Tuesday, December 30, 2008

ADRA Malawi receives prestigious Media Award

After two years breack the MBC Enterteiners of the Years Awards returned on Friday 26 December. The MBC (Malawi Broadcasting Coorporation) Awards have a long history that goes back to 1970, as mentioned in the Newspaper “The Sunday Times”, and are the most prestigious Media Award in Malawi.

There are 20 categories that cover sports, Music, Drama, Radio, Presenters, Newspaper and Cartoon. Each category has three nominnees.

ADRA Malawi’s Tikuferanji radio program was nominated and won the category for “Radio Play of the Year”. Michael Usi writes: “Tikuferanji means why are we dying? The question attempts to provoke people to start thinking seriously about the factors that lead them into irresponsible sexual behaviors. The program is broadcast on both Malawi Broadcasting Corporation and Television Malawi. The program has been on radio for almost twelve years and on TV for about seven years. The initial purpose for the program was to deal with issues of HIV/AIDS in Malawi. The program has now taken on board other issues that affect the respect of human rights; HIV/AIDS being a cross cutting issue.”

ADRA’s Malawi Programs Director, Michael Usi, also won the Award for Actor of the Year.

Author: Emanuel da Costa

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I must admit that my first trip to Malawi did not dissapoint! ADRA Australia has been funding projects in Ntcheu district for the past few years now and the current Local Initiatives for Community Empowerment in Ntcheu (LICEN) project has continued to assist local communities gain a stronger voice with which to represent their needs to local authorities and has passed on the essential skills needed to address these needs where outside assistance is not consistent. 

A key aspect of the LICEN project is the role played by ADRA Malawi’s project staff in working with local community representatives to build the management and leadership skills of Kumanga Umodzi (KU’s) groups. These community based organisation (KU’s) are the chosen representatives for various entitees within their local communities and are responsible for advocating community needs in education, water, natural resources and health to the Village Development Committees and Area Development Committes. 

This model has helped to give the voices of people at the village level an easier line of communication to local government and traditional authorities and has helped to clarify the needs and achievements of communities within Ntcheu district.  

Photo: a local representative from a Kumaga Umodzi provides an update on the activities and needs within his community at the Area Development Committee meeting 

Sometimes, however, being able to communicate with traditional and government authorities does not always ensure that all the needs within a local community are going to be addressed. ADRA’s response to this has been to training local KU groups in business skills so that they can run their own business to raise funds to support meet the costs of activities and assets that have a social or economic benefit for the community as a whole. One community that we visited had chosen to run a bakery business and were receiving training from ADRA and two women from nearby community (who had also successfully implemented a bakery business) in how to run and manage a successful business. 

When asked what they hoped to use the funds from the bakery business for, a local elder suggested that they might like to start a larger business that assists in providing fuel for the local community.

Photo: A young woman assists ADRA staff to train a local community group on how to run and maintain a small bakery business for their community. 

The LICEN project also understands the needs and challenges of youth and their growing representation among the population of Malawi. Not all children in Ntcheu district have the opportunity to complete their primary and secondary education, so ADRA is working with school youth groups to help provide them with some essential life skills should they be unable to continue doing their schooling. To achieve this, ADRA chooses two teachers in partner schools to be mentors for their students assists them to train the students in life skills that warn them about HIV and AIDS and how to avoid it as well as equipping them with skills in farming, food preparation and in some cases sewing their own clothes.

Photo:  A young student shows the schools junior farmer field. Another boy shows off a shirt he has made during a sewing class at school.

Travelling with the project staff I visited three junior farmer fields where school children were learning essential farming techniques and proudly displayed a wide variety of the vegetables and other crops that they have grown. By supporting these activities within the LICEN project ADRA is helping the future generation of young boys and girls in Ntcheu gain the essential skills they need for life after school, while still being able to access formal learning. 

Author: Darin Roberts - International Program Manager, ADRA Australia

ADRA Malawi at pre-Icasa/Icasa Dakar AIDS Conference.

ADRA Malawi from 29th November to 8th December, 2008 attended a PACANet-Pre ICASA and the main ICASA AIDS Conference in Dakar, Senegal, Biennial International Conference on HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STI) in Africa, a key event on AIDS on the African Continent. It is a gathering of actors involved in the response to HIV/AIDS from African and other continents. Emma Jakobo and Michael Usi represented ADRA Malawi.

The PACANet is an organization of faith based organizations and associations that deal with HIV/AIDS and related issues. The main themes at the PACANet conference were: Treatment, Orphan and Vulnerable Children, Prevention and Theological reflection. The conference reviewed the declarations made in earlier conferences. The conference focused on whether the churches changed or been challenged by HIV/AIDS.

Communication for Social Change is another subject that ADRA Malawi and Inger Olosen from ADRA Denmark partner office shared with participants at the Dakar Conference.
There were about 100 participants at the PACNet- Pre ICASA conference.

The main ICASA conference that attracted about 10,000 participants had many presentations. ADRA Malawi particularly benefited from the launch of a DVD titled Courage and Hope. The DVD showcases the life events evolutions of Kenyan teachers who came out in the open to declare that they are HIV positive. It is a TALE of Heroes IN THE FIGHT AGAINST AIDS. The Film depicts overcoming stigma and discrimination through determination and knowledge of the HIV/AIDS.

Media in Development/ Communication for Social Change as well as best lessons from other organizations are some of the presentations that ADRA Malawi attended. ADRA discussed possible networking relationship with other Communication for Social Change Organizations likeSaul City of South Africa.

There were many other interesting topics that ADRA Malawi attended like the comprehensive approach to the prevention of diarrhoea, malaria and HIV/AIDS Control. The three diseases are approached comprehensively as a package with bed nets and water purifier given as incentives for an HIV test.

It was discussed at length whether the incentives given for the HIV test are not undermining the spirit of volunteering for the test. Some participants felt the incentives were more of a bribe than incentive. The concern was that some people would go for the test just because they want/need to get the incentives not necessarily that they have understood the value and implications of the test. The consequences could therefore be detrimental to the campaign for the promotion of VCT. Another concern was that this practice may discourage some would be VCT clients from going for the test without the incentives that others are getting for the test. However, the managers of the initiative explained that there have not been any negative developments that people expressed.

