FOCUS-Africa’s Harvest of Impact: Climate Resilience in the Heart of Malawi


Sunny weather, beautiful landscapes and smiley faces welcomed us in the Warm Heart of Africa. The CS2 team, made up of DCCMS, BSC, WEMC, and LGI set out from Blantyre to the historical village of Zomba. Here, in this inspiring environment, we engaged with local farmers and extension officers, facilitated by NASFAM – the National Association of Smallholder Farmers of Malawi, our key service partner, who also helped us organise the workshop and invite the participants.

Focus group discussion with farmers and extension officers in Zomba, Malawi. 6th November 2023

The workshop, a pivotal element of our mission, was a day dedicated to delving into the farmers’ use of seasonal forecasts and the array of adaptation options embedded in their farming practices. LGI led a dynamic focus group discussion, where we shared DCCMS’s seasonal forecast, interpreted it together, and collectively explored strategies to navigate climate risks. This aim of the participatory approach was to empower farmers to co-create their own adaptation strategies through dialogues with scientists. Additionally, the focus group discussion provided insights for the ex-post socio-economic impact assessment, which aims to determine the practical value of CS2’s seasonal forecasts for smallholder farmers.

Transitioning to the second day of our mission, we found ourselves at DCCMS’s offices in Blantyre, the economic capital of the country, surrounded by majestic mountains. Here, we gathered with a group of DCCMS colleagues to present the progress made since the last update.

FOCUS Africa CS2 team members and DCCMS representatives who attended the Teal tool training. Blantyre, Malawi, 7th November 2023

This day was also the occasion for WEMC to introduce the new onset calculation methodology and facilitate a hands-on session with the Teal tool, our seasonal forecast platform, which we saw as an opportunity for fostering a collaborative environment for knowledge exchange. Feedback from DCCMS encompassed both seasonal and multi-annual climate services.

The multiannual product became another segment of the CS2 services thanks to last year’s missions to Tanzania and Malawi, when a few stakeholders, including NASFAM, requested information on a multi-annual timescale. NASFAM members stated that they see potential value in this information for activities with a planning horizon of the next 2-5 years. Find more details about the FOCUS-Africa multi-annual tool feedback here.

In pursuit of ensuring a lasting impact, the team engaged with UNDP and GIZ representatives during the mission in Malawi, followed by a virtual meeting with the Norwegian Embassy. Notably, discussions about the FOCUS-Africa services’ legacy and sustainability took centre stage. These meetings explored collaboration avenues and identified potential funding opportunities, laying the groundwork for the sustained legacy of our services beyond the project.