Taking stock of community-based flood risk management in Malawi: different stakeholders, different perspectives

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
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Current flood risk strategies in Malawi are characterised by community-based flood risk management (CB-FRM), even though studies explicitly documenting evidence of successful CB-FRM remain limited. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the realities and challenges of CB-FRM as seen through a lens of different stakeholder groups. In order to capture the experiences of CB-FRM in Malawi, a predominantly qualitative research framework was developed. In April 2016, eleven focus group discussions with stakeholder groups (local communities, local government and non-governmental organisations) were held. Additionally, informal discussions, field visits, a short survey and an extensive desk study were undertaken. The findings were analysed according to the major themes that emerged related to the realities and challenges of specific stakeholder groups. Although response and relief still remain prominent components of CB-FRM in Malawi, a number of mitigation and preparedness activities is observed . However, a lack of in-country resources, relief- oriented aid approaches and a ‘aid dependency’ syndrome represent obstacles. Different stakeholder groups share similar challenges, conditioned by their specific contexts, in terms of financing, participation, decentralised governance and project management. Lack of project sustainability and localised ownership also emerged as major challenges. The identified challenges help shed light on the frontiers and directions in which improvements are needed in Malawi, thus offering a valuable contribution to the existing knowledgebase.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalEnvironmental Hazards
Early online date25 Sept 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Sept 2017


  • Malawi
  • floods
  • community-based flood risk management (CB-FRM)
  • community-based disaster risk reduction (CB-DRR)


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