Tuesday, October 22, 2013

VSL magic; women dreaming big in Lilongwe

By Levie Chiwenda
The Village banking system commonly known as Village Saving and Loan (VSL) continues to unleash magic spells as women in Tradtional Authouty Tsabango in Lilongwe are now dreaming big after accumulating huge sums of money.
During the last share out event at Group Village Nkhulawe in 2012, Chikondi  VSL Group accumulated K580, 000 ( about $1, 450) and Elizabeth Lemani  got the highest share of K62, 000 (about $155) and the second highest share went to Rose Shaibu, who got K60,000 (about  $150).
Elizabeth and her cow

Elizabeth, 50 and divorced bought a cow for milk and four bags of fertilizer which she used to harvest 40 bags of maize during  the 2012 and 2013 agriculture season, the highest achievement for a single woman at an advanced age. Rose shaibu, also divorced bought six bags of fertilizer and harvested 48 bags of maize and she has kept some to be sold during the anticipated hunger period between December 2013 and February 2014 when maize price goes up.
Rose Shaibu at her house
During the 2013 share out cycle, the 20-member VSL group had K925, 520 to share (about $2, 314)and again Elizabeth and Rose hit the highest with K90,000 and K75, 000 respectively. At the close of the share out event, Elizabeth’s joy was over pouring and she said in an interview that she was planning to invest more in future in order to buy a maize mill.  In a separate interview, Rose hinted that she would buy more land and invest in farming.

ADRA Malawi, through the Action for Social Change Program has facilitated formation  and is supporting 56 VSL groups in the area and with success records reported, more VSL groups are mushrooming through  village agents. On average, women membership in the groups constitutes 90%.
Members of Chkondi VSL display cash during share out
The Action for Social Change Program is being supported by Denmark to bring about individual and society change in Lilongwe, Machinga, Mulanje and Mzimba districts.
  The outlook of the village communities is now changing as the banking system has revived hope for quick economic recovery and is seen as the best method of rising women self esteem.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Backyard vegetable gardening changing lives in Salima

By Mercy Chakoma
Life is changing for better among women in Salima after the backyard gardening innovation by ADRA Malawi through the Tsogolo Labwino Project.
Backyard gardening was considered after ADRA Malawi assessed that many women in Salima were not economically empowered and they depended on men as sole bread winners.
A case in point is that of Rosmary Jetifala who slipped into poverty after her husband, Mathias Jefitala was involved in a car accident and he eventually became incapacitated.  Speaking in an interview, Rosmary narrated that life became unbearable for her family when her husband got injured and she almost became a beggar in order to provide for the needs of her seven children and her husband.
Before her husband got injured, the family survived on basket weaving, a trade that Mathias had undertaken for 15 years.
In April this year, a ray of hope manifested when Rosmary joined Tsogolo Labwino backyard vegetable gardening training. She said the training was an eye opener for her and she realized she was sitting on gold within her 15 square meter garden in her plot after harvesting high quality vegetables. She said she sold the first harvest and earned K1, 700 (about $4) a week in June this year. She said that since many people had realized her quality vegetables, her market base had increased and she would be earning enough to look after her family.
Rosemary has since joined the Tiyamike Savings and Loans Group in her village where her earnings are expected to double through her shares.
Her lifestyle changes are sending a glimmer of hope to many women in her community. Rosemary hails from Kumwala Village in Traditional Authority Kambwili where the Tsogolo Labwino is being implemented.
Tsogolo Labwino is being supported by the Australian Government through Australian Aid (AUSAID) to improve the quality of life for people in Salima District.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

FBS formed in ASC program targeted districts

 By George Kamanga and Elias Banda
Seven farmers business schools (FBS) have been formed in Lilongwe, Mzimba, Machinga and Mulanje to enhance capacity of local farmers to produce quality crops through the use of conservation agriculture and other modern technologies.
Gift Mwnda ASC Lilongwe District Coordinator addresses FBS members at Dima irrigation site

The FBS concept was initiated by the Malawi Government through the Ministry of Agriculture and Food security to improve food security through quality crop production. ADRA Malawi is complementing government’s efforts by mobilising farmers into FBS.
In Lilongwe the FBS has been formed with members drawn from Chambala,Santhe, Tsabango, Chimono, Chingira, Mdondwe, Khundi and Dima group village communities. The school comprise 25 members of which 5 are women and it has special interest in soy and groundnuts.
 In Machinga, four FBS have been formed at Nanyumbu and Mbonachela with special interest in groundnuts, poultry and cotton. 
FBS members share ideas at Chambala demonstration site
In Mulanje a school has been formed at Chimwamezi in Traditional Authority Juma, comprising 22 members with special focus on pigeon pea. In Mzimba the school has been formed at Choma, focusing on soy and beans.

ADRA Malawi through the Action for Social Change Program (ASC),  is collaborating with government extension workers to ensure that the schools are strengthened and sustained. Skills acquired through FBS are expected to help small holder farmers to penetrate the wider market with quality and well packed products.
The ASC program is being supported by Denmark to bring about individual and society change in Machinga, Mulanje, Lilongwe and Mzuzu.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

ADRA Malawi to continue food aid in Phalombe

By Elias Banda
ADRA Malawi has been selected among shortlisted agencies and organizations by the World Food Program (WFP) and the Malawi Government Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA) to continue food aid activities in Phalombe District. The project starts in October this year and will wind up in February 2014.
According to the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC),  Phalombe is one of the 21 districts of Malawi seriously hit by the hunger situation and it is estimated that between April 2013 and March 2014,  about 1.4 million do not have food. The hunger situation has been aggravated by recurrent dry spells and flooding in the 2012/2013 agriculture season which resulted in low yields.
  Speaking in an interview, Hastings Lacha, ADRA Malawi Emergency and  Relief Coordinator said the program  would be implemented in traditional Authority Nazombe and Nkhumba, targeting 12, 912 households, representing about 71, 016 people.
The project is being funded by UKAID, USAID, WFP and
The DFID and Malawi Government teams addressing beneficiaries in Phalombe last year.
the Malawi Government. Last year between October and March, ADRA Malawi distributed food to over 12 thousand households in Phalombe district under the Emergency Food AID Program (JEFAP) funded by the Malawi Government and the British Department for International Development ( DFID)
Mr Lacha said that under the current program, targeted households would receive a food basket on monthly rotational basis comprising 50kg of cereal, 5 kg of corn soya blend, 2 liters of cooking oil and 10kgs of pulses.