Concerns Unaddressed, Communities in Malawi Continue Campaign on the Salima Solar Project

I first learned of the Salima Solar Project in September 2018, when local media reported that the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM), the state-owned power utility company, had signed MOUs with two private companies. Looking for any potential involvement by international finance institutions, I immediately searched for the project in the Early Warning System database and then online, but I could not find any documented involvement by them yet.

Learn more about the Salima Solar Project from the Early Warning System.

“We want the company to commit to the respect and protection of human rights, by ensuring that it does not exacerbate or contribute to human rights violations through its activities and that it minimizes avoidable suffering, especially among marginalized and excluded groups.” — Michael Kaiyatsa, CHRR

Michael Kaiyatsa, Programmes Manager, CHRR
  • Communities were reportedly not fully informed about the project and its impacts on their lives, livelihoods and environment;
  • Formally, the project had received support from the Salima District Executive Committee (a technical body comprising heads of government departments, NGOs and other development partners) which provides advice to the Salima District Council. However, the community reported that no proper consultations with stakeholders, including affected communities, were conducted.
  1. Become informed on how to settle land disputes in light of the new legislation — The Customary Land Act, 2016 — governing community rights to purchase, possess and use land for settlement and cultivation.
  2. Develop a memorandum of understanding between affected communities and JCM Matswani Solar Corporation Limited, facilitated by CHRR, to encourage positive participation in the project.

CHRR is currently supporting communities to document their concerns and in the next few weeks, we will be supporting the communities to convey those concerns to those responsible for the project. We will also be advocating the company to respond to those concerns and ensure that the project does not violate their rights or cause environmental harm. — Michael Kaiyatsa, CHRR

Michael Kaiyatsa, Programmes Director, CHRR at a community meeting in Malawi

International Accountability Project works to defend the rights, land and livelihoods of people threatened by destructive development projects.

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