Park Bridges Kasungu Communities Separated by River
In a rare corporate social responsibility gesture, the department of parks and wildlife has constructed a multi-million Kwacha worth bridge connecting people on the two sides of Mutchenda River in the area of Chief Chulu in Kasungu district.
The bridge was officially handed to the community on Saturday where the director of parks and wildlife, Brighton Kumchedwa, said the gesture was meant to cement relations with communities around Kasungu National Park.
Construction of the bridge was bankrolled by the International Fund for Animal Welfare through the department.
Kumchedwa said the idea to construct the bridge came after observing that people faced challenges crossing the river especially during the rainy season.
He observed that now that government is encouraging community involvement in the management of protected areas, communities around parks are likely to benefit.
Board Chair of Kasungu Wildlife Conservation for Community Development, a local organization working with communities around the park, Dr Malidadi Langa, described the gesture as “an energizer” in the fight against environmental depletion.
“With the bridge, people from both sides of Mutchenda river can engage in economic activities which will, in turn, empower them by reducing pressure on depending on the environment to make ends me.”
The bridge was handed over to the community through the Kasungu District Council whose chairperson, John Tomoka, challenged the people around Kasungu National park to intensify conservation efforts in order to benefit more from the department.
The department has since signed an MoU with communities around the park so that villagers participate in the conservation of the park through KAWICCODA.
According to Kumchedwa, IFAW funded the project to the tune of K12m as part of its Malawi-Zambia Elephant Conservation project ending in 2021.