Monday, March 23, 2009

A step towards a better future: The case of one orphan in Neno district

Agnes Mc Donald dropped out of school in standard 4 when she became orphaned and had no support to continue with her education. Her ambition was to become a medical doctor but her fate saw this dream slowly slip down the drain.

Born fifth in a family of six children in Joliji Village, T/A Chekucheku Neno, Agnes’s story is like just like may others’ in the district and the country at large. Some of Agnes’s older siblings have moved elsewhere to earn a living, leaving her with the responsibility to fend for food and other basic necessities. She is still holding on to her dream of getting educated and having a productive life although she does not have an immediate solution to her problem.
The ADRA IHFS project, with funding from Danida came in to assist young people like Agnes with their problem by training them in vocational skills so that they can have better means of generating income for their households and their education. A total of 65 child household heads and orphans have been trained for four months in skills like tinsmith, tailoring, carpentry and joinery and bricklaying in Mulanje and Neno districts. The beneficiaries also received training in entrepreneurship and small scale business management.

In order not to kill the dream that Agnes and many other children in her situation may have of becoming future leaders and professionals, the project established links with government department of youth as well as department of social welfare for these children to be supported and encouraged to go back to school. Today Agnes is a fully trained and certified tailor by the national certification body. She planned to back to school and make items to sell in her free time instead of spending all her time looking for piece work in people’s garden. It is the hope of ADRA Malawi that the skills imparted in these young boys and girls will sooner or later prove vital in their lives and that they will be able to develop their own lives as well as their communities.

Author: Thoko Mwapasa

Friday, March 13, 2009

Life Skills Clubs

Eight schools, in T/A Njolomole of Ntcheu district in Malawi, participated in ADRA LICEN Project quiz competition in February and March 2009.

The objective was to encourage the spirit of learning and technology adoption through participatory approaches in agriculture, home economics, craft work, gender, HIV and AIDS and Children Rights.

The quiz finals took place on March 5th at Gowa Full Primary School. The schools competing in the finals were Thanganyika, Kampanje and Muwalo.
Thanganyika school emerged winners at with 37 points amassed as compared to 17 for Kampanje and 10 for Muwalo.

The National Radio one of Malawi Broadcasting Corporation covered the proceedings at the finals.
In attendance were the District Education Manager for Ntcheu, District Information Officer, District Youth Officer, Primary Education Advisor, reverends, head teachers, teachers, school committee members, parents and pupils from the 3 contesting schools and the hosting venue.

These activities where funded by ADRA Australia and the Australian Government.

Author: Francis Zande

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

ADRA completes successful Food Security Project

ADRA Malawi in partnership with ADRA Denmark, with funding from Danida implemented an Integrated Health and Food Security (IHFS) from 2005 - 2008 in Mwanza and Neno districts of Malawi. Targeting 4,200 poor and vulnerable households affected by HIV/AIDS, the main objective of the project was to improve their general health and household self-sufficiency. This was to be achieved through four strategies aimed at strengthening vulnerable household food security, improving human nutrition and food utilisation, strengthening vulnerable household health and building the capacity of the communities sustain themselves and establish their own development agenda.

The project registered considerable success in the three years of implementation. By the end of the project, agricultural production among the targeted households increased by an average of 62.5% translating into an increase in household food availability. There was also a decrease in number of months that targeted households report food shortage from 8 to an average of 5 months.  As household food production increased the average daily number of meals also increased from 1 to 2.5 between 2004/05 and 2007/08. In the same vein, the project made strides in increasing access to potable water and improving nutrition status of the vulnerable target households through trainings and counseling.

Drawing on lessons from this project a new intervention was designed and funded by ADRA Denmark and DANIDA, the RECAB project (Resilience and capacity building for vulnerable households and communities affected by HIV/AIDS) will focus on building household resilience to cope and recover from stress and shocks on their livelihood strategies. 

Author: Thoko Mwapasa