Overall, the conference was very fruitful and gave an opportunity to learn and share. It was a rewarding experience!!

Author: Micheal Usi

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

World AIDS day commemoration in Machinga

World AIDS day was commemorated on 1st December 2008 as has been the case since 1988 in the whole world. This year’s theme was STOP AIDS: KEEP THE PROMISE with a sub title on Leadership: Lead, empower and deliver.

In Machinga the day was celebrated in seven venues including Namandanje, where ADRA works in. The District coordinator for ADRA was nominated by District Executive Committee (DEC) members to be team leader for all activities that would happen on world aids day at Namandanje. A team of three other DEC members from NICE, Banja la mtsogolo and Police was selected to work together with the team leader.

Community mobilization was done through group village heads and a meeting with the people from Traditional Authority Liwonde occurred on 27th November 2008.
Rehearsals were done on 29th November.

The communities lead different activities including drama, songs, traditional dances with HIV and AIDS messages, making the event a success. Most of the groups that did well in their performances were mentored by ADRA Malawi through theater for development training that it offered to its youth clubs and facilitators. For example the best drama group was a youth group from Mangamba another site for ADRA in Machinga.

ADRA had similar activities in 4 other districts.

Author: Justin Kamudzulo - ADRA District Coordinator

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Water to Malamulo

Malamulo Adventist Mission Hospital is experiencing critical water shortage. The campus consists of the Hospital, a Medical School, a primary school, a boarding secondary school. Total numbers of water users at the campus is at the moment at 22,000 year with this including over 18,000 patients. The existing three boreholes are not adequate to supply water throughout the day. Coupled with other problems like the dam which was found to contain harmful chemicals and old pipe lines with frequent breakdowns. ADRA was requested to assist with this problem wish was possible due to the financial support of from the ADRA International office (http://www.adra.org/).
The first stage of ADRA’s intervention in Malamulo Hospital was completed after geophysical surveys were conducted and two sites for drilling were identified. Two borehole were drilled on the 19th and 20th to 21st November, 2008.
Next stages of intervention will include the installation of pumps, possible upgrading of the water storage or provision of a generator and replacement of the piping system conducting the water to the distribution at the mission site.
ADRA is furthermore assisting the Hospital by providing 104 mechanical beds with mattresses hopping to contribute to improved services provided to the patients.

Updated from Report by W. Chilonga – ADRA Malawi Water Expert

Monday, November 17, 2008

Water means life

When we arrive in the village, we see the new pump right in front of us. There are children all around it, happy children who are busy pumping water into basins and containers. They laugh when some of the water is splashed on their hands and legs. They know that water means life – and this well is giving them much water, much life.

But this is not the way it used to be in this village in the Mulanje area in southern Malawi. Up until about one year ago, this village had to rely on a well which is situated close to a small stream that runs through the area. Every litre of water that they needed had to be carried from that stream, and as usual, it was the duty of the women to provide their families with water.

The villagers tell me that they want to show me the well. “It is not very far,” they say, “in other villages, the women have to walk much further when they are bringing home the water.” So we set out along the road that leads from the village to the well. After a while I start wondering what the women mean when they say that it is not far. As a boy, I lived on a farm and I had to carry water to our animals every day, so I know how heavy it is to carry water. But I never had to carry it as far as this. And we just keep walking and walking, on and on …

At last we arrive at a steep ravine that has been created by the stream. The banks are muddy and they tilt sharply downwards, so it is not all that easy for an elderly and slightly overweight gentleman like me to manoeuvre my way down the slope to the stream. It is hot in the ravine, hot and moist. Ahead of me I can see a short pipe sticking out from the mud-wall. A small stream of water is coming out of the pipe. This is the well that has provided water for a village of some two thousand people. Until they got the pump, this was the only water source that they had.

Two women are filling their containers with water. It is a slow process. The women must have done this many times before, so they are patient and wait for the water to fill their vessels. But suddenly they look up at the trees above us. All the people around me suddenly become very quiet.

“There is a snake up there in the trees,” whispers my guide from ADRA Malawi. “It is a green mamba.”

I look up, but I cannot see anything. My untrained eyes cannot distinguish the snake from the foliage.

“Last year,” whispers my guide, “a girl was bitten by a snake when she was carrying water back to the village. She died.”

I shiver. I hope that the snake will find us uninteresting and disappear. And after a couple of minutes, the women start talking to each other again. The snake is gone. It has slithered off into the grass and disappeared somewhere along the path where we walked just a few minutes ago.

One of my companions tells me that some of the women have had to spend eight hours a day carrying water from this well. Many of them had to get up at 3am in the morning in order to bring home enough water so that the children would be ready and fed in time for school. But now the village has a deep well with a pump, and life has become different. The time that they had to spend bringing home water can now be used for other activities. It has become possible for them to start kitchen gardens and grow their own vegetables. This gives them more varied and nutritious food, and any surplus they get can be sold for cash. Now they can also set aside time for the adult literacy classes that ADRA Malawi has started.

The wells, kitchen gardens and literacy classes are all part of a project that ADRA Malawi is implementing with support from ADRA Sweden and the Swedish government. I am impressed with what I have seen. Just one well – and life has become so much easier for a whole village.

From: Per Bolling, ADRA Sweden

Monday, November 10, 2008

Enabling ADRA to authentically represent

ADRA Malawi and ADRA international recently launched a massive needs assessment initiative in two districts in Southern Malawi. The assessment involved collaborating with TANGO, a technical assistance consulting firm that works with NGOs. TANGO provided extensive tools to conduct a thorough needs assessment and determine the vulnerability of people in these areas.

ADRA’s team was composed of staff from both the ADRA Malawi and International offices consisting of Emanuel, Jennifer, Martine, Hastings, Chris, Thoko, Moses along with many other staff and team members of a team of more than 40 people. The assessment was two-prong involving a wide-ranging survey that was conducted with hundreds of individuals in their homes, and numerous interviews with eight village groups and leaders.

