Where we work: Malawi

Community Leaders Network is a collaborative grouping of rural representatives from Angola, Botswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The National CBNRM Forum

The National CBNRM Forum is a network of seven community associations established under the National Wildlife Act as the enabling legal framework that puts local communities at the centre of wildlife and ecosystem conservation. These community associations have been established among communities living around seven protected areas; Kasungu National Park, Nyika National Park, Nkhota-kota Game Reserve, Lake Malawi National Park, Liwonde National Park, Lengwe National Park, and Majete Game Reserve.


Just like many other countries in Africa, Malawi embarked on policy reforms and a democratization process in the 1990s in order to embrace the paradigm shift of community participation in natural resource management. Since the Earth Summit in Brazil in 1992, countries the world over have embraced this shift in natural resource management which aims at promoting sustainable management of natural resources, social justice and improved well-being for local communities, and strong partnerships between local communities and the government.

Since the 1970s, several countries in the SADC region have experimented with involving local communities in the protection and management of natural resources. In Zimbabwe, for example, the Communal Area Management Program for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) project has had some notable successes and similar efforts are underway in Namibia, Botswana, and Zambia as well as in other countries. The new paradigm shift came to be known as community-based natural resource management (CBNRM). Many scholars have tried to define CBNRM in the context of their understanding and implications for the communities. In Malawi, CBNRM is often called co-management since it involves a negotiated agreement between the State and the local stakeholders.

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The National CBNRM Forum plays a crucial coordination role to galvanize the critical mass of community voices around policy advocacy, resource mobilization, and capacity building. Under Co-Management Agreements (CMA) signed with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), community associations receive 25% of all revenues generated by the protected areas. The Forum is a founding member of the Community Leaders Network (CLN).

Contact details:

  1. Malidadi Langa, Interim Executive Director; Email: kajikhomere@gmail.com
  2. Brighten Ndawala, Secretary; Email: ndawalabrighten@gmail.com


To consolidate gains so far made, the seven local community associations, with support from Resource Africa/Jamma International are in the process of establishing a national umbrella body known as the National CBNRM Forum (NCF) to galvanize the community voice for lobby and advocacy” – Malidadi Langa, Interim Executive Director of the National CBNRM Forum



Malawi’s emerging CBNRM program is underpinned by the Environmental Management Act which provides for a collaborative approach to environmental protection and management including its sustainable use and sharing the benefits thereof.

Compared to other countries in the region, Malawi’s CBNRM sector is not dominated by wildlife but
other forms of natural resources

CBNRM is taking place in all the natural resource sectors as part of a policy implementation process.


So far seven local community associations have been established around seven protected areas;

Nyika/Vwaza National Park, Kasungu National Park, Nkhotakota Game Reserve, Lake Malawi National Park, Liwonde National Park, Lengwe National Park, and Majete Wildlife Reserve.

All of them have signed co-management MOUs with the DNPW and are receiving the 25% revenue share.