Local Knowledge in Community-Based Flood Risk Management: Perspectives from the Lower Shire Valley in Malawi

Robert Sakic Trogrlic, Grant Wright, Adebayo Adeloye, Melanie J. Duncan, Faidess Dumbizgani Mwale

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Over the past decade, the role of local knowledge (LK) for disaster risk reduction (DRR) has been increasingly gaining prominence within both the research community and global policy processes (e.g. Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030). LK is possessed, developed and accumulated over time by local communities, and has helped them to manage the impacts of natural hazards. LK is embodied in community-based approaches, whose aim is to create sustainable, locally accepted and owned interventions while increasing community resilience to disasters. However, the evidence-base for LK in DRR remains limited, and there is an increasing call for developing a detailed understanding of its potential role. Hence, this research aims to contributing to the LK evidence base by presenting findings of a fieldwork conducted in the Lower Shire Valley in Malawi. The Lower Shire Valley has been chosen as a case study since it is the most flood-prone area of Malawi. The rural population is experiencing recurrent flooding, on an almost annual basis, hence equipping the local communities with the range of tools, skills and practices to manage flooding. A predominantly qualitative approach was employed (focus group discussions, semi-structured interviews and field visits), and research participants were recruited from a range of different backgrounds and levels (e.g. local communities, local government, NGOs, academia, national level participants). Research findings are clustered around two major themes: 1) an overview of the range and extent of LK in the case-study area, and 2) LK perspectives held by different stakeholder groups. The research contributes to a deeper understanding of the current status of LK for flood management in Malawi, and thus has a potential to inform practical approaches implemented at community level and development of localised DRR policies.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2017
EventThe Impact of Hazard, Risk and Disasters on Societies: IHRR/ DWD conference 2017 - Durham, United Kingdom
Duration: 19 Sept 201722 Sept 2017


ConferenceThe Impact of Hazard, Risk and Disasters on Societies
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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