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MMCT Pledges Continued Support Towards Improving People’s Lives

By Daniel Nyanjagha, MANA

Mulanje Mountain Conservation Trust (MMCT) says it will continue supporting activities that aim at improving people’s livelihoods despite changing its management approach of Mulanje Mountain Global Biosphere Reserve in its five-year Strategic Plan (2020-2025).

Speaking during a District Executive Committee (DEC) meeting on Monday, MMCT Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Henry Chinthuli said the organisation has shifted its approach from supporting improved conservation status of the mountain to being a protected area management organisation.

Chinthuli said through the new plan dubbed ‘Integrated Management Plan (IMP),’ a new multi-sectoral model in the management of the biosphere reserve has been drawn that will see the trust work closely with various government sectors.

“Under IMP, we will be working with 10 government departments namely: Forestry, National Parks & Wildlife, Tourism, Local Government, Water, Antiquities, Energy, Herbarium and Botanic Gardens, Environmental Affairs and Land Resources.

“However, we will continue to implement activities aimed at providing food for surrounding communities as a way of stopping them from exerting too much pressure on natural resources,” Chinthuli said.

The development, according to MMCT Consultant Mavuto Kapyepye, will have direct implications on the mandate of the trust as it will have a new vision and mission currently being drafted.

Kapyepye added that MMCT will be granted a concession in an attempt to fulfill the responsibility and will also see the trust working in partnership with African Parks Network (APN) for capacity building to ensure a smooth take off.

Director of Planning and Development (DPD) for Mulanje District Council, Enerst Kaphuka hailed MMCT for developing the strategic plan and seeking inputs from the DEC.

Kaphuka added that including government sectors as part of the team in the implementation process entails that the district is poised to benefit from the plan.

“This is a good development for the district because Mulanje Mountain is a national asset. MMCT has included the tourism sector as its strategic partner and this will bring revenue to the district,” Kaphuka said.

He said supporting activities that will improve the livelihoods of people who surround the mountain will also help communities to avoid encroaching into the biosphere reserve.

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