Chembe BVCs Sensitisation Workshop Report

Held at Cape Maclear Environmental Education Centre

4-5 November 2005

Facilitators List

E.D Mataka - Fisheries Assistant

F. Kaulembe - Community Development

A.D. Anubi - Ministry of Health (HSA)

Justice Sumaili - Dzimwe Radio

J. Chinguwo - Parks and Wildlife Education and Extension Officer

Paul Mwasesa - Ministry of Education.

Participants List

G.V.H Chembe (Village Headman) , Mrs Phauza Chandema (Village Headman representative), Gryson Abele (Secretary to GVH Chembe), Eviness Nankumba, Edison Chandema. Josephine

From Dwale BVC:
S. Zuza (BVC Chairman), T. Mvula (Vice Chairman), C. Mkandawire (Secretary), H..Masula (Vice Secretary), T. Nkhunde (Treasurer), V. Williams (Vice Treasurer), J. Button (Member), K. Eledi (Member), D. Peyala (Member)

From Mchenga BVC:
H.D Jali (Upper Shire/Malombe Association Member), Lukio Banda (BVC Chairman), Kilosi Amosi (Vice Chairman), Bizeti Chisale (Secretary), Teddie Kapichira (Vice Secretary), Matolera Bester (Treasurer), Alias Ndindi (Vice Treasurer), Kapasule John (Member), Evasi Kaluwa (Member), Maliness Chitsulo (Member), H. J Phiri (Member)

From Msonga BVC:
Emmanuel Mzuza (Chairman), Imani Kambani (Vice Chairman), Jephtha Pashani (Secretary), Berson Chisale (Vice Secretary), Lackson Eledi (Treasurer), Grace Jossiah (Vice Treasurer), Steria Engine (Member), Imani Phesere (Member), Nasitatu Daison (Member), Dorothy Pakati (Member)

The Fisheries Assistant, Mr Mataka welcomed the participants and requested a volunteer to open the meeting with a word of prayer t. This was later followed by self-introductions. It was noted that three participants represented their friends and the facilitator emphasized the importance of having the owners present in that it assist with effective implementation of the activities using knowledge acquired from the meeting.

Mr Anubi presented Norms, fears, expectations and timetable development of the meeting. (See attached timetable for contents).

Training Objectives

  1. To remind the BVCs on their roles
  2. Activities which are to be carried by BVCs i.e. making patrols along the beach to check that nobody is using illegal nets..
  1. Enforcing regulations during closing season when cichlids (mbaba) are breeding in shallow waters (100 meters zone)

The presenter reminded BVC members that they are responsible for the welfare of fish resources to ensure sustainability through proper fishing methods and equipment use. He emphasized that membership of the committee is through election performed by the Village subjects that ensure that the members elected into office are eligible and trusted to carry out desired duties on behalf of the Village. The Fisheries Assistant explained that people eligible to be part of the BVC committee should have the following requirements:

  1. Be a fisherman or
  2. A fish monger or
  3. Those people who are conscious in conservation activities.

The Facilitator asked the participants the reason why a Village Headman is not supposed to be a member of the BVC. It was noted that a Village Headman is just a Patron of the committee responsible for guidance and counseling. This was proved to be a safer initiative to avoid corruptive practices within the committee.

The presentations had to divided into two groups to answer three questions to be presented after breaking. The questions developed were as follows

What are the duties/functions of the BVC?

What are the characteristics of a good leader?

What are the differences between a leader and a boss?

The meeting reconvened after the breaking and group discussions. Group one took first presentation from he three questions.

Functions of the BVC were explained by their representative as:

  1. Checking illegal fishing activities
  2. Enforce legal fishing regulations
  3. Protect small fish along the lake shore to ensure sustainable utilization
  4. Coordinate fishing activities and messages between the local fishermen and the fisheries department.

On the Characteristics of a leader, group 1 had:

  1. Somebody with good characters
  2. A trustworthy and exemplary personality
  3. The one who is humble, alert and able to listen and interpret decisions from other people

Differences between a leader and a boss as regard to the understanding of group one:


Take part in making things happen

Take other peoples' decisions

Assume being behind of the group to see everybody in front of him


Point at juniors to act without his involvement

He is always right, his decisions are final.

Assume being in front for him to act.

