Malawi has experienced harsh effects of climate change in the recent past three years, consecutively. This year, Malawi had severe floods in the Southern region and some people lost their lives after either houses fell on them while others were washed away by the flood waters. Crops and domestic animals were washed away by the floods too, taking away the fruits of their labour, since the floods came towards the end of the growing season. Many families are now destitute as a result of the floods taking away the little their livelihood depends on. In 2018, the country had the extremes of flooding and drought within three months. A year earlier, instead of at least three to four months of rain season, the country only had about two months. Being an agro-based economy, it is no surprise that most of the peasant farmers were driven deeper into poverty of lacking food and financial resources since the back born of the economy was severely disturbed by the unreliable weather pattern.
Admittedly, most Malawians know that weather patterns are no longer predictable, the way they used to be before. The rural population in Malawi may not name this unpredictability of climate directly as climate change but they do realise that indeed climate keeps surprising them. Rain season sometimes starts early in October and other times as late as January. Severity of floods and drought is becoming more intense and has adverse consequences on peoples’ lives, both rural and urban.
The young people that I work with think government is failing them in combating poverty. They think government is collecting enough money which if put to good use can improve Malawians’ lives. Sometimes when I hear them speaking I think they are simply like pawns in the game of chess. What they don’t know is that Malawi contributes to climate change, yes, but to what degree? If only they knew that there are big world players who are contributing most to climate change yet they suffer the least the effects of climate change because they have the financial muscle to mitigate themselves against the worst consequences of climate change, they would pat themselves in the back for being small catalysts of the change they want to see in the world.