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Sustainable agriculture in the Dambos of Malawi

In Simlemba, Malawi we worked on tackling the issue of overexploitation of the seasonal wetlands (dambos) by agriculture. We helped farmer communities to improve farming in the dambos, manage water resources well and organised the conservation of forests higher up in the hills. 

Action Description:


The project area Simlemba in the Kasungu District, which is in Central Region of Malawiis extremely poor. People are forced to exploit seasonal wetland areas (Dambos) and overuse their water Dambo, Seasonal wetland in Malawiresources. Many of these areas loose their soil fertility and water resources and capacity to store water after heavy rainfall.

Over harvesting of wood of (communal) forests in the hills make the sitation worse.


Our activities

Between 2005 and 2010, we engaged 150 farming families in the promotion of Functional Landscape Approach (FLA); an approach to together manage the surrounding area. Farmers and district officers were educated in water conservation techniques, new crops, better tillage techniques. Farmers were organsed to manage the common forests and for afforestation on the hills and slopes surrounding the dambos to improve water filtration.


In turn, farmer communities visited nearby villages to tell about their experiences.


Illustration: How the Functional Landscape Approach integrates the surrounding areas of a dambo. Click to enlarge

 Map of project activities in Malawi.




Wetlands International and partner Maleza are being supported in the field by FAIR, a joint Rural Livelihood Programme financed and implemented jointly in Malawi by Self Help Africa, Find Your Feet and The Development Fund.






Action Partners:

Main partners: MALEZA, CEPA, FAIR

Collaborating Partners: Environmental Affairs Department, Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security; Department of Forestry; Total Land Care, CISANET; Civil Society Network on Climate Change, VNRMC




More Action Details