Project information

Malawi Community Project

Extensive wildlife poaching continues to threaten Africa’s endangered elephants, rhinos, and other species. Effective community engagement is critical for the sustainable prevention of poaching and illegal wildlife trafficking and conservation of natural resources.

January 2019 - January 2020


  • Need


    The target group is local communities on the western boundary of Liwonde National Park (Malawi), in the Chikolongo area.
    The lack of support for communities has discouraged a potential ally in the protection of elephants. Historically local communities have often been at the frontline of human-wildlife conflict, having to deal with the negative impacts of elephants (e.g. crop destruction) with little support.


    IFAW will work with the community to identify livelihood and educational opportunities which make a positive correlation between increased economic opportunities and the need to stop poaching of elephants and human wildlife conflict. We will train people to build and maintain important fencing to protect homes; we will train people to become farmers giving them the skills they need to look after crops, keep bees and maintain irrigation systems.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To engage communities to identify and create opportunities for sustainable livelihoods.


    » Provide training workshops in farming, bee keeping, solar panel system maintenance and other areas as identified by the community.

    What success will look like

    We will have a model which provides greater food and water security for people living in Malawi.

    Aim 2

    To empower local community members to participate directly in wildlife protection activities.


    » Support the selling of produce to lodges, train local people in fence maintenance, & establish a role to report instances of human wildlife conflict

    What success will look like

    We will be able to show an increase in economic prosperity within the community.

    Aim 3

    To change the communities’ perceptions of wildlife and conservation.


    » Conduct a survey with the community which will show the positive correlation between economic opportunities and the need to protect elephants.

    What success will look like

    At the end of the project we will be able to show a reduction in the instances of poaching and human wildlife conflict in the Chikolongo area.

  • Impact


    This project is part of a longer-term behavioural shift where communities will make a positive correlation between increased economic opportunities and the need to protect wildlife. IFAW will provide opportunities to communities and the communities themselves will be actively involved in their development. We aim to meet the needs that they identify, such as access to education, food and water security – in return reducing dependency on the unsustainable use of natural resources.


    Working in Southern Africa can be difficult for a number of social and political reasons. Fortunately IFAW has years of experience working in the region with staff on the ground building our reputation with communities and governments. Lack of funding for the project is a concern. This is vital work which needs to be completed in its entirety.


    We will make use of our social media channels: Facebook and Instagram to promote our work to as wide an audience as possible. We will use email and direct mail to report directly to donors on the success of the project and it some cases we will report face to face to our more established supporters.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £63,100

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £15,000 Irrigation system Irrigation system development
      £7,500 Road infrastructure Road infrastructure development
      £13,500 Crops production Crops production (seeds, organic compost etc.)
      £2,500 Apiculture Apiculture (beehives, suites, etc.)
      £4,400 Alternate protein Alternate protein (fish farm production)
      £3,000 Mill & Solar Maintenance Mill & Solar Panel System Maintenance
      £13,500 Community Capacity Building Community Capacity Building (workshops and training in the above areas)
      £3,700 Pump and Irrigation Maint. Pump and Irrigation Maintenance
  • Background


    Malawi is home to around 18 million people and is among the world's least-developed countries. The economy is heavily based in agriculture, with a largely rural population. The Malawian government depends heavily on outside aid to meet development needs, although this need (and the aid offered) has decreased since 2000. Malawi has a low life expectancy and high infant mortality. There is a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS.


    The project covers three villages and serves 3,500 individuals. Elephants have flourished and species such as cheetah and lions have been reintroduced into a safe environment. The villages have gone from 3 human deaths a month as a result of human wildlife conflict to now experiencing 0 deaths in the past 4 years. Food production from the farm has resulted in a 71% increase in protein consumption. Crop rotations have increased from 2 to 3 a year enhancing food security and income generation.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    In places where we find animal suffering, we also find people who are struggling to survive. The situation is particularly acute where people live near wildlife populations. Unless we take the plight of communities living around national parks seriously, unless we can involve communities in conservation efforts, we will fail to protect wildlife. We are working to reduce human-elephant conflict while at the same time addressing critical community needs such as employment, water and food security.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Neil Greenwood

    Head of Programmes and Operations in Southern Africa.

    Richie Marriott

    Senior Strategic Relationships Advisor for the UK

Chikolongo: A Success Story in Southern Africa