Allan teaches sustainable farming in Malawi

Feb 6, 2020 | Inspiring Stories - Africa

In Malawi, poverty is experienced by most rural families. It’s a country that is highly affected by climate change. Episodes of drought as well as severe flooding are increasing in frequency, intensity and unpredictability, giving the most vulnerable households inadequate time to recover.

Living on the edge of the Majete Wildlife Reserve, Allan Wyson was driven to use every resource available to provide for his family.

“I used to be a skilled poacher. But I knew it wasn’t right in the long run. Even then it was difficult to make ends meet”

But because of poaching, Majete had become an empty forest. Most of the animals were hunted out. Elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards, and buffalos had vanished, and only a few antelope persisted within the reserve’s perimeter. Trees were felled for charcoal. Tourism was non-existent.

In 2003, thanks to the Malawi Department of National Parks and Wildlife, African Parks signed a 25-year management agreement to manage the reserve and change its trajectory. Over nine years, fifteen species were introduced back into the area. In total, approximately 12,000 animals, including the ‘Big Five’ now live in Majete. African Parks have a remarkable track record of not having lost a single rhino or elephant to poaching since their respective reintroductions in 2003 and 2006. However, the surrounding communities – an estimated 70,000 people – who used to live from this land and its natural resources, had to find alternative livelihoods.  

Working with local partners, The Hunger Project brought its epicentre strategy to the area where Allan had the opportunity to take part in food security training programs. What he learned about climate-resilient farming and diversification of crops enabled him to farm the land available to him more efficiently and more sustainably – lifting his family and the community around him, out of hunger.

 “Today I have 95 bags of maize in stock: twice as much as last year. I even donated four bags to my sister. You could well say I run my own little foodbank here. We could afford to buy a second-hand motorcycle for my son, who now makes money with his taxi rides up and down to the nearest business centre”

Allan is now a lead farmer, teaching his whole community the skills needed to create a sustainable future, free from hunger.

“We don’t need The Hunger Project anymore. What they can do, I can also do myself.”

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Thanks to Uplift for sharing Allan’s Story