The Flanders delegation being appraised of the village’s irrigation scheme
* We were not able to produce enough crops for food and for sale due to poor rains and degraded soils
* We have an irrigation scheme where we grow crops three times a year
* We make manure for the degraded soil; we have a planted community forest and naturally regenerated forest
* Where we are harvesting honey, and we have portable tap water
By Vincent Khonje, MANA
Johnston Village in Traditional Authority Simlemba in Kasungu, which had struggled with effects of climate change for a long time, has earned praise from the Flanders Government for its climate change resilience.
The village embarked on climate change interventions through support from Flanders Government and Climate Resilience Initiative in Malawi (CRIM) project, which proved to be a game changer.
Flanders is the Flemish Region of Belgium — a Dutch-speaking area which is one of three Belgian regions in the country’s north.
A group of Flanders led by head of division at Flanders Chancellery and Foreign Office, Delphine Delouvroy visited the model village in the company of UNDP and Malawi Government officials to appreciate for themselves the strides made by the community.
Secretary of the model village, Lonely Chirwa said their community previously struggled a lot with challenges mainly caused by climate change, saying they “were not able to produce enough crops for food and for sale due to poor rains and degraded soils”.
She also said they “lacked portable water and that children suffered malnutrition”, adding that through CRIM project, the village did a research to identify problems and then came up with plans to address them.
Group Village Head (GVH) Johnston strongly attested that the project has made the village to be resilient to climate change effects.
“We have an irrigation scheme where we grow crops three times a year, he said. “We make manure for the degraded soil; we have a planted community forest and naturally regenerated forest where we are harvesting honey, and we have portable tap water,” he said.
In her remarks, Delouvroy said she was impressed with Johnston Village’s efforts to deal with challenges it faced, saying: “CRIM project is a great success to this village and has brought great results to the communities.
“I am glad I have had an opportunity to see these impressive results,” said Delouvroy, who added that her government hopes to continue supporting the country’s agriculture sector.
The four-year project, implemented by UNDP through Kasungu District Council — with funding from the Flanders Government — aims at enhancing the adaptive capacity of vulnerable communities to the impacts of a changing climate.