February 4, 2020

How does rapid climate change affect the lives of people living on a subsistence level in Malawi, and what are international development agencies doing to help them be resilient?

Colin Hattersley, 52

In 2019, I was commissioned to work with Sciaf, Trocaire and the Scottish Government’s Climate Challenge Programme Malawi programme to document the challenges facing southern Malawi from rapid climate change. And solutions to combat it.

Erratic weather – torrential rain and severe droughts – has been hitting Malawi for decades. Cyclone Idai and the consequent floods (as alluded to in picture 01) hit a month before our April trip.

The dry season (around our October trip, pictures 02, 03) was harsher than usual. Bridges were destroyed, houses collapsed (picture 06), and displaced persons camps opened – (PP 07, 08, 09).

Water, energy and food are major concerns:

Shallow bore holes dry up easily and are unhygienic (P10).

And often necessitate carrying water further to households (pictures 11, 12).

CCPM assisted with sanitary deep bore pumps in villages (pictures 13, 14), water pumping towers (P17), crop irrigators (P18) and advice for building reservoirs (P19).

“Solar kiosks” for each village generate energy – as fuels are expensive and sometimes unobtainable. Villagers celebrate (P20) their rooftop solar panelled kiosk (P21).

And constructing improved grain stores reduces losses (P22).

Much can be done to help communities living on the edge in these climate challenging times.

Climate Challenge for Malawi, 2019