In Central Malawi, nestled below Chipata Mountain and slightly to the west of Lake Malawi, lies Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve, Malawi’s largest remaining wild landscape and oldest wildlife reserve. The reserve was home to 1,500 elephants in the 1990s. By 2015, there were fewer than 100 left.
The current global pandemic from COVID-19 is a potent, pressing example of why the international community must focus more on preparedness and risk analysis for a multitude of disasters. Disasters, from floods to droughts to heightened risks of conflict, are increasing in frequency and intensity due to climate change, environmental degradation, and social tensions.
In Southern Malawi, the United in Building and Advancing Life Expectations (UBALE) project, completed in 2019, helped over 240,000 families in three districts produce more abundant harvests, increase income from agriculture, and learn important skills to help cope with changing climate patterns. The project linked agriculture with nutrition interventions to maximize the impact the program had on family nutrition.
As USAID and the international community know, if infrastructure fails during a crisis, the implications on human lives are enormous. To ensure future floods and other extreme weather events don’t cause the level of damage and misery seen in the wake of Idai and Kenneth, there are two myths that we urgently need to dispel.
As my third trip to Malawi in a year came to an end, it was apparent that we have reached a milestone that many might not have thought achievable when we started this project five years ago. On April 4, I attended the launch of Malawi’s new National Greenhouse Gas Inventory System (GHG-IS), where Government of Malawi officials delivered speeches fully endorsing the system.