This exercise was rigorous, but an excellent opportunity for building the capacity of all involved. Even more importantly, it was an opportunity to connect with persons in the two districts enabling ADRA to authentically represent them by hearing their voices, their real needs, and understanding their potential, their dreams, and their reality.

Barbara Stuart - Planning, ADRA International

Monday, November 3, 2008

Gulewamkule dancing against AIDS

I love Malawi. Traveling in the country and experience the beautiful nature and the smiling people and relaxed atmosphere is something I enjoy every time I have visited the country. Of course there is also a lot of suffering and poverty and many challenges but still I am looking forward for every visit. It is encouraging to follow the good work ADRA Malawi is doing and the heavy impact it has had on especially people’s openness to the problems concerning HIV/AIDS. In ADRA Denmark we often use ADRA Malawi as an excellent example on how to get people involved in both problems and solutions through a lot of activities, especially using both radio and TV.

Last time I was visiting we had a quite scary experience meeting the gulewamkule dancers. We had heard about them and was curious to see them live, and we certainly did so in a small village near Mchinji. We were told just to wait under the shadows of a big tree and suddenly the drums started on a wild drum session and two strange looking figures came out from the back of a hut. They were very aggressive in their dancing and I could certainly understand why people are scared when they see them – especially if there are many and when you know that they are not scared of killing if they have to.

Michael Usi told me the story on how they had changed their focus from terror to talking about AIDS and warning people about the danger. Some of the women that are joining would sing questions like: “What is happening? Why are the young men and women dying from us?” And the gulewamkule dancers would answer with their strange animal like voices: “It is AIDS, the disease is real, it is among us and we have to fight against it.” They are Malawis secret weapon in the fight against aids – and secret it is since nobody are allowed to know the identity of the dancers or refer to a certain person being one of these dancers. It is a real big thing that they have been changing their focus and are now being helpful in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

No doubt in my heart that the good Lord is blessing the work that ADRA Malawi is doing. The devil is working hard as well we all know, but the good impact of ADRA Malawis efforts is there for all to see.

Looking forward hopefully to another visit
My best regards to all the staff at ADRA Malawi

From: Bjorn Kroll, PR coordinator, ADRA Denmark

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

ADRA assistance reaches HIV/AIDS-affected communities

In Malawi, where HIV/AIDS prevalence ranks eighth in the world, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) is assisting 4,200 low-income families through a three-year community-based health and food security project in the southern districts of Mwanza and Mulanje.

Targeting communities in rural areas, ADRA is helping HIV/AIDS-affected families access high quality and nutritious foods through initiatives that teach beneficiaries better ways to produce food using more effective farming methods. As part of this project, beneficiaries are also learning to grow drought resistant crops, and protect stored food from pests, spoilage, and other hazards. Additionally, ADRA is promoting the planting of community gardens as a tool to increase food accessibility among villagers.

"One of the most important parts of achieving long-term success in the project is to strengthen the capacities of the communities, as well as the capacities of individual people," said Michael Usi, director for programs at ADRA Malawi.

Included in the nutrition component of this project, participants attend classes to learn to improve the overall health of their families through appropriate food selection, nutritional diversification, and meal preparation. This approach has had a lasting effect on beneficiaries, as they are better able to retain crucial food nutrients, ultimately improving their health and immunity to disease.

"This section of the project has been very beneficial," said Usi. "Before, the elders of the community would say, 'all that matters is that your stomach is full.'"

As part of this three-year project, supported by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and ADRA Denmark, ADRA is also training community volunteer health workers to provide health, child-care, and nutrition counseling, and teach improved personal hygiene and sanitation. In addition, participants learn about sanitation and essential life skills to promote disease prevention.

In Nseula Village, located in Neno District, one of the most remote areas of Malawi, ADRA built a gravity-fed water supply system that is providing drinking water to approximately 1,085 people for the first time. This addition has made a significant difference in this village. ADRA is also constructing 130 wells, boreholes, and protected springs to improve water access in other communities.

"The value of access to safe water is immeasurable," said Usi. "Instead of spending time walking to get water, a chore which, for some, takes up to an hour, women are able to spend more time taking care of their children. In addition, if the water that you are bringing home is not clean, there is a much higher risk of spreading diseases. That is why ADRA makes it a priority to provide clean water in the communities in which we work."

ADRA is also providing livelihood training to child-headed households, enabling them to make a living and provide for their families. This initiative has been particularly important in Malawi where the AIDS pandemic has left thousands of orphans, resulting in an increasing number of children having to become the primary breadwinners. To date, more than 120 children and young adults between the ages of 12 to 24 have received vocational and life skills training, such as tailoring, tinsmithing, baking, brick laying, welding and carpentry. ADRA has also partnered with Malawi's Department of Social Welfare to encourage younger children to return to school, a plan that will allow them to only work for part of the day, and still support their families.

To ensure project sustainability, ADRA is increasing the capacity of the targeted communities through initiatives that establish village support groups, which can manage the resources once the project ends. ADRA is also training community leaders on issues such as organization, management, leadership, and planning, and educating communities on the importance of the rights of women, children, and other vulnerable groups.

"Beneficiaries have told us that they appreciate the impact of the project, due to the knowledge and skills that they have acquired," said Usi. "The project has definitely been a success. No doubt about it."

The three-year project is scheduled to close at the end of October. However, a second phase will begin in February of 2009.

ADRA has been active in Malawi since 1982, working primarily in the areas of disaster relief, water and sanitation, HIV and AIDS, family planning, agriculture, primary health, basic education, and empowerment of vulnerable groups, such as women and children.

ADRA is a non-governmental organization present in 125 countries providing sustainable community development and disaster relief without regard to political or religious association, age, gender, race or ethnicity.

Additional information about ADRA can be found at www.adra.org. 

