Human-wildlife conflict with elephants, hippos and crocodiles is one of most pressing threats for Liwonde and the thousands of people who live around the park. Constructing and maintaining the park’s electric perimeter fence to reduce conflict and secure the park for the safety of both people and wildlife is a top and ongoing priority. The fence has drastically reduced conflict and has helped save lives as a result.
With education forming a core part of our community development strategy, we completed construction of a new school block and expanded a literacy project entitled ‘Happy Readers’ with the help of a five-year commitment from a donor and the British Army.
Liwonde supports two schools that enrol hundreds of students, and provides several scholarships to secondary and tertiary students. More than 6,000 children visit the park annually to ensure they learn the value of wildlife and conservation. In 2021, an assessment showed a large improvement in students’ literacy as a result of the Happy Readers project. Two classroom blocks, a teacher’s house and 260 school desks were sponsored for schools with the support of Malawi Community Hubs, a UK registered charity, and Youth for Development and Productivity (YODEP), a nonprofit organisation that addresses socio-economic issues in communities.
We entered into an agreement with American NGO, Americares, for support to two existing health centres and our team regularly engage with local communities through specifically created community forums. In 2021, we partnered with the Americares, to upgrade two health centres, which included the maternity wing at Namanolo Health Centre.
Bee-keeping and Moringa cultivation offer opportunities for local entrepreneurship as well as find alternative sources of income for surrounding communities. A number of tree nurseries have been established to propagate trees for planting to reduce pressure on natural vegetation, generating positive results for the community. Approximately 30,000 seedlings were produced in the first year. Nearly 77 tonnes of chillies were harvested through the Spicy Farmers project in 2021. The 'chilli elephant barrier' also reduced elephant breakouts significantly. During the Honey with Heart project, 194 new beehives were established, nearly doubling the amount of honey harvested in 2020.
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