Final Evaluation Brief: Supporting Sustainable Land Management to Improve Hydropower Generation in Malawi

Final Evaluation Brief: Supporting Sustainable Land Management to Improve Hydropower Generation in Malawi

Changes in Land Management Practices and Gender Roles Were Widely Sustained
Published: Sep 30, 2022
Publisher: Millennium Challenge Corporation
Associated Project

Kristen Velyvis

Naomi Dorsey

Joy Nyabwari

Cameron Williams

Jacqueline Shieh

Key Findings
  • In well-implemented Environmental and Natural Resources Management (ENRM) grants, project participants continued adoption of many sustainable land management practices.
  • Participants from well-implemented Social and Gender Enhancement Fund (SGEF) interventions sustained shifts in household and community gender roles for three years after the grants because of the benefits they experienced.
  • Among well-implemented grants, most participants are confident in the longer-term adoption of sustainable land management practices and changes in gender roles due to benefits such as increased yields, income, and ability to attend to household well-being.
  • The grant facility overseeing the grants ultimately did not contribute to achieving the ENRM Project’s objective of reduced weeds and sedimentation. It was not able to make environmental improvements noticeable at the level of the Shire River Basin because only a small fraction of the land and people of the Basin were involved in the grant programs. However, stakeholders think that with time, some of the interventions could still make a difference locally.

Hydroelectricity powers Malawi’s electricity grid. Just three hydropower plants along the Shire River represent 70 percent of the country’s total electricity generation capacity, making it susceptible to environmental changes that inhibit power generation. Changing climate and land use practices limit plant utilization by causing increased sedimentation in the head ponds of the power plants, which reduces water levels, and by amplifying weed growth, which clogs plant turbines. This report is the first of two volumes that offer the final findings of a six-year evaluation of the Millennium Challenge Corporation’s $20 million Environmental and Natural Resources Management (ENRM) Project, part of the $347 million Malawi compact (2013-2018). The ENRM project aimed to reduce power plant disruptions and increase electricity generation efficiency in part by creating a grant facility to support communities in adopting sustainable land management practices and to help women and vulnerable groups in those communities improve their economic and social rights and their decision-making power within their households and communities. The findings reported are based on a performance evaluation that comprehensively evaluated the ENRM project’s implementation, outcomes, and sustainability.

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