The St Andrews Prize for the Environment

University of St Andrews

ConocoPhillips

2015 Finalist

THE RIPPLE EFFECT: Integrated approach to conservation

THE RIPPLE EFFECT: Integrated approach to conservation

Empowering communities in the beautiful country of Malawi since 2003, RIPPLE Africa is a UK registered charity working to improve the environment, local education and healthcare. Since its inception Geoff and Liz Furber and their team have aimed to empower communities to achieve a sustainable future by helping them find their own innovative, simple and sustainable solutions to identified problems.

The RIPPLE Effect is an environmental project, which provides an integrated approach to environmental issues faced by those living in the heavily populated Nkhata Bay District of northern Malawi. The project aims to conserve forested areas, introduce fuel-efficient cook stoves supplemented by tree planting and conserve fish stocks in Lake Malawi.

All levels of the community are involved in these self-sufficient projects with RIPPLE continuing to build strong relationships with local government. Working closely with Nkhata Bay District Assembly, the Fisheries Department, the Forestry Department, the District Environmental Department, local chiefs and communities, they help local people to find low cost, practical and sustainable solutions to problems they identify, with continuous support at all levels.

The project is underpinned by a strong educational element to make sure that all local people involved in the project really understand the implications of their activities.

The successful model created by RIPPLE can now be replicated throughout Malawi, and indeed throughout Africa. RIPPLE are already working with the Director of Fisheries to help roll out the fish conservation element of the project to other areas of Lake Malawi to expand the protected area. Working closely with local chiefs, communities and District Officials, they are also aiming to expand the use of the innovative and life changing Changu Changu Moto fuel-efficient cook stove, into neighbouring districts. This cook stove alone saves 80,000 bundles of wood a week and is a safer alternative in preparing hot food in each community.

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