Moving from WATERS to MAJI: Promoting More Action for Just Initiatives (MAJI) on Climate change adaptation

MAJI is simply a Bantu word for Water. 

MAJI (More Action for Just Initiatives) is a two year project on climate Change adaptation being implemented by VSO Malawi in partnership with the Civil Society Network on Climate change (CISONECC), Ministry of Local Government, Lead Sea, Luanar and the District councils of Dowa, Karonga,   and Salima with support from the Scottish Climate Justice Fund. 

The project encourages people affected by climate change to participate in planning for initiatives that respond to their present and future needs. Through Scenario Planning, also called “Futures thinking”, the project calls on multiple groups to share knowledge, build understanding of others’ interests, and together map responses to future climate changes.  In essence, MAJI promotes planners and communities to be proactive rather than reactive in addressing climate and environmental related changes affecting their lives. Through this approach, the project aims to reduce the vulnerability of the rural people to climate change impacts and increase their resilience to future climate changes, in 30 communities in Dowa, Salima and Karonga. 

MAJI builds on another project, WATERS (Water future; Towards Equitable Resources and Strategies). WATERS project linked all actors including local government, civil society and communities to improve water management systems and promote communities adaptation to climate change. Selected communities in Salima, Chikwawa, Nsanje and Karonga were involved in managing their natural water systems with the support from Village Natural Resources Committees (VNMRCs). These actors also developed scenarios to anticipate how pressures on the environmental and natural resources will continue to affect future development paths. These scenarios, reflected in planning documents, contain different assumptions and possibilities on how current trends will unfold, how critical uncertainties will play out and what new factors will come into play in the future for effective planning. 

With support from WATERS project and others, the District State of Environment Outlook report (DSOER) in Karonga is now complete! The DSOER helped communities create scenarios for how environment and social pressures may affect development. Meanwhile, the District Development Plan also included developmental challenges and solutions identified by communities. In Salima, Nsanje, Karonga and Chikhwawa Village natural resources committees were trained in Ecosystem approaches in planning at level. In addition, planners from the districts were also trained on the Ecosystems approach in planning. The evidence, successes and lessons from the WATERS project were documented to inform advocacy.

MAJI will simultaneously support the implementation of various solutions proposed by communities. Among other things; it will promote participatory water management, efficient energy programmes, sustainable agriculture practices and various income generating activities.