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Application Form

START 2009 Call for Pre-Proposals

for grants in support of one year of research related to
global environmental change in Africa

Project Title: Climate variability and change in Malawi: Encouraging sustainable small scale
farming in the Lower Shire Valley in the context of agricultural practice reforms with respect to
climate change. A case study of Konzere and Mwananjovu

Principal Investigator’s Name and Title: CHARLES LANGTON VANYA, MR.

Telephone: 265-9-380 545; 265-1-822 106
Fax: 265-1-822 215

Are you a current or past START Award recipient? YES/NO; if YES provide details:N/A
Are you currently seeking other funding from START? YES/NO; if YES provide details:N/A

The proposed research will address which of the following goals for global environmental change
research? (Mark one or more boxes.)

Improve knowledge of the Earth’s past and Earth’s climate and related systems may change
present climate and environment, including its in the future.
natural variability, and improve understanding Understand the sensitivity and adaptability of
of the causes of observed variability and change. different natural and managed ecosystems and
Improve quantification of the forces bringing human systems to climate and related global
about changes in the Earth’s climate and related changes.
systems. Assess impacts, adaptation and risk
Reduce uncertainty in projections of how the management strategies related to climate
variability and change
Proposed requested amount from START during 2009: US$13,550.00
Funding from Other Sources: US$IN KIND
Total project funding: US$13,550.00

Submission: After completing the information on this page, please prepare a Pre-Proposal by filling in the spaces
beginning on page 2. Total length (Including this page) is not to exceed four (4) pages including the budget.

Submit as a single email attachment (MSWord is the preferred format) to:

Please create a file name for your Pre-Proposal using the name of the Principal Investigator in capital letters as noted
in the following example: MASEKELA_2009_Africa_Pre-Proposal.doc

Inquiries about the application process and submission can be directed to:
International START Secretariat:
2000 Florida Ave. NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20009 USA
Tel: +202-462-2213
Fax: +202-457-5859
Attn: Skip Kauffman

Due date: midnight (24:00) US Eastern Time on Friday, 15 August 2008.

2009 Pre-Proposal START African Small Grants


Project Title: Climate variability and change in Malawi: Encouraging sustainable small scale 

farming in Lower Shire Valley in the context of agricultural practice reforms with respect to 
climate change. A case study of Konzere and Mwananjovu villages.

Proposed Research: Describe the proposed research project with special emphasis on the portion of the
project that might be supported by START (Maximum length: 500 words)
Extreme   climatic   events   (variations   in   season   and   weather   patterns)   ranging   from   severe 
drought conditions to extreme flood events have been on the increase in Malawi. Notably were 
the droughts of 1991/92 and 2004/2005 and flooding of 1956, 1967, 1976, 1986, 1989, 1995, 1996, 
2001, 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007. During the flood year of 1996/97, some parts of the extreme 
north   of   the   country   experienced   severe   drought.   These   events   have   negative   effect   on   the 
planting dates as they vary from year to year due to climate change andvariability.  When the 
variation is extreme, it seriously affect the agricultural productions and socio­economical  status 
of   the   people   in   general   and   the   vunerable   local   scale   farmers   in   particuler   as   most   of   the 
affected   groups   are   mostly   children,   women   and   the   elderly   as   they   totally   depend   on 
agriculture   for   subsistence   and   income   generation.   Considering   that   90%   of   the   people   of 
Malawi,   mainly   the   poor­rural   communities   (farm   families)   are   predominantly   engaged   in 
subsistence   rain­fed   agriculture,   which   periodically   gets   affected   by   dry   spells,   particularly 
during early January. Therefore, information on the statistically developed probabilities of dry 
spells occurring at particular stages during the growing season is very vital to local small scale 
farmers  for decision making in their agricultural production. This type of information may be 
obtained   from   the   Meteorological   Department   and   transmitted   to   farmers   through   the 
agricultural   advisors.   Most   cereal  crops,   which   are   the   main   staple   foods   crop  in   the   Shire 
valley, requires sufficient moisture during their critical stages. For example flowering of maize 
crop   usually   takes   place   during   the   months   of   January   and   February   the   months   most 
vulnerable   to   dry   spells.   Rainfall   in   these   particular   months   varies   from   year   to   year.   The 
occurrence   of   dry   spells   during   this   period   can   have   a   negative   effect   on   crop   production. 
Erratic rains have resulted in yearly acute crop failure in the area despite the increase in farm 
inputs such as fertilizers and combined efforts to improve seasonal weather forecasting at the 
beginning of the rainy season. In addition, there is  clear evidence that the rainfall pattern over 
Shire Valley is changing with onset shifting towards the middle of the season. This implies that 
even though  the  rainfall  amount   is   the   same,     more   rains  fell  within  a   shorter  period  than 
spreading out in the growing season. Therefore ,the wished­for project addresses one of the core 
challenges   highlighted   by   the   Government’s   Malawi   Growth   and   Development   Strategy 
(MGDS)   2006–2011  while   fostering  the   Millennium  Development   Goals   (MGDs1,   3,4   and  7) 
which aims at eradicating hunger in Malawi through fostering sustainable economic growth 
and the creasing up with fair and un­biased distribution. The strategy recognizes that medium 
term growth can be driven by agricultural development through the expansion and diversifying 
production techniques which include the use of climate change information. To chieve this the 
project seek to improve the capacity of the Meteorological Services in the production of climate 

information to suite the local scale farming in the area through the analysis the areal climate 

