Do NO Harm…

Lake Malawi Malawi

Lake Malawi-Malawi

Too many times I have heard that development aid implements millionaire programmes to tackle one issue and accidentally causes another problem. This time, I want to share with you the case of mosquito nets, lake Malawi and the endemic endangered Chambo fish. Imagine for a second this amazing lake full of fishes…. thousands of people  depending on Chambo as a source of protein and as a source of income. Imagine now,  a huge amount of mosquito nets impregnated with toxic pesticides (to kill the mosquito) been distributed in the country to prevent Malaria and other mosquito-transmitted diseases.  Not a direct relation between these two facts right? well, these facts are very closely related…. People are sleeping without mosquito nets and are using the nets to capture baby Chambo fishes in the breeding areas.  Such practice has almost driven the specie to extinction. Ooooops!!!?

Chambo Fish

Chambo fish

I am not saying that a strategy for preventing Malaria is a bad thing, because it is not! .. but c’mon people! let’s pay attention to the implementation process of such strategies. The solution is not to distribute mosquito nets without proper education and communication about how to use the nets appropriately.  Let’s always be aware and prepared to mitigate the unintended consequences of our actions in any field. Luckily some actions have been taken to conserve the breeding grounds of the fish and people are now actively involved in the process. Local people are aware of the importance of protecting the baby Chambo fishes to ensure their food security and their jobs.

Country-Views--Chambo

Namaste people!

Nepal

view from the Nagarkot Tower

From Kathmandu with love….

” Namaste: an ancient Sanskrit greeting still in everyday use on the trail in the Nepal Himalaya. It means “I bow to the God within you”, or “The Spirit within me salutes the Spirit in you” beautiful!

Today, I want to share with you some amazing lessons from Nepal’s approach to conservation, climate change and people’s livelihoods.

We have heard a lot of stories about the conflicts between people and wildlife in buffer zones of protected areas. And how challenging it is to find good measures to  deal with this. In Nepal, small holders in rural communities see their staple crops affected by deers, wild rhinos, elephants, monkeys and climate change. For these communities, wildlife is a constant threat to their lives, food security and economy.  An innovative solution to increase communities’ resilience to climate change and to mitigate human-wildlife conflict  is the cultivation of crops that are not appealing to wildlife. Yes!   Communities here plant mint, lemon grass, chamomile and other aromatic plants to extract essential oils and export them abroad. Wild animals seem to not like these plants very much and they stay away from this kind of crops. Isn’t it great? People practice this in between the cultivation of their traditional crops such as rice, wheat and maize, so their food is secured as well.  The result at the end, is an opportunity for small holders to increase their resilience to climate change by having an alternative source of income, a reduction of the conflicts between wildlife and people, and an interesting approach to conservation in buffer zones. Maybe, this could be an innovative solution for a better management of buffer belts around protected areas. This is my lesson learnt from Nepal… 🙂

caronepal.JPG