Lack of information/understanding concerning the unique flora and fauna of Lake Malawi National Park and the need to conserve, identify and understand the biology of their fishes – to the local populace, as well as to tourists.

HEEED solutions:

  • Fish: Discover and describe scientifically unidentified species; produce educational materials for both tourists and local communities – including posters and a guide book to the flora, fauna and fishes of LMNP (see LMNP book here) for fish ecology and identification classes; community awareness/Outreach, educational night-video programmes at Panda Garden, Chembe.
  • Deforestation of LMNP: not only does this cause soil erosion – but the resulting siltation is the preferred habitat for the bilharzia snail vector – leading to an increase of the disease, while the muddy shallows reduces visibility for reproduction of snail-eating fish (placadon). Fuel briquettes are a sustainable alternative for cooking, using mud and portable cement stoves.
  • Outreach programme to target communities: pamphlets, discussions on health, fish-ponds/home gardens; art and the environment – weekly classes offered to local school children in Panda Garden, Chembe, girls in particular (drawing flora and fauna of LMNP/ creative recycling of wastepaper, banana stem into decorative cards/books).
  • Primary schools: develop information exchange programme between international and Malawian schools to enhance understanding of global biodiversity and national cultures and also motivate Malawian students to take care of the environment in different ways.
    Children are the future stewards and need to be trained to observe their natural surroundings, understand their relationship with their environment and enable them from an early age to take care of a garden in their primary schools/homes.
    Through this training, children are made aware of the Web of Life, the need for growing healthy food and how we all depend on our precious natural resources. Children will also understand why the conservation of Malawi’s National Parks is important for their future well-being Children will also learn to understand the main concepts behind the Malawi National Anthem – in particular the need to “eliminate poverty, disease and envy”. These issues need to be addressed at all educational levels.

An animated book The Hiding Hyena was produced for children to learn about sensitive issues concerning HIV/AIDS. Version of the book in English can be found here.