Water security for community-managed elephant conservation
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Malawi remains one of the poorest countries in the world. The economy heavily depends on agriculture, employing nearly 80% of the population.
Although about 80% of the population has access to an improved source of drinking water in Malawi, that leaves about 4 million people who still lack access to safe water. In addition, poor sanitation practices and improper drinking water storage commonly lead to water-borne illnesses such as cholera.
This project had a water supply component as well as a conservation component.
The project aims to provide quality drinking water wells in the communities surrounding Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve while also making them understand the importance of protecting wildlife in the Reserve, particularly elephants, and how they can participate in conservation activities. Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve covers 180,000 ha and supports most Malawi's wildlife species, including elephants. Unfortunately, wildlife and natural resources are being depleted at an increasingly alarming rate resulting in massive environmental degradation.
There are acute shortages of drinking water in the project area. According to Nkhotakota District Council Investment Plan, only 63% of the population has access to potable water, 37% of the boreholes in the area are not functioning, and 51% live below the poverty line.
The provision of water wells will be a gift to the rural communities within a 5km band surrounding the Reserve in return for their wildlife conservation efforts. There has never been a project aimed at improving the participation of communities, and this project will fill the knowledge gap currently seen among communities around the Reserve.
BridgIT Water partners with the Wildlife & Environmental Society of Malawi (WESM). WESM's mandate is to support the wise use of natural resources in Nkhotakota District through practical projects or environmental education implementation.
Area: Nkhotakota Wildlife Reserve
Solution: Drilled bore wells or refurbished existing boreholes equipped with hand pumps.