which are important for agricultural use and an important resource as far as the aquatic ecosystem is concerned e.g. serving as a habitat for aquatic life.
– In the end, the situation gets more and more complex as the water which is a supporting system for ecosystems and most forms of agriculture is compromised.

Tenth Episode

Emissions & Mining Threats Accelerated Amidst COVID-19

– The resilience of smallholder farmers becomes challenging in a worsening climate. Among other, fossil fuel extraction projects makes the fight against climate change more difficult and longer than it should be.
– Accelerated emissions and mining can lead to an increased destruction of fisheries resources due to oil spillage leading to death of fish. This has a negative effect on the economy of the people living close to the lake as fish create employment and are a source of income to them.
– This will also affect farmers’ cooperatives that resort into fish business as an alternative pathway to crop production.

Eleventh Episode

Environmental Governance Amidst COVID-19

“The environment is our national treasure”, the president of Malawi said.
– Multi-sectoral approach on environmental affairs needed.
– District councils cannot attend to every environmental issue hence the need to involve the private sector.
– To have a national response on environmental affairs there is need to consolidate the public sector with the private sector ideas.
– Need to start locally and then consolidate at international level.
– The people involved in the task force should not just have knowledge on environmental issues but also have a practical experience on these environmental issues.

Twelfth Episode

Waste Management Amidst COVID-19

– The city council has collaborated with other private companies to help in the collection of waste in the city.
– The city council is planning on open a new land fill apart from the one that is already there.
– The council with councilors regularly engage in clean up exercises and also support others who are doing the same.

YSD's radio and TV series on the Malawian "Channel for All Nations" will continue in 2021. We currently plan to have 20 episodes overall.