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

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Flood Response

Veronica Kanyenga is a widow aged 61 who comes from the rural area of Mileme village of GVH Chomombo from Traditional Authority Jenala in Phalombe district in the southern part of Malawi. She lives with her daughter whose husband died 3 years ago (2005) and left three children with her, aged 5 years old boy, 7 years old boy, and 8 years old girl.
They all live in one small thatched house built of mud and they depend their living on the crops from their small piece of land, approximately 2 hectares which unfortunately had all their crops washed away by the floods from last year’s (2007-2008) rainy season which left them with nothing to feed on for their daily consumption.

Thanks to WFP/ADRA who came to her rescue with the assistance in form of food aid to those who lost their crops through floods in the area which were caused by Phalombe river. The food basket is in a form of 55kgs cereals and 5kgs pulses on monthly basis per household for a period of six months starting from March 2008 to August 2008.

Asked how long will the monthly ration take to last, Veronica said that the food will only last for two weeks and there after they will supplement with cassava and sweet potatoes till the next distribution. She was also asked how she is going to survive if the food aid comes to an end, Veronica said that together with her daughter they will continue to try hard to find for piece work (Ganyu) from other peoples fields or any other form of work for the survival of the household up to the next harvest season which is in April 2009.

Author: Hastings Lacha

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

TOT HIV/AIDS project drills Counseler trainers

Thirty nine trainers of HIV/AIDS counselors have been trained by ADRA Malawi TOT(trainer of trainers) HIV/AIDS project. This training was meant for re-orienting the trainers in HIV/AIDS counseling and facilitation skills. A group of 42 trainers was trained initially in June 2007 and of these 39 participated in the recent TOT refresher training.

ADRA Malawi is targeting 24,000 people for counseling activities under the TOT project within a period of three years (2007-2009). So far, the project has managed to counsel approximately 8000 people by March 2008.

In total 14 females and 25 males attended the training. These trainers are expected to recruit and train 10 counselors each. Each counselor is expected to counsel at least 10 people at the end of each quarter.

In Malawi, HIV prevalence rate stands at 11%, a drop from 14.6% in 2004. One of the key activities that have contributed greatly towards this drop in HIV prevalence is the intensification of HIV counseling and testing. HIV testing is considered key and entry point to HIV treatment, care and behaviour change programmes. ADRA Malawi through TOT project has intensified this counseling activity in order to further contribute towards reduction of HIV prevalence in Malawi.

Author: Boddington Themba Phiri

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Why are we dying? - Tikuferanji

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 behaviours. 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.

Michael Usi - Actor and Programs Director for ADRA Malawi

Mode of Communication:
The Malawi society has many ways of communicating information. Notable ones are: Songs, counselling, preaching, dialogue, group discussions/meetings, proverbs, satirical talks. Drama is popular among some tribes like the Lomwe in the Southern Region of Malawi. ADRA Malawi chose drama as the main means for communication since it is most liked by almost all the tribes in Malawi. The influence of foreign films has promoted the use and appreciation of the power of drama in communication. The plays are acted out by professional actors, some who are working with ADRA Malawi and others from outside ADRA.

Advocacy Issues:
ADRA Malawi works in partnership with other civil society organizations in the fight against HIV/AIDS as well as in the promotion of human rights. The issues are sourced through meetings, focus group discussion with communities, community dialogue sessions and IEC materials.

The issues raised are then acted out in the radio and TV plays. Some of the issues that have been acted out include: extra marital affairs, family life and AIDS, HIV/AIDS test before marriage, the impact of sexual rituals on the esteem of women as well as HIV/AIDS, child labour, condom use, governance and human rights. The feedback received has either necessitated the production of follow up plays or changing focus. The program is in the hands of the Malawian people; ADRA simply coordinates and produces the plays. Sometimes the program is recorded in the villages with the actual people that have been affected by the issues in question. This approach brings reality to the nature of issues being discussed. The emotions and articulation of the challenges in the communities has sometimes provoked policy makers to include some of the suggestions in the relevant policy papers. An example is when there was a program about the relationship between sexual rituals and HIV/AIDS. However, it must be mentioned that ADRA partners with other players in this field to consolidate the impact of the program. The civil society is using this program to promote issues of advocacy and empower the vulnerable to stand for their rights.

Formal and informal evaluations have been conducted to asses the impact of the program. The results have been encouraging. Tikuferanji has been voted the best advocacy program in Malawi on radio and TV. In 2007, it received The Best Achiever Award

The direct impact though on the change of people’s sexual behaviour is rather difficult to precisely measure. Evaluations and media reports have indicated that the program is effectively contributing to the way people behave sexually.

Author: Michael Usi