The COMESA Climate Change unit in collaboration with FEMCOM Secretariat, recently held consultations with various stakeholders in Malawi on the Climate Change Initiative. On Tuesday19 the June 2012stakeholder meeting was held in Lilongwe which drew participants from the Ministries responsible for Gender, Environment and Natural Resources but also Agriculture. Other participants included representatives from Non-governmental and civil society organizations, Research and academic institutions as well as the private sector.
During the opening remarks, Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Welfare, Dr. Mary Shaba welcomed the current COMESA Initiatives on Climate Change and stressed on the fact that such programmes are likely to improve the quality of life for majority of Malawians especially women. She highlighted how the adverse effects of Climate are negatively impacting on the life of an ordinary Malawian through reduction in agriculture yields, declining existence of firewood resources for basic cooking as well as the depletion of water sources in the river banks. She expressed hope for Malawi on the COMESA Climate Change Initiative especially in the up scaling of Climate SMART Agriculture with the current emerging of the green economy in Africa.
The COMESA team together with FEMCOM Secretariat took the opportunity of visiting some piloted projects currently being implemented in Malawi on mitigating the impacts if Climate Change. One such project is the hybrid wind solar rural electrification Scheme installed by the Government of Malawi that is providing power for basic lighting, radio and television operations to households in the Village. A visit to Kumbambe Village in Ntcheu district revealed that every household in the village has been provided with solar energy for lighting and this has benefitted 150 households. This project has made significant impacts in the lives of targeted communities through a reduction in the purchasing of fossil fuels for lighting, ability to charge their cellphones but also, children are able to read at night. This has also provided a source of entertainment to the villagers through the operations of cinemas, as well as source of income generation.
Building on such existing projects on the ground, the COMESA Climate change Initiative envisages to significantly transform the lives of the people in the COMESA region and also propelling them out of the poverty trap through promotion of sustainable development.