MALAWI HUB

Hub Co-Leads:

Josephine Zimba
Moses Mkandawire

Hub Coordinator:

Dora Nyirenda

Hub Members:

Boyon Moyo
Brian Simbeye
Ruth Mumba
Stewart Paul
Bosco Chinconda
Elson Kambalu
Daniel Chinkhuntha
Samson Phiri
Abel Chiwatakwenda
Lessah Mandoloma
Sharifa Abdula
Presley Kataya
Prof Luswayo Mwabumba
Dr Rochelle Holm
Rev. Dr Cogitator W.Y Mapala
Yona T. Mwandira

Hub background

The headquarters of the Malawi hub is located at Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR). The hub comprises ArtGlo, Action for Social and Environmental Development, Abundance, Art House Africa, Child Legacy International, Tikondwe freedom gardens, Mzimba Christian Vocational School, Church and Society of the Church of Central Africa Presbyterian, Mzuzu University, and University of Livingstonia. The Malawi Hub is set to drive meaningful changes in the lives of local communities through consolidated efforts with inter- and intradisciplinary partnerships.

HUB PROJECTS

Early April 2019, the Malawi Hub visited the Northern region of Malawi to establish new connections and partnerships. The Hub held meetings with Mzuzu University and the University of Livingstonia (UNILIA). At UNILIA we met with the Vice Chancellor and the university registrar, who showed interest in joining the SFA Network. We also met with Moses Mkandawire, director of Church and Society, which is a governance desk for the Synod of Livingstonia of the CCAP Church. All the meetings centred on introducing the network and extending invitations to join. Our engagements in the “green city” of Mzuzu further involved our hub member Elson Kambalu of ArtHouse Africa, who took photos for an essay on Public Spaces.

A final activity was a visit to Chintheche on the beautiful sandy shores of Lake Malawi, where we did more documentation of public spaces. Most importantly, Dr. Pullanikkatil and Dr. Moyo made final edits on the Faldherbia Albida paper (Unravelling indigenous knowledge using the Msangu (Faidherbia albida) tree in Malawi: through the voice of farmers. The Scientific African) which was submitted for publication later that day.

In Malawi, climate change, the ongoing impacts of British colonialism on economic and political geographies, and cross-border tensions in East Africa have intersected to produce a series of crises for communities. Working with Dr. Moyo (LUANAR), Abundance, and Kei Otsuki (Utrecht University), GES researchers Deborah Dixon, Phil Nicholson, and Brian Barrett developed a project on ‘Visualising Geoviolence’ that aims to map how this complex intersection of physical and social factors emerges over time and space, how it is experienced as a form of violence upon individual bodies and community infrastructures, and how it is negotiated and responded to. The project focused on areas such as Lake Chilwa, where irrigation, fertilisers, sand mining and reed-bed removal have profoundly impacted the now shallow, saline lake.

On the shores of Lake Chilwa

In January 2018, the Malawi hub conducted a workshop with the theme “Exploring the role of Arts in Development Projects” at the Child Legacy Community premises in Lilongwe. The workshop was a rare opportunity for artists and development practitioners to work together on issues concerning sustainability and development by thinking outside the box and coming up with new and creative ideas to solve sustainability challenges. For more information about this event, read SFA Malawi’s RA Stewart Paul’s reflection on the day here. Building on this workshop and activities happening in other SFA Hubs, Elson Kambalu of ArtHouse Africa directed and produced a short documentary.

Participants' group photo

Co-authored by Dr. Deepa Pullanikkatil (SFA co-director), Dr. Boyson Moyo (Malawi hub director) and Dr. Brian Barret (Glasgow hub director), this paper – available here – outlines a project drawing together an artist working on creative GIS, a geomatics scholar, an NGO leader, a rural geographer and soil scientist, an environmental geochemist, and a political geographer. With a shared interest in the social and physical processes affecting people’s lives in Malawi, and the possibilities for interdisciplinary collaboration, the team engaged in practice-based mapping of their data sources and respective methodologies. StoryMaps – an emerging genre of GIS-based software that can integrate different kinds of geo-located data, such as salinity measures, photographs and videos, with online video steaming services (e.g. YouTube) and data sources (e.g. Google Earth) – allows for new narratives of people and place.

To accurately inform the development of future grant proposals around the Population, Health and Environment (PHE) nexus, the Malawi hub conducted a scoping activity in Mbando village, Machinga district. During the activity, theatre and games were used to learn about the community’s perceptions of PHE.

SFA members later visited the E-Learning centre that was established by Abundance with funds raised through Global Giving. Relying entirely on solar energy, the centre has eight laptop computers that are connected tooffline learning resources through a device called Rachel. A video link to a documentary about the centre is available here (link needs to be checked).

Hub members met with the Machinga District commissioner (DC). At the conclusion of this fruitful meeting, an opportunity arose to extend the drone project (Placing Communities at the Heart of Humanitarian and Environmental Drone Use: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities) to human-wildlife interactions at Liwonde National Park and surrounding communities. Consequently, the DC invited SFA to present their projects and updates at the District Executive Committee (DEC) meeting.

The hub’s members made a visit to UNICEF Malawi’s head offices in Lilongwe. This meeting was set up to brief UNICEF about our network, both local and international. In the end we made new connections with the Drone head at the organisation, leading to possible collaboration on SFA Malawi’s upcoming Drone Project. Funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF), the project has many collaborators from various institutions and organizations, such as Abundance NGO, the University of Glasgow, UNICEF, GIS and Remote Sensing Center, the Malawi Civil Aviation Authority and the Malawi Department of Surveys.

During our meeting at UNICEF

HUB MEMBERS