On the hot, humid morning of Saturday February 17, 2018, the Southern Africa Resilience Innovation Lab (SARILab) and a subset of the random sample of the populations of TA Ndamera and TA Nyachikadza returned to the site of the June 2017 Deliberative Poll (DP) to hear the results. The group of over 150 community members was joined by local officials, other key stakeholders in Nsanje District, and the research team from the ResilientAfrica Network (RAN). Nsanje is home to two traditional authorities (TAs) that face severe challenges from recurrent flooding. These are TA Nyachikadza and TA Ndamera. Once it floods in TA Nyachikadza, the inhabitants in this low land seek refugee in the nearest upland, TA Ndamera. The challenges of these two communities have over the years worsened and government efforts and policies have not been efficient hence the need to conduct a Deliberative Polling exercise to gauge the citizen’s voices in regards to the challenges facing them. All these efforts are directed towards strengthening community resilience.
The research team convening this dissemination meeting was led by Dr. Donald Makoka of the Center for Agricultural Research and Development (CARD) of the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Prof. Lekan Ayo-Yusuf, the director of the Southern Africa Resilience Innovation Lab, Kathleen Giles, the manager of the Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford University, and two representatives from RAN Harriet Adong, Communications Manager and Christine Muhumuza, Research Officer. With funding from United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the first ever DP was carried out in Malawi in June 2017 by the team above and other colleagues from each of their institutions.