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Border Communities Derive Benefits From Ecosystem Services

Power of living species of trees cannot be under estimated. The living bridge takes advantage of existing bigger trees that grow and points both sides of the river banks with branches leaning towards the river where the bench is set by local people that utilises services provided by the living tree species.

These are called Monkey Bridge according to our roving correspondent Tawachi Kaseghe who visited the area recently, it flies over Songwe River which is the main boundary - hence the bridge connects Malawi and Tanzania. This is typical the mode of movement for communities of both Malawi and Tanzania that share common border in Chitipa district and across the other side.

Keseghe uses the Monkey Bridge on Songwe River

It is almost 50 meters long, which is half the size of a football pitch. Apart from communities using it to link between Malawi and Tanzania. Primary school learners from Tanzania utilise this bridge on a daily basis to access classes at Zingwala Primary School in TA Mwaulwambiya in Chitipa and Ulanga District on the TZ side.

This is a typical example of regional integration. Accordingly, Southern African Development Community (SADC) opted for a development integration approach which recognises the political and economic diversities of regional integrating countries including their diverse production structures, trade patterns, resource endowments, development priorities, institutional affiliations and resource allocation mechanisms.

This approach also has the advantage of complementing trade liberalisation with sustainable corrective measures, designed to cushion the least developed member countries against shocks arising from the removal of trade barriers.

It further allows member states to define the scope and sectors of cooperation and to identify appropriate strategies and mechanisms to overcome impediments to integration and to address regional imbalances between states.

Monkey Bridges on the Songwe linking up border communities

As part of ensuring grassroots participation Strengthening the National-Regional Linkages (SNRL) in SADC programme is providing support to member states to enable them deepen regional integration and understanding among the local populace.

Pictures by Tawachi Kaseghe, AEJ Correspondent

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Tawachi Kaseghe
The author is an external correpondent for AEJ Malawi

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