Author: Nadia McGill (ADRA International)
Source: www.adra.org, www.reliefweb.int

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Food Security series - IHFS

The main objective of this ADRAProject,  is to address food and nutrition insecurity among vulnerable households affected by HIV/AIDS. This is achieved through promotion of improved crop varieties, particularly drought resistant crops and modern farming methods such as soil and water conservation, manure making and improved crop storage. In addition, households are trained in improved food preparation skills that are efficient and help retain the nutritional value of the various promoted foods. In addition the project promotes hygiene and sanitation among the targted households. The targeted households are organized into Village Support Groups (VSGs) which recieve trainings and are supported to establish individual as well as communal gardens.  The VSGs are linked to other community structures, particularly Village Development Committees (VDCs) which coordinate all development activities under the government decentralization structures.

The Integrated Health and Food Security for Vulnerable Groups Due to AIDS Project (IHFS), is supported by DANIDA/ADRA Denmark, works in Mulanje and Neno Districts.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Accurate information reduces HIV incidences

The battle against HIV/AIDS and its devastating impact is an increasing concern to ADRA Malawi. As a social issue HIV/AIDS has in so many ways retarded development at individual, family, community as well as national level. While on the other hand, young people are among the most affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. 
Good communication and accurate information on HIV/AIDS can allow young people and the nation as a whole to revise the myths, cultural practices and stigmas and discrimination that accelerate transmission in order to prevent the virus from further spread.
One of the ideal tools that ADRA Malawi has used is the media oriented programs.
These programs, which include radio talk shows, Lets Talk, and drama series, Tikuferanji (radio and television) and community video shows, have enhanced the dissemination of accurate and relevant information on HIV/AIDS. 
The programs promote access to comprehensive and reliable information in quest of behavioral changes with the special emphasis on life changing strategies.
These media program, Lets Talk and Tikuferanji? (which literally means why are we dying?) have offered a way for Malawians to find facts resulting in  eradication the myths and cultural practices that have far been contributing to the spread of the virus and reducing stigma and discrimination at national level.
Since these programs are aired to the whole nation, ADRA has to be sure that the messages are accurate and depict issues related to Malawi so that they change the nation for the better.
Having the programs also means that access to information on issues dwelling on HIV/AIDS, human rights, food security and other relevant issues is possible and easy.
For many years the radio and print media have been to major sources of information. However, since ADRA started the drama series on Television, it has proven that TV is also very powerful because of its visual aspect.
Tikuferanji TV program is one of the most watched programs on Television Malawi, so much that when it is not beamed there is always public outcry for the program.
Without a doubt the media oriented programs have changed the lives of so many people and have delivered accurate and important information to the nation.
Evidence exists that Communities have changed the way they view issues because of the information that they heard from ADRA Malawi media programs.

Authors: Ruth Simika/ Chikondi Madikiza-Madumuse

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Food Security series - LICEN

The Local Initiatives for Empowerment in Ntcheu (LICEN), works in the Ntcheu District and is supported by ADRA Australia and the Australian Government.The project addresses household vulnerability in terms of food security and health through capacity building of households and local institutions to improve food security and nutrition. Targeted households are provided with farm inputs and training in improved farming and food utilization. The project also focuses on strengthening local community institutions through formation of village cluster committees that will in long term provide guidance to their subjects in resilience to shocks and coping strategies to sustain food availability. These groups are linked to the Village Development Committees and other institutions in the government decentralization structure. Above all the project ensures that these community structures are empowered to facilitate development processes and support the VDCs in implementation and monitoring of development activities in the area.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Food Security series - WEP

One of the focus intervention for ADRA Malawi is Food Security. The Women Empowerment Project (WEP), works in Mulanje and is supported by ADRA Swedan and the Swedish Government.

The main objective of the project is to assist in removing barriers to the development of communities through focusing on gender issues and promotion of human rights, improvement of health and creation of income generating activities. The project aims at supporting women to become self reliant.

Food security is one of the fundamental elments of the project. Targeted households are provided with improved seed varieties and are trained in improved farming technologies; are equally supported with animal production training and goats. In addition, households ara trained in improved food preparation methods to improve their nutritional status.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Food Security series - LEFAM

One of the focus intervention for ADRA Malawi is Food Security. The Project Let’s Fight AIDS in Malawi (LEFAM), works in Machinga, Lilongwe, Dowa, Mchinji, Mulanje, Phalombe and Chiradzulu Districts, and is supported by ADRA Denmark and DANIDA.
The Food Security primary focus, in this ADRA project, is to mitigate the impact of HIV/AIDS on at indivdual, household and community levels. One way of achieving this is promotion of food security through increased food prodution and improved utilization. Target households are organized into farming clubs which are supplied with supplied with improved seed varieties, particularly drought resistant crops and fertilizer. The clubs are assisted to establish communal gardens and are trained in improved farming methods. The project works in collaboration with government extension workers to provide farmers with ongoing technical support.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

LEFAM strategies on IGAs

Let’s Fight AIDS in Malawi (LEFAM) project continues to embark on saving more lives and economically uplifting the lives of many people who are suffering due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
One particular component that LEFAM has earmarked is the Income Generating Activities (IGA). This is one way of making sure that communities have the economic muscle that would result in self- reliant.
In order to achieve this LEFAM conducted a three day workshop on IGA design and Implementation from August 6 to 8, 2008 and was facilitated by two expert consultants in IGA design and implementation. The workshop drew all core project staff, Project Manager, District Coordinators, Field Assistants, Training Officer, Communications Officer, Accounts Personnel, and Procurement and Logistics Officer.
The workshop aimed at bringing out the best design and implementation strategy for IGAs and how LEFAM together with communities would best implement the IGAs to attain the intended objective; economically empowering People Living with HIV/AIDS, orphans and the vulnerable children to improve their living standards in society.
With lessons learnt from previous IGAs, the team came up with different strategies that would be an improvement of the previous IGAs. This would be a sure way to safeguard that the intended IGAs are implemented successfully.

Author: Chikondi Madikiza-Madumuse

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

TOT HIV/AIDS Project - Local Partner Mobilization in MALAWI

Developing and maintaining good collaboration and relationships with local partners is critical to the program’s success and sustainability. Between July and August 2008, ADRA Malawi ‘s TOT project organized meetings with key collaborators and stakeholders for the TOT project. The key stake holders that were met were: National AIDS Commission (NAC), Ministry of Health (MOH), District Assemblies, community leaders and Health Ministry Directorate for the Malawi Union of the SDA Church.

