HEEED - HEALTH EDUCATION ENVIRONMENT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
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 inextricably intertwined.
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.