Factors influencing the awareness and adoption of borehole-garden permaculture in Malawi: lessons for the promotion of sustainable practices

Rebekah G. K. Hinton, Christopher J. A. Macleod, Mads Troldborg, Gift Wanangwa, Modesta Kanjaye, Emma Mbalame, Prince Mleta, Kettie Harawa, Steve Kumwenda, Robert M. Kalin

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Using wastewater accumulating around rural waterpoints to irrigate community gardens, borehole-garden permaculture (BGP) presents a method of sustainable water management. BGP also presents public health benefits through the removal of stagnant water around boreholes, key Malaria breeding grounds, and through providing year-round food to supplement diets. By analysing a dataset of over 100,000 cases, this research examines the awareness and adoption of BGP across Malawi. Generalised linear models identified significant variables influencing BGP awareness and uptake revealing that socioeconomic, biophysical and waterpoint-specific variables influenced both the awareness and adoption of BGP. BGP had low uptake in Malawi with only 2.4% of communities surveyed practising BGP while 43.0% of communities were aware of BGP. Communities in areas with unreliable rainfall and high malaria susceptibility had low BGP awareness despite BGP being particularly beneficial to these communities. This work suggests that future work in the promotion of BGP should focus their efforts within these areas. Furthermore, this work highlights the value of community networks in knowledge sharing and suggests that such social capital could be further used by NGOs and the Government of Malawi in the promotion of BGP and other sustainable practices.
Original languageEnglish
Article number12196
Number of pages25
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2021


  • Africa
  • Malawi
  • SDG6
  • adoption
  • awareness
  • borehole management
  • generalised linear model
  • permaculture
  • sustainable practice

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