Thursday, September 26, 2013

ADRA Malawi donates clothes to needy women

By Stanley Mpasa and Elias Banda.  
ADRA Malawi through the TOT Project donated clothes to needy women in Chikwawa District. TOT Project Manager Stanley Mpasa confirmed the development and said that project counselors had identified 25 vulnerable women who received the clothes at Ngabu in the district. Mr Mpasa said most of the
A woman struggles to stand for her turn to receive her clothes
beneficiaries were above 70 years and had difficulties to walk. He said two of them were epileptic. The distribution exercise was conducted at Makande Seventh –Adventist Church, about 2 kilometers from Ngabu Tradition Center.

The clothes were donated to ADRA Malawi by a Blantyre based Good Samaritan Vivian Mwakalgho.
One of the beneficiaries receives her clothes
Receiving the donation, one woman who declined to be named thanked ADRA Malawi for choosing Ngabu for the donation and Vivian for the timely assistance.

She said that it was very rare these difficult times for an individual to think about others in this way and that God should bless her abundantly

Monday, September 16, 2013

Crop diversification can make a difference

By Jossam Chiwanga
It never rained but poured on Lucy Dyton, a 58 year old Machinga widow who, for several years had been having low yields for traditional crops, rice and Maize. Her life became hard for her since her husband died five years ago. During harvesting time she sold part of the little harvest she got at Ntaja Trading Centre to meet family basic needs. However,   her income was not enough to feed her four children and send them to school. With the change of weather pattern characterized by  the recurrent dry spells and erratic rains, it becomes difficult to maintain high yields for maize and rice. 
In 2012 she was invited by ADRA Malawi to attend the agri-business training, focussing on groundnuts production, marketing and crop enterprise diversification.  She tried to put what she leant into practice and planted 20kgs of groundnut seeds. During the 2013 marketing season Lucy managed to harvest 900 kgs. She sold 350 kgs and earned K27, 000 (about $79) through which she managed to pay school fees and used part of the money to buy household essentials. Lucy said in an interview that her life is now changing and she feels she has the capacity to achieve more.
Lucy with her 2 sons pose for a photograph in front of her house
‘’I have realised the importance of crop diversification.  Had it not been for groundnuts which I grew with technical knowledge and encouragement from ADRA Malawi , I would be  a beggar’’, she explained.
This year, Lucy plans to double the amount of seed in order for to earn more money during the 2014 marketing season. Currently Lucy has joined Chisangalalo Farmers’ Interest Group formed by ADRA Malawi   through the Action for Social Change Program. She said she got more information and encouragement from her peers on matters of agribusiness.
Machinga is one of the districts in Malawi where rural women self esteem is very low and dependency on men for survival is high. When ADRA facilitated formation of farmers’ interest groups, women are now looking at themselves differently, with a high sense of self reliance. 
ADRA Malawi is supporting 14 farmers’ interest groups in the district with membership of 280. The Action for Social Change Program is being supported by Denmark to bring about individual and society change in Machinga, Mulanje, Lilongwe and Mzimba.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

ASC program staff team building part II and the fun on Lake Malawi.

By Peter Kaime

 Peter Kaime from Machinga gives every detail of the journey to Cape Maclear

It   was on 29th August 2013 when ADRA Malawi  Action for Social Change ASC  Program  team left  for  Cape Maclear, taking a break from team building activities.
off to Thumbi Island

We drove through Golomoti and Boadzulu Turnoffs and we passed  along the Nkope   Hills. The road was bumpy but we enjoyed every moment of it. The team stopped at a place called Mwala wa mphini on the edge of the stretching Nkope Hills to see the marked stone. It is an amazing, strategically marked rock and when you see it, you are bound to have two schools of thought; if it was done by our ancestors then what instrument did they use to mark it? And if  the rock was marked by natural forces,  what about the designed patterns on it, who did them? These were questions that remained unanswered as the journey continued.
The marked stone is such an amazing structure

As we passed through a few bends of the dusty road, we saw sign posts counting down to Cape Maclear and suddenly, the water front emerged on the horizon. We parked our bus at a place called Gecko Lodge and the team took turns taking photos before getting into the boat. The excitement was overwhelming.
We were 26 of us who got into the boat because other team members had reservations.  Those who went into the boat included the Claudio Sandoval, ADRA Malawi Country Director. When we reached a certain point into the water, our captains informed us that we were sailing on 250 meters deep. Fear and panic gripped the team as we discovered that there were only five life jackets in the boat.
Another moment of excitement came as the team approached Thumbi Island. The rocky Island is situated about 3 kilometers from the shore. The Thumbi Island shores have rock surfaces from where we saw multicolored fish species called Mbuna.  The rock surfaces were slippery and we needed to be cautious.  We gathered that Lake Malawi has over one thousand fish species.  The scenery around Thumbi Island was beautiful and apparently, no one resisted the temptation to take a photo.    
Younger boys band welcomes the team

After  an  hour,   the  team  went  back  in   the  boat   ready   to  go  back  to Gecko Lodge and it was not easy to leave such a beautiful place.
On arrival on the shore, we were welcomed  by the  West Life and Young Boys Band  that comprised     young  men and the  sound effects were fantastic, sending almost the whole team in a frenzy of excitement as they joined in dancing.    
Time was running out and it was getting dark we had to go back to our base at Nkopola Lodge. This adventure will surely go down in our memory lane as full of excitement and pleasure. ADRA is indeed a great place to be. We arrived safely and we ended with a prayer offered by Chikondi Madumuse.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

ADRA Malawi ASC staff geared to improve work relations

By Elias Banda
The ADRA Malawi Action for Social Change staff took a week break to undergo team building activities at the Lakeshore District of Mangochi, carrying the slogan ‘ ADRA, the great place to be’.
The workshop took place at Nkopola lodge from 27 to 30 August with an objective to improve work relations and team work spirit among staff.
Claudio, Mike and Chris during the opening ceremony
ASC staff during team building session
The function was officially opened by ADRA Malawi Country Director Claudio Sandoval who said that through team work, a lot could be achieved in the program and in ADRA Malawi. He urged participants to be focused and utilize the opportunity to generate ideas that would improve the working teams.
Speaking earlier, ADRA Malawi Deputy Country Director Michael Usi pointed out that building a better team would enable the ASC Program achieve its objectives effectively.
Participants to the workshop were drawn from all ASC targeted districts; Mulanje, Machinga, Lilongwe, Mzimba  and those from ADRA Malawi Headquarters in Blantyre.
The workshop was characterized by group work, debates, video clips and presentations on team building theories and practices, facilitated by Chris Maseya of Chrismas Consulting firm. ASC staff also highlighted organization strategies that works well and those that need modification to further improve team work.
During the workshop people elected the most inspiring people in the program through a secret ballot and the result saw Michaul Usi scooping the winner with 21 votes as the most inspiring person, Emma Jakobo ASC Program Manager came second with 7 votes while Denson Unjika, Office Assistant based in Blantyre trailed third with 3 votes.  The winners were rewarded with different prizes.
On Thursday afternoon, participants enjoyed 3-km boat riding into Lake Malawi from Cape Maclare to see multi colored fish species called Mbuna at Thumbi Island before being  treated to a dinner dance later in the evening.