Denton Joachim and Nico Gründlingh are heading to Malawi. In their roles as Geographical Information Systems Technicians for Peace Parks, they regularly travel around southern Africa to train field staff working in transfrontier conservation areas. This time the pair is talking to executive stakeholders from Malawi. Over the next few days they will present and develop a general management plan for both Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve and Nyika National Park that will cover the next decade.

These two regions include some of the most outstanding and representative habitats for biodiversity on the planet. In Nyika, for example, there are more than 200 species of orchid, of which 30 are found nowhere else on earth. Managed by the Malawi Department of National Parks and Wildlife in close collaboration with Peace Parks, these two parks are integral components of the Nyika-North Luangwa section of the Malawi-Zambia Transfrontier Conservation Area.

Everyone has a chance to comment on the plan, which covers conservation, cultural, social and economic ground, with topics such as how to preserve and protect Malawi’s largest water catchment area, the benefits of a good roan population or how to create jobs for the communities.

Peace Parks Foundation has a long history with Malawi, dating back nearly two decades when, together with the governments of Malawi and Zambia, the Foundation started exploring the conservation benefits and commercial opportunities that a transfrontier conservation area could offer to the region. In 2015, the Malawi-Zambia Transfrontier Conservation Area was established with the signing of a treaty by the two governments. As the implementing agent for funding provided by the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), through KfW Development Bank, Peace Parks initiatives in MAZA include protected area management and protection, development of infrastructure, supporting tourism development, and community involvement and beneficiation in conservation.