Presentations from group 2 on duties/functions of the BVC were as follows:

  1. Look after safety of aquatic resources to ensure that are replenished
  2. Monitor legal fishing equipment
  3. Conduct awareness meeting with fishermen to discuss issues impacting fishing activities
  4. Conduct meetings to discuss progress on fishing activities

On qualities of a leader, group two presented the following:

  1. Should love other people and should also be loved by people
  2. Should be respectable and honest
  3. Should be exemplary for the rest to cope

On differences between a leader and a boss, group two had:


Chosen by people

Regards the importance of the rest of his people he/she leads

Accepts their weaknesses and seek for forgiveness and positive decision


A status gained because of the nature of his/her office

Regards himself very important than the rest of the people under him

He is always right people have to observe his /her status

After the presentations above, Mr. Mataka asked the participants to relate the current fish catch trend with the past to elderly participants. In answering, the participants were knowledgeable enough to answer some of the causes of this dwindling trend in the fish catch. Suggested contributing factors to the current fish catch were as follows:

  1. increased number of fishing methods e.g. Kauni, Trawling and mkacha etc
  2. Use of destructive fishing methods and gears such use of small meshed nets. On this it was noted that previous net mesh were not as small as they are now
  3. Increased number of fishermen fishing in protected areas like the 100m zone
  4. Over dependence on fish as a source of income for most of the local people along the lakeshore
  5. Increased number of the population of Malawi that has increased demand on fish.

A member from the Upper Shire fishing association, Mr H.D Jali explained that the major methods that have depleted fish in the lake of Malawi are the Chilimira methods. He reminded the participants that use of small meshed nets is prohibited in the Chembe BVCs. The procedures followed for fishermen migrating to fish in the Chembe Village are that are first identified by the local institution to get oriented on how they can go out fishing. Their fishing gears are inspected by the BVCs. Mr Jali however noted that sensitizations on fishing regulations have not been as intensive as was expected. The Fisheries Assistant, Mr Mataka then emphasized on the dangers of using under meshed nets. He remarked that beach seine nets are prohibited in area D (NAMKUMBA PENISULA).

A representative remarked on the importance of the days' session saying that the session was an eye opener to the committee. It was also noted that Fisheries had promised to develop fishing activities in the ADB Project. It was then learned that the government is slowly implementing the project and currently finalizing modalities in the selection of fishermen in groups ready to be trained before they can access loans. Mrs Kaulembe however reminded participants on the core objective of the meeting that it should not be mistaken with that which Fisheries may organize to address ADB project activities.

This Session brought us to the end of the first day.

In the morning of the first day after prayers, Mr Mataka led a recap of the previous days' sessions by highlighting characteristics of leaders, functions of the BVC, Fisheries regulations with emphasis on the importance of observing closed seasons saying are aimed at sustaining fish catches.

The Parks and Wildlife Education Officer, Mr Chinguwo started the second day with a new session on the background of the well-known Cape Maclear. The local inhabitants agreed that Cape Maclear was and is used to be known as:

  1. One of the heritage sites in Malawi.
  2. A biggest lakeshore fishing village
  3. The home of mbuna fish, which is endemic to the waters of Malawi and Cape Maclear in particular.

Mr Chinguwo then wanted to know from the participants' experience the development pattern of tourism in Cape Maclear. After tea break, presentations from the two groups indicated that, apart from the retarding fish catch trend, it was unanimously agreed that tourism activities are going down contributed by undeveloped road network, Unhealthy standards of the site, loss of security for tourists, untreated waters and unfriendly tour guides, among other things. It was then arrived at, besides improving the road network and infrastructure, that health standards are major effects retarding tourism development. It was learned that tourists are very sensitive to health standards of places they are planning to visit, taking into account that their bodies might not be immune to germs causing diseases. This presentation went up to the noon of the day.

Health problems and linkages and linkages to Tourism Development

In the afternoon, Mr Mwasesa from the Ministry of Education put more emphasis on the unhealthy conditions of most of the lakeshore areas and notably has been major spreading grounds of diseases. Major waterborne diseases identified by the participants in the lakeshore areas including Chembe Village were cholera, diarrhea, malaria, bilharzia, and dysentery. Mr Mwasesa then, called upon Mr Anubi from the ministry of health to enlighten the participants more on one of the selected diseases above, which was bilharzia, and its linkages to tourism development.