The main objective of holding these meetings was to brief project stakeholders on the progress the project has registered so far. Other objectives for the meetings were; to brief partners on the role they have played in the project and to encourage them to continue with the support they render to the project.

Dr Nkume, the HMD for SDA Malawi Union, has continuously provided support to the project and pointed out that the Union has plans to empower women groups and other local groups in different areas so that they become self sustained. Another area where the Union is looking forward to benefit in collaboration with this project is the formulation and development of HIV/AIDS policy for SDA institutions. The Union in collaboration with TOT project has already drafted the policy and hopes to work together with TOT project management team to finalise the document.

In another development, TOT project briefing meetings were held at two district assemblies to executive committee meetings for Mulanje and Phalombe districts where some TOTs and 380 counselors have been identified and trained. Their response at these meetings was overwhelming. The District Commissioners for the districts commended ADRA for coming up with this project in their districts which are underserved in the area of HIV/AIDS counseling. They also recommended that the project assist even public institutions to develop HIV/AIDS policy at the work place apart from private institutions. Introduction of these counselors has increased the number of people that go for VCT services in Mulanje and Phalombe districts by 26%.ADRA TOT project has also been commended for promoting voluntary work among the TOTs and counselors. This will enhance sustainability and self reliance amongst community members.
Author: Themba Phiri

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Official hand over of Activity Handbook, Mpemba

Let’s Fight HIV/AIDS in Malawi project partnered with three Danish master students to produce an Activity Handbook for Youth Clubs for ADRA Malawi in 2007/2008, using the Youth Club Mpemba as an example for the communication for social change strategy. Friday the 25.th of July 2008 ADRA staff was proud officially to hand over the Handbook to the Mpemba Youth Club.
The Mpemba Youth Club is under Mpemba Chiyambi CBO. The Mpemba Chiyambi CBO was informed of the official hand over of the Activity Handbook and a member of the committee received a copy after the Danish students left. The members of Mpemba Youth Club were very happy to have been taught the strategy as well as receiving the final copy of the Activity Handbook full of pictures and memories.

The Activity Handbook made by Mette Grøndal Hansen, Lise Grauenkær Jensen and Stine Kromann-Larsen can be used in Youth Clubs, communities, groups etc. wanting to use the communication for social change strategy. The Activity Handbook gives a pedagogical step-by-step approach to the strategy, e.g. vision identification, how to take action and how to monitor and evaluate, while giving many examples from the Mpemba Youth club and their specific activities.

If you have further questions or would like to require a copy (free of charge if for teaching purposes), please contact adra@adra.dk.
Author: Sidsel Faurholt

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A case of child abuse

Ziwani Ziyendani (not his real name) is 14 years old and has been a victim of child abuse since the death of both parents. ADRA Malawi Community Workers have helped him to report the abuse to the District Social Welfare Office.

Ziwani Ziyendani moved from ill-treating aunt
Ziwani Ziyendani lives in Chikumbu, Mulanje District, and lost both parents in 1998. When he was orphaned he came to live with an aunt, who was treating him ill. This matter came to the awareness of the wife of village Headman Malota, who has a keen interest in the affairs on the orphans in the village. She rescued Ziwani Ziyendani from his aunt and brought him to his cousins.

Driven out of school by abusive family
Ziwani Ziyendani has lived three years at his cousins’ place, but here the abuse only continued. Ziwani Ziyendani was against his will forced out of school. He was in standard 6 at Mithande Primary School. Ziwani Ziyendani was so interested in continuing his education that he attended classes even though he was told to stay out of school. He was discouraged when the family sold his goats he got from the Oxfam’s Income Generating Activity programme and when they tore all his note books apart to make him stay out of school. The family got their will and Ziwani Ziyendani has been out of school since.

Ziwani Ziyendani reported the abuse with help from ADRA
The wife of village Headman Malota became aware of the abuse and reported it to the chief who is yet to intervene. Ziwani Ziyendani also reported the abuse to one of ADRA’s Community Workers, who has been talking with the Headman concerning the issue. So far psychological support has been rendered. The District Social Welfare Office is the highest level in the District which looks after the welfare of children and women and turning in a report takes willpower and courage. ADRA has helped Ziwani Ziyendani to report the abuse to the District Welfare Office by empowering him and giving support. Now Ziwani Ziyendani’s rights and welfare are in focus and the abuse will be stopped.

Authors: Elizabeth Kantukule, Sidsel Faurholt

Monday, July 14, 2008

Meliya Story

Meliya Lupiya a widow aged 56 from Ngolowera village has been struggling taking care of her family comprising of seven members of whom 5 are orphaned grand children. Life has been unbearable due to lack of basic needs like food, potable water, clothes just to mention a few. Being illiterate it has been hard for her to get a job. Women empowerment is targeting women like Meliya to improve her household for the better. Being involved in trainings and various activities she has all smiles to own a beautiful vegetable garden, this is helping her to meet nutrition needs and income for the household basic needs after selling some vegetables. She has enrolled for adult literacy class, therefore she encourages her family members to attend school. Her 5 orphaned grand children. are amongst those benefiting from the drilled borehole at Ngolowera Primary School. courtesy of ADRA Women Empowerment Project (WEP). She has also been a beneficiary of donated goats. The manure collected help improve her garden. Life has her improved for the better through involvement in Women Empowerment Initiatives. Bellow are pictures Meliya and her family, vegetable garden and a goat. “ I am very grateful for this project, it has empowered my life. We will continue with this work even if the project phases out. Thanks to Sweden and ADRA Malawi for the parternership God bless.”

