Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Farmers association formed in Mulanje

By Elias Banda and Kapalepale Phiri.
An association embracing farmer interest groups in Traditional Authority Juma in Mulanje district has been formed with a mandate to represent farmer’s interests at district and national levels.
The association has an official name; Tagwirizina Small Holder Farmers Association (TASHFA) after its constitution was reviewed and adopted on June 14, 2013 at Namphungo.
The elected executuive committee
During the meeting, a fifteen member executive committee was elected and the elections were witnessed by Mulanje District Agribusiness Officer, Grant Tweya and agriculture extension officers from Kamwendo Extension Planning Area. Speaking during the function Mr Tweya said he was convinced that the association had followed necessary procedures and that he would help to facilitate further registration processes. He thanked ADRA Malawi through the Action for Social Change Program for facilitating the process.
According to the constitution, the main objective of the association is to find markets for seeds,  negotiate better prices and lobby for loans for farmers among other tasks that would lead to improved quality of life for farmers.

The constitution also indicates that it would mainly promote pigeon pea, sunflower, sorghum, soy beans, tomatoes and cotton.
Farmers dispalying their produce at Khwalala
A member of Mwawihe interest group who declined to be named said apart from finding lucrative markets for agriculture produce, the association would also defuse efforts of middle men who exploit farmers by imposing lower prices.
The association has embraced 8 interests groups with jurisdiction of 60 villages in Traditional Authority Juma with a total membership of 1, 129 members.  Meanwhile, female membership is 764.
The Action for Social Change Program is being support by Denmark to bring about individual and society change in Mulanje, Machinga, Mzuzu and Lilongwe districts. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Water shortage causes high divorce rates- GVH Ngongondo

By Elias Banda
Group Village Head Ngogondo of Machinga has bemoaned   the increase of divorce cases in her area due to water shortage. The GVH said there was a strong link between water scarcity and fragile marriages because when  women spend more time fetching water, there was growing suspicion among men that their wives were cheating on them and based on the balance of probabilities, men always found grounds for divorce.
GVH Ngongondo said her indaba (village court) was flooded with divorce cases that were usually blended with hostility and suspicion among couples. The GVH said the number of divorced women was on the increase, hampering development efforts as single women were struggling to cope with prevailing economic challenges.

In extreme situations, people drink from rivers
A woman stressing a point during radio recording

Lukia John from Kamtetela Village said she was beaten twice by her husband on suspicion that she cheated on her husband when she spent 8 hours looking for safe water.  The matter was resolved after it was referred to the GVH indaba.
GVH Ngongondo said her area has 35 villages but with only two boreholes, forcing women to travel long distances looking for water. The few functional boreholes were characterized by long queues with women fighting for spaces.  In extreme situations women were forced to draw from open and unprotected wells where water was shared with animals and sometimes they found dead animals in the water.
Women learning how to be self reliant
Pishen Nampesya said it was a shame that nearly 50 years after Malawi got independence, people  in his area where still drinking in rivers and open wells.
But recently, ADRA Malawi facilitated recording of radio program where people used the platform to advocate for the provision of water by the government. During the community dialogue session that was recorded, community members engaged the duty bearer from the Department of Water Development to respond to the water challenge.
The Water Development Officer in the area, Bhahati Ngwiri pledged to report the mater to higher authorities for the provision of water facilities. However, chiefs asked for his contact number and his house for constant communication in case he failed to honor the pledge.
The recorded materials would be aired for the ADRA Malawi sponsored Zatonse Radio Program on the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC).  Zatonse Radio Program is supported by Denmark through the Action for Social Change Program to amplify community advocacy voices to influence positive opinion from duty bearers and service providers at national level.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

ADRA Malawi staff donate for Peke

By Stanley Mpasa
On Friday, October 19, 2012 a story was posted about Peke Mafuli of Phalombe District, a mother of three children, a girl and twin brothers who was abandoned by her husband due to her HIV status. Her relatives were helpless and she did not have enough energy to provide food for her children. Things started changing when a counselor trained by ADRA Malawi visited her and referred her to the clinic for medication. Since then, she has been on ARV treatment.
The story of Peke was shared by (Trainer of Trainers) TOT Manager, Stanley Mpasa during morning worship and he appealed for support. Since then, ADRA Malawi staff started mobilizing items including food, clothes and kitchen utensils.
Peke, center posing for a photograph with some of the donated items. Right to her is Friday Mwanakhu, the TOT counselor. 
On May 22, 2013, ADRA Malawi staff sent a representative to present items to Peke. Speaking after receiving the items, Peke thanked ADRA Malawi for the donation and for the psychosocial support that she said had changed her life.
The TOT counselors visit Peke on weekly rotational basis offering psychosocial support.
The TOT project is being supported by Sweden to bring about individual and society positive change in the wake of HIV/AIDS.