This blog is written by RIPPLE Africa volunteer, Nikki Luxford
Much of the success of RIPPLE Africa is down to the passion and dedication of the staff plus the education and acceptance by local people – especially when it comes to the environmental projects.
When you hear about environmental conservation you probably don’t think about people but RIPPLE Africa’s environmental projects are all about the people: fish conservation, bush fires and deforestation, the Changu Changu Moto fuel-efficient stoves and tree planting all have that one factor in common.
Getting any of these projects to work takes committed and enthusiastic team players to educate people and explain the benefits of said projects and it was the ‘fish-team’ who recently demonstrated such enthusiasm at a fish conservation meeting held in Usisya with around 40 chiefs plus the senior chief, local fishermen and villagers.
The chiefs listening to the presentation
Force Ngwira during the presentation
Force Ngwira, Environmental Programme Manager gave a brief talk about the problems facing Malawians as fish numbers drop, the difference between the Lake in the 90’s and today as well as how the fishing by-laws to be introduced aim to provide a solution to the problem.
It’s fair to say the chiefs listened with interest and were keen to adopt the measures in their area of the Lake but there’s nothing better than to make people really remember what the project is about than some theatrics.
For the unsuspecting audience it was understandable they looked slightly shocked as three ‘old’ men staggered into the make-shift stage under the trees, each of them shouting at the other before the crowds realised this was part of the presentation.
One of the ‘old’ men
The other ‘old’ man
The 15-or-so minute comical performance had everyone sitting up and listening, laughing at all the punchlines and despite not understanding a word of the ChiTonga sketch unfolding before my eyes, even I was convinced and had I been a chief, I would certainly have been ready to spread the measure and start educating the fishermen and communities on how to protect the future of Lake Malawi’s fish.
If you’d like to read more about life in rural Malawi, Nikki has posted a number of blogs on her website.