working for environmental & wildlife conservation in Northern Malawi
The Nyika-Vwaza Trust Projects
The trust is involved in a wide range of projects both in the Nyika National Park and Vwaza Marsh Wildlife. Some current and past projects are listed below.
1. Thazima Garden Project
This is an educational project started in 2008 to assist communities close the the Nyika National Park gate at Thazima to use their farmed land in a more productive way. The project will show that a greater variety of crops can be grown in the area which in turn will improve the health of the community. Over time it is hoped that surplus crops will be produced which can be sold at a profit to further benefit the community.
1. Vwaza Bund
This is an n 1999 the local communities to the north of the Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserved diverted the Hewe River, by channelling, for fishing and agricultural purposes. This caused considerable drying of the marsh with subsequent impact on animal and waterfowl species with a significant reduction in both.
Through a collaborative management approach the local communities agreed to reverse this harmful effect by re-channeling the flow into the wetland ecosystem. They approached the Department of National Parks and Wildlife with proposals for opening up the original water course for a two kilometre stretch. DNPW approached the Trust for funding the project to the tune of US$ 1,000. The Trust agreed to provide the funding and the work was carried out during January 2007 by a local contractor. The budget was increased by 50% so the Trust ended up providing US$ 1,500 of funding.
The project helpted to:
3. Early Controlled Burn Programme.
Dry season hot grass fires cause considerable damage to both flora and fauna. The Nyika high plateau forest areas, home to many bird species, are under threat. The Trust now carries out a yearly programme of early controlled burning to create a network of wide firebreaks across the Nyika high plateau. Cool burns early in the year cause little or no damage to the forest areas. Small animals and reptiles can escape from slow moving fires. Grasses and plants recover quickly after an early fire. The firebreaks prevent damaging late season fires sweeping across the plateau. More information ....
Early Controlled Burn
4. Exotic Species Control.
Self seeding of the Chelinda pine plantation threatens the ecology of the Nyika high plateau and has to be controlled by cutting down saplings. Other species such as black wattle have to removed as well. Bracken, although indigenous, is invasive and its spread needs to be controlled. Trust staff move round the plantation cutting down seedlings and saplings. In the longer term most of the pines will be cut and harvested for sawn planks and firewood. More information ....
Exotic Species Control
5. Bridge Building.
Wooden road signs are falling down and rotting. Park visitors need clear signs to assist moving around the Nyika. Burnt and rotten bridges restrict the movement of scout patrols around the park and make general management of the park more difficult. The Trust will be replacing wooden signposts with signs built into stone cairns throughout the Nyika NP. Bridges will be rebuilt using a steel base structure. A generous donation from the British High Commission in Lilongwe is being used to kick start the Signpost Construction and Bridge Building project. Over the next year all the signposts will be replaced and all high priority bridges will be rebuilt. More information ....
Bridge and signpost
6. Elephant Monitoring.
The Trust is an integral part of the Peace Parks Foundation project to monitor elephants in southern and central Africa. ØThis is a two year project to provide evidence of animal movements along wildlife corridors. ØThis will help to justify the creation of Trans Frontier Conservation Areas. The Trust assisted in the collaring of elephant on the Nyika NP and Vwaza Marsh. The Trust now has the responsibility of producing quarterly reports on the movement and activity of six collared elephant. The project may be extended beyond the two years depending on the results and analysis of the data gathered and availability of further funding. More information ....
The Trust has provided a VHF radio network covering most of the Nyika NP to assist Malawi's Department of National Parks and Wildlife in co-ordinating and supporting anti-poaching patrols. The network is now supported by the PPF Law Enforcement project and has been extended with further base stations on the Nyika NP and in the Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve. More information ....
8. Vwaza Marsh.
The local communities around Nyika NP and Vwaza Marsh need help. Theirs is a subsistence way of life. This puts pressure on the resources of both areas. Access to clean water is in short supply. The Trust employs staff from the local villages giving a direct benefit. The Trust also identifies projects that have an immediate impact such as the water borehole at Chigwere Cultural Village adjacent to Vwaza Marsh. The borehole has proved such a success that the elders of the village have asked the Trust whether another borehole could be sunk in the same area. The Trust is looking for a donation of £3,000 to carry out the work necessary to provide another source of water for Chigwere Cultural Village project. More information .... Vwaza Marsh
9. Road Maintenance.
Due to heavy rainfall roads suffer badly from erosion. Badly maintained roads restrict the movement of visitors in Vwaza and Nyika. Badly maintained roads prevent rapid movement of scout patrols across the Nyika plateau. As soon as funds allow the Trust will be identifying sections of road throughout the Nyika NP and Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve that require rebuilding. Although relatively inexpensive, as the intention will be to use a large labour force rather than machines, it will be time consuming. More information ....
UK Registered Charity No: 1105105
© Nyika-Vwaza Trust & Nyika-Vwaza (UK) Trust 2006
Designed by Oli Force