Author: Andiyesa Mhango

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Happy and free - ‘NANYONI’

Nasiyani Kadyampakeni is a female headed house holder who lives at Njolomole village. She is 52 living with her 16year old daughter and 7 year old grand son depend on her for their survival. Nanyoni relies on subsistence farming for her livelihood. Looking upon her low social status she decided to join the Community Home Based Care in June, 2007 so as to seek company.
Despite a number of problems that she come across to provide for her family especially to work for the education needs of her children she is dedicated to lend a voluntary hand with dedication in the CHBC committee. Her dream has always been to have livestock yet she fails to save enough for that due to big responsibility.
When the SAFARI project introduced poultry pass on program she was among the first to benefit from the first batch. She received 7 birds. With excitement to a dream come true she employed all her efforts with skill imparted to her during poultry management training by lead farmers to take extra care for the birds. She built a poultry house from simple available materials as was trained. She processed the remains of her soy bean milk with some maize bran to feed the chicken. Sometimes when she doesn’t have feed she just let the birds out of house to pick some little things in her compound. At times when she is stranded she just fetch green grass to feed the birds. Today she expresses her joy because the chicken have started laying eggs and she is rest assured that when the eggs hatch and she pays back 10 birds to the KU she will embark into a hot poultry business. As of now she is an admirable woman in the village that the members of the community are coming to learn from her how she has manage d to care for the birds which were only 3 weeks old on delivery.
Nasiyani is no longer seeking for company as before but rather people are seeking to befriend her so they can learn much from her.
Author: Francis Zande ( SAFARI Project Manager in Malawi)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Promotion of Irrigation farming to improve household food security

The 2007/2008 growing season has been another year of drought in most parts of the country. The season started with very heavy rains, that saw some parts of the country flooding and washing away some of the crops that were in the fields. This was immediately followed by a dry spell, at a time when most of the crops like maize had just started cobbing but had not yet reached maturity stage. As a result most of the staple crop dried up in the field such that the harvest for this year has been low, compared to last season.

To address this problem, the IHFS project is promoting winter cropping through irrigation for farmers who have access to water sources like rivers and dams. The project has distributed 50 treadle pumps to Village Support Groups (VSG). The treadle pumps are being used for both communal and individual gardens. Farmers have been trained in treadle pump use, soil and water conservation and irrigation farming. A recent monitoring trip to on of the project target areas in Lisungwi, Neneo District showed that farmers who are practicing irrigation farming have healthy crop and will have another round of harvest this year as a buffer against food shortages. The project intends to scale up irrigation farming and winter cropping but also include an element of agribusiness so that these farmers can generate income from the crop they produce, hence be able to access food through out the year.

Author: Thokozani Mwapasa

Monday, June 23, 2008

Village Support Group establishes a Community Seed Bank

The IHFS project has been distributing improved varieties of seed such as maize, groundnuts, pigeon peas, soya, cassava and sweet potatoes. This initative is meant to assist groups of 50 targeted poor and vulnerable households, to access a variety of improved crops to increase production and food security.

This year members of Mulunguzi VSG in Nkando, Mulanje have organized themselves to have a seed revolving and solidarity chain so that they continue to share the seed among themselves, even after the project phases out. This is a positive sign towards sustainability and independence of the group. Instead of them waiting to be supplied with more seed next year, the group members have agreed to pay back 2 kgs of each of the seed that was received. The seed is kept in an improved granary. The project has trained the group in post harvest handling and crop storage. This seed will be distributed to other members of the group who may not have harvested enough this year to be able to store enough seed. Excess seed after re-distributing among the members of the group will go to other equally poor households in the community that are not in the group. This is a multiplier effect for the project, because the seed that was meant for the group of 50 will not reach others outside of this group, such that the improved crop varieties that are being promoted will spread within the community. The project is promoting this initiative for other group to emulate this example.

Author: Thokozani Mwapasa

Friday, June 13, 2008

Strengthen rights and gender-based initiatives for civil society groups

Four civil society groups conducted open days campaigns to advocate for gender and HIV/AIDS rights, the rights for the elderly and disabled, women and children alike.

During these open day campaigns, drama groups and dance troupes where involved in dissemination of information on rights and HIV/AIDS in addition to speeches that were made by high powered delegations from relevant public and private entities.

In attendance to one of the functions was the Principle Secretary for Ministry of men and women with disabilities.
In total, 11,000 people attended the open days of which 68% were women and children. This means that the message and pieces of information that were disseminated to the participants fell on the fertile ground as the target group dominated in attendance.

In one of the functions that were conducted by OWACO, 4 wheelchairs and 20 pairs of crutches were donated to 24 disabled people of whom 18 are women.

In a bid to establish and strengthen links between the civil society groups and the public as well as private entity,
Government ministries of women and children affairs, ministry of the disabled, ministry of health and HIV/AIDS, Society of people living with AIDS, NAC, as well as district assemblies were invited to take parting the campaigns. Representing the government ministries and departments and private sectors were District Commissioners, principle Secretaries and heads of departments and private sector CEOs.

These open days were conducted by Four organisations namely; CAPLA (Care for People Living with AIDS), Orphans and Widows Awarenes and Care Organisation (OWACO), Health Initiative for All (HIFA) and MIRACLE organization. These organisations have their registration certificates with the registrar general of the Malawi Government, a constitution, and a three - five years strategic plan.
Author: Themba Phiri

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Water in Kalumba

Water is life, they say. Indeed clean water that is safe and free from disease causing organisms improves the health of women and children in the community by reducing incidences of diarrhoeal diseases and skin infections.
Miriam (27) in the picture expresses her joy and how the availability of safe water from a protected shallow well has changed her life. By reducing the distance and time taken to fetch water, women are able to do more household chores and are able to participate in other development activities including time to prepare nutritious food and feed their children
With the assistance from ADRA and funding from Canada, the community protected shallow wells. Fifteen water wells have been dug and provide safer and cleaner water. The aim was to reduce waterborne diseases such as Cholera and other gastro infections and to reduce the burden of women as a result of fetching water from sources that are very far. Water wells provision has also reduced the time that women spend when they go to fetch water from other water sources by almost half. This scenario has enabled women to fully participate and make decisions in other development activities for both the community and at family level.

Author: Dorcas Kanthenga

Friday, June 6, 2008

"Women empowerment starts with us"

Women Empowerment Project (WEP) started on 1st April 2007 with the aim of facilitating women empowerment through promotion of their rights, improvement in health status and implementation of self supporting income generating initiatives. The project targets poor vulnerable women. These include widows struggling to survive, those that are taking care of orphans and the chronically ill, the disabled and those that are denied access to resources for economic empowerment.

