Nyika, which means “where the water comes from”, is an apt description for a plateau that provides 10% of the water flowing into Lake Malawi, ensuring adequate water levels for marine life within the lake. Away from the lake however, many communities depend on man-made dams for water to sustain their livelihoods.
Unfortunately, years of poor maintenance in Nyika National Park means that the dams are under disrepair and now require a lot of heavy reconstruction. Peace Parks and partners are currently involved in rehabilitating the dams so Johalize meets with Gavin Wilder, Project Manager, to find out how it is going.
With climate change causing increasingly erratic weather patterns, the preservation of a national park that contributes so significantly to Malawi’s most precious water source is an important project for Peace Parks to support.
In all its areas of operation, Peace Parks Foundation works with multiple partners from both the public and private sectors to secure the long-term self-sustainability of conservation areas and Nyika is no exception. Peace Parks and the Government of Malawi are planning to establish a separate governing entity to improve the park’s management effectiveness, which will set the stage for rapid development and more robust conservation efforts. While this is carefully planned and laid out, on-the-ground teams continue to protect Nyika’s natural resources and communities are simultaneously capacitated and strengthened to ultimately step up and take full ownership of their natural heritage.
At the moment, those living around Nyika National Park enjoy controlled harvesting of fast renewable natural resources, such as thatching grass. Community members are also allowed to hang beehives within the park and various entry points have been constructed to allow people to easily harvest honey. To further promote community development and lessen the dependency on natural resources, 25% of the revenue generated by the park is shared with communities.
Peace Parks looks forward to a vibrant future for Nyika National Park and its communities.