Friday, July 17, 2009

The Kalumba Food Security Project Impact

By Dyson MBENGO

Recently, on a visit to the Kalumba Food Security Project in Lilongwe I had a chance of learning more about the project. The project area is located in the Central Region of Malawi in Lilongwe District.

It has been running now for the past 3 years, with funding from ADRA Canada, and will be coming to an end on 31st July 2009. It targets a total of about 231 villages under the Kalumba Traditional Authority with a total over 600 households. The aim of the project is to mitigate the effects of hunger in this hunger prone area.


Various interventions were carried out in order to mitigate the effects of hunger which was a chronic problem in the area. The first step was to establish farmers clubs through which the various activities would be implemented. Thus a total of 21 farmers clubs were formed which are active up to this day. The other core interventions included actual Food Distribution, Dissemination of knowledge on new Farming Techniques, giving out of Farm Inputs and Implements, teaching the community about Nutrition, digging of Water Wells and finally the installation of a Maize Mill.

During the visit several focus group discussions were held to get a feel of how the project has impacted the area as well as how the Maize Mill is being managed and what benefits the community is realizing from it. From the discussions the community is benefiting as follows:

- Maize mill:

  • They have a mill nearby as compared to earlier times when they had to travel/walk long distances (over 12 kilometers) to get to one.
  • Those to whom the maize mill is still too far, have an alternative facility when there’s a power black out.
  • Other’s have obtained employment from the mill
  • The mill is slowly increasing economic activity at the small trading centre which was earlier less patronized by the community.

- Modern farming methods. They have learnt new methods of farming which are helping them to harvest more than before e.g. Sasakawa method of planting, manure making, seed selection, food storage techniques, ridge spacing.

- Actual food distribution. At a time when the food crisis had reached a peak, maize, beans and ground nuts were distributed to the community to mitigate the effects of hunger.

- Goat rearing. This they said has benefited them a lot as up to now more than 50% of households in the area still have the goats.

- Potable water. A total of 21 wells have been dug from which they are drawing better quality potable water than was the case before.

- Health & Nutrition. The community has also acquired knowledge on various aspects of health especially about the HIV/AIDS pandemic as well as on nutrition. They have also learnt how to produce vegetables from the dambos and kitchen gardens.

- Farm implements and inputs. They received farm implements (e.g.hoes) and other inputs (e.g. maize, g/nuts and vegetable seeds) to help them in their farming work.

- Community spirit enhanced. The community feels the project activities have improved their oneness.

- Reforestation. Almost every household in the area has cassia trees which have been planted under the project. These are fast growing trees which are providing shelter and are a source of wood and timber.

However despite all the benefits obtained from the project, there were some problems which were observed. Some of them are :

- Weak Business Management knowledge. It was observed that the level of Business Management knowledge was low. There’s need to give the committee and other key leaders more training in this area.

- Potable water. Although 21 wells have been dug through the project, it would be better if several proper boreholes were provided to the area to further improve the quality of water.

In conclusion:

On the whole, the area has benefited significantly from the project and the community is concerned that ADRA is leaving; however understanding that all projects come to an end, the community members said that ADRA should still visit them once in a while just to check on them and give them encouragement.

The promise of continued visits from ADRA was made and will be kept as the relation that ADRA Malawi develops with the communities is more than a work related partnership but rather a partnership based on accountability, trust and friendship that prevails long after the project ends. As an example of a continued concern, even as the project relationship is phasing out, further efforts to respond to the 2 main problems identified has been initiated. In collaboration with the donor of the project that is phasing out, ADRA Canada, it was possible to respond positively to the water problem and two boreholes will be drilled in the area.

1 comment:

signals3_t5 said...

water problem and two boreholes will be drilled in the area. please soul problem

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