Mr Anubi separated the pandemic diseases such as cholera etc with that of bilharzias, saying unlike cholera, bilharzia is not easily noticed by people although the disease is very dangerous just like cholera. He also commented on the immune system that may be developed by those who were first attacked by the disease and the danger this may cause with those who have just been contacted for the first time, as may be the case with tourists. Mr Anubi went on explaining previous initiatives to deal with the disease by the Danish Bilharzia Control Project and the phases that they had gone through. It was again an eye opener to the participants to learn that the disease did was not completely eradicated despite the efforts of DBL.

The meaning of bilharzia was then defined followed by its types. Mr Anubi emphasized that bilharzia is a water-spread disease, which is passed on through either defecating or urinating in water. A life cycle of the bilharzia spreading worms was drawn and each stage explained to the participants. This followed by its symptoms. The participants then learned that some of the complications of bilharzia as a disease are:

  1. Urinal or Intestinal cancer
  2. Swollen belly
  3. Infertility
  4. Anemia and sometimes insanity.

Prevention of Bilharzia

Having toilets and use them efficiently

Avoid urinating or defecating in water

Removal of snails from swampy areas

Avoid getting in contact with water in swampy/dumpy areas

Avoid polluting in water through proper waste disposal mechanisms.

Impacts of illegal fishing methods and linkages to Bilharzia out break

Mr. Chinguwo remarked on the linkages of un supported fishing methods to the outbreak of Bilharzias by firstly introducing the biological methods of controlling disease causing pests. It was noted that there is a natural way in which bilharzias in the same way is controlled using the snailing fishes such as mbaba. Over fishing that may wipe out the snailing fishes increases cases of bilharzias because of unchecked lifecycles of the eggs causing the disease. An areas infested with bilharzias may hardly be visited by tourists and this may be a major consequence as has been noted in Cape Maclear. The facilitator went on describing fishing as a cultural behavior of the Chembe Village and as such change in trend of fish catch shall also change the culture of the village. He gave an example of fishing occupation being shifted to fuel wood and charcoal selling. This shall also bring about un employment problems and aggravation of HIV/AIDS cases because of loss of status of breadwinners who are mostly those earning money for the family.

Mr Chinguwo went on explaining the importance of the 100-metre zone fishing Ban. He also gave the importance of the southern end of Lake Malawi as regard to the number of fish population. He said the southern end being shallow and penetrable by sunlight is blessed with high production of photo planktons hence fish production is high. The said 100-metre zone is relatively shallow and accommodates grounds for breeding hence the need to be protected.

Development of BVC action plans

Mrs Kaulembe finally led the committees in two groups to the development of action plans. Consolidated presentations were as follows:

Responsible Committee



Chembe BVCs

Ban all illegal fishing activities conducted along the lakeshores of Chembe Village

All Year

Protect small fishes through enforcement in observing closed seasons

November to December annually.

Facilitate prosecution of all fishermen found violating fishing regulations

All year.

Supervise all coming fishing gears brought by fishermen from other beaches.

All year

Monitor fishing methods followed by fishermen

All year

Conduct Coordinated BVC Meetings as a forum for discussing fishing impediments.


Conduct bimonthly BVC meetings

At the beginning and at the end of each month

Coordinate fishing activities between local fishermen and the department of fisheries

All year.

Closing remarks

Mr. Mataka emphasized the importance of implementing the activities set in the action plans. He said it is easy to plan but more importantly in the implementation of activities. He advised the group to be active and avoid corruptive practices by getting everybody in the committee involved in monitoring fishing activities. He advised the Village Headman not to take advantage of charging the culprits more than their case. He also indicated that all the planned activities will monitored and supervised.

The BVC meeting President.

Thanked the participants and the facilitators that the proceedings have been fruitful and once again advised to collaborate efforts in the implementation of the activities to avoid working in isolation. He also advised on the importance of consulting one another during problems to ensure participatory decision-making.

Group Village Headman Representative

In the absence of the Village Headman, a representative, Mr Chandema gave courage to the committee to work to their expectations in dealing with any illegal practice. He assured the facilitators that she is going to work closely with the committee and to expect reports on the progress of the BVC.

Meeting closed at 5:15 pm.