Main activities include;
Ø Trainings in Health, Water and Sanitation, Gender and Human Rights.
Ø Adult literacy.
Ø Home gardening and compost manure making.
Ø Provision of portable water.
Ø Goat rearing.
Ø Provision of maize mills for Income Generating Activities.

Picture above: Women Empowerment Project photograph of Traditional Leaders, Project staff and ADRA Programs Director Mr. Micheal Usi

One of the strong points in the project has been the positive response and support from Traditional Leaders. These are the entry point as well as custodians of tradition and culture. Some negative traditional rituals involving risky sexual practices contributes to HIV/AIDS infection rates. A strong tradition persists to maintain the low status of girls and women and this extends to marriage and throughout the life cycle. This contributes to increase in violence against women. These negative deep rooted cultures affects community development. With this background, the project first step was to sensitize and empower the 20 participating traditional leaders to fully understand and participate in fulfilling the objective in empowering women. This is working well because most village heads are in the forefront participating in development activities. The traditional leaders have been drilled on women’s role in community and importance of encouraging men to support the women empowerment initiatives. Once the leaders are empowered it becomes much easier to reach to the grass root. With time, there is hope that these deep rooted negative cultures will be a song of the past.

Community leaders in action:

Picture above: Village Headwoman Waruma and beneficiaries appreciating safe potable water..
Picture above: Village Headman Ng’oma and his wife in their home vegetable garden.

Picture above: Village Headman Namputu stressing a point during Gender and Human Rights workshop.

Author: Andiyesa Mhango

Friday, May 30, 2008

Kumanaga Umodzi facilitates junior primary school renovation

TAGWIRIZANA is one of the Kumanaga Umodzi in Group village headman Khomba of Traditional Authority Njolomole in Ntcheu district which is playing a remarkable role in development with the aim of breaking the spirit of dependency syndrome in the community.
Katedze Junior Primary School was opened in 2005 with community effort to with an aim to reduce walking distance for the kids especially those in the lower grades of 1 to 4. The school has been managed by an elected committee, however just after a year the committee started to flop and became almost non functional. The school blocks were thatched with grass but as the rains of two yeas fell on it the grass stated to rote hence left the class rooms with only but poles on top.
As the rains of 2007 – 2008 started there was an outcry of the kids and teachers because once the rains start it meant no classes. Government initiative to the school was only desks and teaching and learning materials. Two volunteer teachers who are working at the school tried to reason with the communities to take an action but to no avail.
In January when it seemed that there was nobody to come under rescue of the school Tagwirizana Kumanga Umodzi approached chiefs surrounding the school to assist them to mobilize the communities of the three concerned villages to discuss on how they can rescue the buildings from collapsing with rains. After the meeting the communities were convinced to take an action. 27 bundles of grass were collected, he who had no grass was contributing K15 ($0.1) and total amount of money collected was K980 ($7.00). On 15th of January the community came together under the supervision of the KU to renovate the school. This move helped to save the blocks from collapsing but also to sustain classes when they were about to face risk of being suspended due to rains. The kids who are schooling at the school have been relived from the hassles of rains. They were saved from being soaked by rains; they are saved from sun heat too. The action taken by the KU has acted as a wake up call to the School Management committee which was almost dead. This KU also made an effort to mobilize the communities to rehabilitate the bridge which is joining two villages. The bridge was over flooded by rain water there by posing a challenge to people to connect to the other village. But it was more threat especially to the kids who are schooling at Katedze School when they are going and coming from school. The bridge is now in good shape though rehabilitated from local and simple available materials.

NEWS FROM ADRA Malawi SAFARI Project (Ntcheu District)

Author: Francis Zande

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Access to safe water is key to a healthy life

ADRA IHFS project has established a gravity-fed water supply system from a spring source in Nseula Village, T/A Dambe in Neno District. The water supply serves a population of approximately 1085 people.

Construction of the water supply system started in September 2007 and it has taken the project about 7 months to complete the project. The process started with an assessment of the area by the Water Engineer from the Ministry of Water Development who also assisted in the structural designing of the project. After several sensitization meetings, the community mobilized and constructed the pipeline, but also molded bricks and collected raw materials like sand for the project. ADRA provided other materials like cement and pipes as well as the technical expertise.

The system is composed of an intake that was constructed down stream of the spring eye, about 859 meters away from the demand area, a transmission line and storage tank of 6 cubic meters. The end points are 3 communal taps which are now supplying potable water at about 0.5 litres per second on each tap.

Water quality testing and an environmental impact assessment was and the recommendations made from these assessments have been adopted by the project and community members responsible for maintenance of the system.

To ensure sustainability of the water supply system, a Community Based Management Committee (CBM) and 3 water point committees have been trained in various aspects of water point management and maintenance, as well as health and sanitation. The committees have agreed on a small fee paying system for them to be able to buy small parts to maintain the system. Nevertheless, the project will be handed over to Department of Water Development under the Neno district assembly for continued monitoring and support to the community.

The gravity water system has significantly transformed the quality of life for the people of the Nseula Village. Previously, they used to get drinking water from an unsafe point along the stream, which was potentially hazardous. According to the water engineers that have been involved in the project, if well maintained, the Nseula water supply can serve the area for a period of not less that 20 years without any major problems.

Author: Thokozani Mwapasa

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Media interview

The newly arrived ADRA Malawi Country Director, Emanuel da Costa, was recently interviewed by the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation and the Newspaper “The Nation”. From the several questions the highlight was on the plans of the new administration.

“ … ADRA Malawi exists to serve. As a faith based organization we wish not only to serve but to reflect the character of God through our work … this will only be achieved by providing high standard professional and caring services, with this in mind the current administration intends to:

Strengthen the organization, by: revising the organizational structure for better use of existing resources, and higher efficiency; increasing the transparency and upgrading the finance and monitoring and evaluation departments; reducing the weight in the administration; increasing opportunities for employees professional development.

Increase assistance provided, by: strengthening the relations with current partners and donors; diversify current donor base; offer opportunities for private donors in Malawi to be involved...”