Ties to goals for climate change research: Describe how this proposal will contribute to the goals for
global environmental change research. (Maximum length: 250 words)
Purpose of this project proposal is to enable small scale farmers around Mwananjovu and 
Konzere areas to better manage risks and opportunities associated with climate change and 
variability through evaluating and demonstrating the potential and impact of climatic forecasts. 
To enable farmers to plan and perform more effectively while at the same time fostering the 
value of using information on climatically induced droughts and potential climate changes in a 
long term. The use of the existing agricultural structures such as farm clubs would help in the 
capacity building of small­scale farmers through participatory approach thereby enhancing use 
of climate information and products. This would help to build the capacity of institutional 
structures, particularly the meteorological and agriculture services to effectively use climate 
data in agricultural development with an aim of helping the sustainability of the local small­
scale farmers. The project will result in meaningful methods of evaluating and demonstrating 
the effects of climate variability, cropping patterns and cultivation practices in Malawi 
partucularly around Mwananjovu and Konzere.  Such improved climate information use will 
result in improved capability to assess crop failure hazard, effectiveness of climate application 
to farming practices and prioritize intervention strategies.  The assessment and awareness 
campaign would increase the use of climatic information and assist the Meteorological service 
in the capacity building which would target users.  Therefore  this project  therefore adresses 
the core issue posed by the objectives of global change resaerch (MGDS) while fostering the 
(MDGs) which aims at eradicating hunger through fostering economical growth

Capacity Building: Describe how the project will build capacity at African institutions and for scientists
who conduct global change research. (Maximum length: 150 words)
It is expected through this project   that using the existing structures, agriculture field officers 
would be trained in basic skills required to analyse , interpret and use climate information into 
agricultural extension message for their areas, together with their supervisory staff, especially 
the District Agriculture Development Officer (DADO). One distinct advantage of involving the 
DADO   would   be   replication   to   other   Agricultural   Etenstion   Planning   Areas(AEPA)   upon 
successful implementation in the impact areas. Through this collaboration, there will be sharing 
of   knowledge,   skill   and   information   with   the   Ministry   of   agriculture   through   their   field 
agricultural   advisers   at   EPA/Agricultural   Development   Divisions(ADDs).   Finally, 
improvements   in   the   understanding   of   the   application   of   climate   information   will   be 
communicated to Ministry of Agriculture and Parliamentary committee on Agriculture so that 
policy   and   decision   makers   will   be   in   a   position   to   benefit   from   the   outcome   of   this   pilot 

International Collaboration: Describe how the project will foster international collaboration. (Maximum
length: 150 words)
this project will foster the government effeort in reducing hnuder thereby by assisting Malawi's 
reliance on food aid from international agencies like World Food Program, World bank and 
others non governmental agencies (e.g. Care Malawi,ActionAid, and World Vision) who are 
helping farmers to breed livestock in the areas as means of curbing the climate change and 
variability impacts on the livelihoods of the poor small scale farmers . 

Collaborators: Provide a list with the name of each participating investigator and collaborator including
title, name and institutional affiliation. (Maximum length: 150 words)
PRIVATE BAG 1 CHIKWAWA, MALAWI.     TEL:265­9­052 394 FAX:265­1­420 014
   PRIVATE BAG1 NGABU, MALAWI  TEL:265­1­427 276 Email:

Links To Decision Making: Provide an explanation of how the project will contribute to decision-making
for policy makers and others. (Maximum length: 150 words)
  Lack of capacity and skills to adapt to climate change and variability strategies are attributed 
to non existing policies  to support  the  local communities in the mitigation of  impacts brought 
about by the changes and variation in climate . Therefore upon successful implementation of 
this poroject at field level, Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture would be invited for lesson 
sharing on how climatic data analysis would aid farmers’ decisions on their farming activities. 
Different climatic products would be at display offering a wider choice of decision tools that 
farmers would use in planning their activities. This is expected to increase awareness of the role 
of Met Departments in enhancing food security at both national and household level. Increase 
in awareness by parliamentarians would lead to lobbying for more funding towards the 
country’s Meteorological Department and increased need for  finding new crop varities that are 
drought torrerant and matures  early. 

Budget: Provide an estimation of a proposed expenses using the table below. Please indicate how you
intend to spend funds by category. (You do not need to fill in each box.)

Proposed Expenses (US$)

Personnel 2000.00
Equipment 1200.00
Travel 1500.00
Other Direct Costs:
Workshop and Meetings costs: (includes local 3000.00
transport and expenses, catering rentals, etc.)
Project research costs (includes local and 2250.00
regional transportation)
Materials and supplies 1100.00
Publications/ dissemination costs 1500.00
Communication costs 1000.00
TOTAL US$13,550.00