GECEO in Malawi

Author: Marije Schaafsma

On the 10th of July, the final dissemination of the Fellowship of Marije and the large ASSETS project, both funded by ESPA, took place in Zomba, Malawi. Exciting work by Southampton’s PhD students Miriam Joshua on Malawi’s water policy, and Alison and Fiona Simmance on fisheries in relation to food security in Malawi was also presented.

Members of parliament, ministries, national and local NGOs and communities involved in the research attended the meeting, and emphasised the need for ecosystem-based approaches for food security and poverty alleviation. The research by Southampton’s academics demonstrated how people in rural Malawi are highly dependent on ecosystem services, and how the use of these resources varies between men and women and young and old people.

GECEO-researchers are continuing with research in Malawi. Ilda Dreoni is currently doing fieldwork in Namizimu forest, looking at the preferences of community members for different benefit sharing mechanisms under forest co-management. And for the mens sana in corpore sano idea, we hiked up Zomba Mountain!

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More projects are in the pipeline, with Marije continuing work (also ESPA funded) on the possibility of including an environmental dimension in multidimensional poverty indices – to inform work of the Poverty-Environment Initiative, together with WCMC and UEA. And thanks to the Faculty’s Interdisciplinary Research Fund, Becks Spake, Jane Catford and Marije will join forces to investigate sustainable management of the Elephant Marsh in Southern Malawi, recently granted Ramsar status.

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