Revised by: Aninde Migogo

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Water in the border

Nseula Village, in the district of Neno, is located on the Southwest border with Mozambique. ADRA started the partnership with the village in the year 2006, and since then opportunities for development where created and the majority of the families have reach higher levels of sustainability, translated for example in capacity to send their children to school.One of the most striking achievements in this partnership, supported by ADRA Denmark and DANIDA, is the gravity feed water system that is providing cleaner water directly into the village. Other activities include supporting the local farmers with more resistant crops and improved grain storage facilities. ADRA is also providing technical expertise related to agriculture and nutrition and is conducting HIV/AIDS awareness meetings.

Many other challenges lay ahead in Nseula Village; ADRA is looking at the possibility of extending the water system, for another 500 meters, in order to reach the primary school, at the eastern end of the village. ADRA is also looking at building on local small scale irrigation, an initiative started by one local farmer; by upgrading it and extending it to become a system that will allow shielding the farmers from draughts. Without external support, draughts like the one experienced during the current year, increase the vulnerability of the families and may farther them into the cycle of extreme poverty.

May you wish to be a part of the efforts to contribute to the development of Nseula Village; you may direct your donation to the ADRA office in your country specifying the name of the village to where you wish to contribute.

Author: Emanuel da Costa

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Video Shows

Video shows have proven to be a powerful tool for opening up discussions and debate among audiences on a wide range of issues surrounding HIV/AIDS, human rights, gender based violence, food security, orphan care and others in society as it allows viewers to empathize and associate with characters.

They (Video shows) have also proved to be one of the best tools for advocacy and information dissemination.

ADRA Malawi through Lets Fight AIDS in Malawi (LEFAM) Project embarked on community video shows as one way of advocacy, information dissemination and educating the rural masses.

Two methods were deployed in this exercise; the first one the videos were shown to the community at large and the approach involved targeted groups alone e.g. the youth, women, clergy or any other groups.

There are different types of videos that are used during the shows. As indicated in the introduction some have a targeted audience while others are for the general public.

A video is always chosen depending on what message, key issues, one would want to channel.

Choosing a video also depends on the location where the video will be shown. For instance there are some places in the country where Indian hemp is grown and many youths find themselves in a trap because the environment they are in: they find themselves indulging in drug abuse. This being the case, the film that would be shown at this particular location might sensitize communities on drug abuse and its impact to the community as well as individuals.

Furthermore, when it comes to the rural setting, videos which depict life in the rural setting are selected and beamed.

However, even in the urban areas people are able to relate with rural issues because most Malawians have their roots in the rural areas. The village is still seen as home for many people.

Having videos that appeal to both the rural and urban people helps them to relate to the issues happening in the films and draw lessons from them.

It has been observed that using videos as advocacy and information dissemination helps to change lives in a way that video appeals to the eye, hence, most people remember what they have seen and easily follow events. The visual aids also help them relate to the feelings of the people.

Even where there are language barriers, the visuals in the films help people to understand the unfolding of events.

It has been proved that videos indeed produce positive results when used. From the various video shows that ADRA Malawi has conducted, reactions from the viewers have shown that they easily follow the storyline and they are able to move with the emotions of the individuals in the film. Viewers are able to detect danger and this reveals how much they know about a particular subject. Viewers reactions is a tool that help to determine what they know, what they don’t know and what they feel is the best decision the character should have taken. In so doing communities reveal their level of knowledge about a particular subject.

Films are also one of the best tools to stir discussion in the community. Sometimes discussions are difficult to start but with videos there is always a starting point and one is sure that there will be concentration from the audience and lessons will also be drawn from the video.

Author: Chikondi Mamangina Madikiza-Madumuse

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Highlights – Women Empowerment Project

Snapshots from the Women Empowerment Project:

Picture above: Women enjoying the fruits of home gardening.

Picture above: Project beneficiaries happy with portable water through donated borehole.

Picture above: Women taking an active role during borehole maintenance training.

Picture above: Gender and Human rights workshop in progress.

Picture above: The Country Director, Emanuel da Costa, and the Finance Director, Hopekings Ngomba, making a speech during Project launch at Waruma village.

Author: Andiyesa Mhango

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Let's fight HIV/AIDS in Malawi

LEFAM project funded by DANIDA is responding to well defined needs and problems in rural areas. The project activities have targeted the most vulnerable groups as well as the general population through its communication components. The project has adopted a culture-sensitive Communication for Social Change (CFSC) approach, with genuine respect for indigenous cultural traditions, practices and beliefs.

Communication for Social Change is defined as a process of public and private dialogue through which people themselves define who they are, what they need and how to get what they need in order to improve their own lives. It utilizes dialogue that leads to collective problem identification, decision-making and community based implementation of solutions to development issues.

Bellow you will find a number of images illustrating some of the activities ADRA's LEFAM project is promoting:

Phtoto 1: Capacity building through trainings - Being an implementing and not money lending institution ADRA Malawi believes in teaching people how to fish, with this background ADRA’s Lets Fight HIV/AIDS (LEFAM) organized a series of training sessions to train its farmers clubs members on harvesting and storage procedures of yields. In this picture an old woman a farmers’ club member shows his gratitude to ADRA over the training.

Photo 2: Donor representative Inger Olsen addresses participants to a Theater for Development training at M’biza site in Mulanje. In her presentation Larson emphasized on the need for participants to grasp the participatory theater concept and utilize the knowledge gained as one surest way of advocating social change.

Photo 3: Child abuse is a reality in Malawi’s rural settings when children are not forced into early marriages; they are vulnerable to abuse. Some irresponsible parents and guardians even abandon their parental role and thereby indirectly leading their children astray as they tend to fend for themselves. In this picture captured during a Kid’s Day children cry-out for the respect of their rights and dignity.

Photo 4 - Every long journey, they say, starts with a single step it is in this philosophy that ADRA Malawi’s LEFAM Project embarked on a Journey of Hope in which the youth are being taught abstinence skills as portrays in this picture where they have to go through a narrow path to their destination.

Author: Emma Jakobo