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"Turning challenges into opportunities, developing the land and peoples of the Upper Zambezi Valley"

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Pavilion outside palace - Limulunga

Zambezi Valley
Development Initiative

(ZVDI)

Nalikwanda "en-route" during Kuomboka ceremony

Climate and Development

Zambia and particularly south-western and southern Zambia lie in a zone of very high risk from the negative impacts of climate change being at the southern extremity of the migratory track of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) and have already experienced the negative impacts of intensified climate change in the last two decades of the twentieth decade of the twentieth century, particularly in the southern and western regions.

For the very latest weather in Mongu together with 5-day prediction, click here

For average monthly climate indicators for Mongu, click here

Project work

New! Lyambai Vulnerability and Adaptation (LYVA) Project - Phase 2: Community-based Adaptation to Climate Change
Kalabo West - Lukena, Siluwe, Nyengo, Sikongo

First Field Expedition, 20-31 October 2010
Report (2nd draft)

Kalabo District Workshop on Climate and Development, and Risk
Communication

Venue: Liweye Restaurant Meeting Room, Kalabo Boma, 27th October 2010
Workshop Report

Lyambai Vulnerability and Adaptation (LYVA) project - Phase 1

Project document (original)
Local Community and Decision Makers Workshop 17-19 October 2007 agenda
Workshop report and adaptation strategies adopted

Summary details
Location type - rural, river valley and floodplain, flat
Climate change - diminishing rainfall, increasing storm events and winds, increasing temperatures
Hazards and impacts - Unusually low annual flood events, unusually high flood events, crop and animal loss, uncertainty and confusion among farming communities


About us
from right to left - Late Mukwae Monde Mubita Barotseland.com Operations Manager, HRH Litunga la Mboela Makwibi - Regent Princess, Sayaka Funada, Visiting Professor from University of Tokyo, Japan

A stormy river Zambezi near Lukulu and, on the bank, an abandoned pontoon. The pontoon was installed only a few years ago but did not make much money for the operator and when it broke down, it never got repaired.

Our floodplain is very flat, almost no trees for fuelwood. Here our local agricultural extension officer advises women farmers on irrigation and growing of new htbrid cassava variety that likes wet.

Our first four oxen being trained for ploughing duties. We had to learn not to work the animals too hard and understand how to keep them in good condition. After 6 months two of our oxen were stolen and turmed up at a local butchers. Justice eventually led to their replacement thanks be to God!

A scene from the LYVA Community and Local Decision Makers workshop, held in October 2007, held in Mongu. We had some amazing debates between meteorologists, government extension workers, traditional authorities, religious leaders and NGOs. Local people took notice because it happened in their town.


The picture below is a summary of some of the land reclamation work we have tried which was successful even though the land got flooded again!

Our project is led by a community based organisation (CBO) by the name of Barotseland.com. Barotseland is the old name for a kingdom that extended power and influence throughout the Upper Zambezi Valley and surrounding area, now parts of Zambia, Angola, Namibia and Botswana before the arrival of Europeans at the end of the nineteenth century. Please see our website at www.barotseland.com for more about our rich history. Barotseland.com was formed in 2003 to answer the need to protect the rich history and heritage of this land and its people, the Lozi. Our organisation has always been closely associated with the tradional authority, the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) and our king, the Litunga is our patron altho he does not get involved. The organisation was registered as a non-governmental organisation in 2005 and specialised first in heritage, and especially the environmental history of our beautiful floodplain, which is so important in our identity. It was not a giant leap from there to work in issues concerning climate change and impacts on the lives of the people living in the Bulozi floodplain.

Our main project is known as the Lyambai Vulnerability and Adaptation Project (LYVA) and we work so far with four clusters of villages close to the eastern margin of the floodplain. They are collectively known as Mooyo, Sefula, Mambundu and Lealui-Limulunga and they are all close to our main town Mongu which is the capital of Western Province. Our floodplain is very dear to us and features in all our culture, our language, our old belief system, and in our daily lives. The flood that comes every year can make or destroy our way of life. It has always been that way but these days we see more extremes of flood or drought and this is causing serious problems with our food security. The great river overflows our plain with rainwater from Angola and elsewhere and we often do not know it is coming as there is no good early warning system.

In almost three years we have moved from field research among the villagers, through a multi-stakeholder workshop at which people came from all walks of life inluding climate experts from our meteorological department through to raising adaptation strategies and some implementation. The last two stages have been the hardest because we have been largely on our own. As an organisation we have been under pressure from villagers to get funding and resources for them to start their adaptation but this has been hard to come by. Even for our organisation it has been hard to keep going. We have accepted funding from philanthropic sources to buy oxen for ploughing and returning swampland to rice growing but this year we suffered a terrible flood - so high - and lost nearly all our harvest, m any people lost everything. It was truly heartbreaking.

Today we are working with ENDA who have supported us since the beginning and with some very kind people from Tokyo University in Japan who have also been doing research here to keep our adaptation work going so that we can help the villages. We are starting an oxen bank and hopefully adding to our four animals bought in 2008, developing ecologically sound new farming methods and we are going to try again with the rice farming, on higher ground we hope! Growing rice using hand clearing of ground, sowing, weeding, harvesting and processing is very hard work we found but if we can start making money then we know it is better than growing things like maize which is not drought or flood resistant.

Barotseland.com: Lawrence Flint - Operations Manager (Designate), Kagoli Muyangali - Secretary, Pastor Maxwell Muvwimi - Chairperson, Daniel Kalebaila - Treasurer, Chimanda Moonga - Vice-Chair

Lessons learned:

This project, and the others like it that are currently underway, demonstrated yet again the value of a locally-driven approach with strong roots to ensure that the process can be sustained in the longer term. Some of the key lessons are as follows:

  • Institutional capacity, preferably in the form of an existing local organization, is a key ingredient to ensure the sustainability of the process, which will span many years. Updating and communicating locally-relevant information and knowledge on climate risk should be one of the fundamental duties of such an institution or organisation.
  • The socioecological history of the region provides a better contextual background and understanding of processes and approaches that have been tried in the past. Exploring and understanding the past as a starting point can lead more sensible and sensitive approaches in response to present and future risk.
  • Often the means of dissemination and consultation can be as varied and locale-specific as the responses. Given the remoteness of the Upper Zambezi region, dissemination through television, radio or newspapers was not really an option. Thus religious movements (in this case New Apostolic, Seventh Day Adventist and United Church of Zambia particularly), community radio, the traditional authority (which is very influential locally) and local government extension workers (agriculture and fisheries) took on the task of raising awareness among communities.
  • The use of local language and cultural contexts is an obvious but sometimes overlooked element of risk communication. In the Upper Zambezi region, the local language Silozi was used and the Barotse Royal Establishment, the local traditional authority composed largely of senior citizens, helped infuse local history and knowledge in risk communication.
  • Finally, communication efforts should include accounts of existing efforts by other households and sectors. Currently, people are very uncertain about climate change and are inspired to take on board information and ideas when others have already taken the initiative.