Communities of Chikolongo village in Malawi’s Balaka district are all smiles after bidding farewell to the wrath of elephants, and lack of portable water, thanks to International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), which is implementing Chikolongo fish farm and fence project.
Group village headman Chikolongo told Malawi Voice that the village has never witnessed a death due to elephant attacks, since IFAW constructed the electric fence on a distance of six kilometer stretch.
He said by this time previously, elephants used to cause havoc in the village, killing people, destroying houses and crops.
Village headman Chikolongo said this left the people poor and food insecure each year.
“The elephants destroyed houses and crops, thereby many of my subjects were left destitute and food insecure,” said village head Chikolongo.
Apart from the elephants, crocodiles also used to frequently attack women whenever they went to fetch water from Shire River.
“Our lives were in danger, many of my colleagues lost lives to crocodiles in a quest for water at Shire river,” said 35 year old Caroline Chidzwedzwe of Chikolongo village.
IFAW constructed a 6 kilometer stretch electric fence that prevents animals from going out of Liwonde national park, especially elephants that greatly endangered people’s lives in villages surrounding the reserved area.
Through Chikolongo fish farm and fence project, IFAW also constructed fish dams and brought piped water to the village.
IFAW manager responsible for public awareness Philip Namagonya said:- “we gave the people of Chikolongo piped water to save them from the wrath of elephants and introduced fish farming to provide an alternative to poaching in Liwonde national park, where some were attacked in the process.”
Communities of Chikolongo Village are bailed out with support from governments of America and Germany that fund IFAW.