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Lake Malawi National Park lies within the
Lake Malawi Ecoregion and was designated by United Nations in 1984 as a World
Heritage Site - in recognition of the high fish species diversity and
biological importance of its fauna. The formally pristine Lake Malawi is
severely over-fished, threatening to drive to extinction many endemic
endangered fish species. A dramatic increase in deforestation is another threat
caused by the fuel needs of the rural communities lying within and around Lake Malawi
National Park (LMNP). With increased
population in the Nankumba Peninsula competing for diminishing natural
resources, the task of conservation and environmental education has to include
a comprehensive programme that addresses social issues related to the local
population. Nowadays, conservation of
natural resources, health, environmental and economic development are
Over 70% of the protein for the people of
Malawi comes from the fishes of the lake and a major source of income for the
country comes from ecotourists who visit this unique ecosystem, adjacent
national parks and lake-shore resorts. Malawi is the poorest country in the
world with an annual per capita income of under 200 euros, and the country is
in the middle of a severe famine and HIV/AIDS pandemic that threatens to
destroy its social fabric. In particular, the communities surrounding Lake
Malawi are among those most severely impacted by the present food shortage.
Long-term sustainable solutions are required to train local communities to feed
themselves and to protect their environment.
Specifically, the residents of the Nankumba
Peninsula, most of whom reside within Lake Malawi National Park, are at great
risk from disease, environmental degradation and lack of economic
development. In order to enhance the
economic, environmental and medical well-being of the people of the region,
innovative techniques are required to provide both conservation of the
environment and provide new food and fuel resources, as well as sustainable
economic opportunities. The mission of HEEED Malawi is to engage in a holistic
approach to enhance the lives of the people living near and adjacent to Lake
Malawi National Park and conserve this UNESCO World Heritage Site.