Wednesday, September 24, 2014

ADRA Malawi shines at Blantyre Trade Fare

By Mamangina Madikiza-Madumuse
The 2014 Agriculture Trade Fare will go into history books as the first ever agriculture show case that ADRA Malawi participated. The fare which ran from 28th to 30th 2014 under the theme " Agriculture: A Basis for Achieving Inclusive Growth", was officially opened by President Peter Mutharika at Chichiri Trade fare grounds in Blantyre.
According to the Malawi Confederation of Commerce and Industry, who organized the event, about 100 exhibitors comprising buyers, producers, farmer organizations and researchers erected pavilions at the fare.
The ADRA Malawi pavilion was organized by the empowered Kawinga Cooperative from Machinga and Tagwirizana Smallholder famers Association from Mulanje. The two groups displayed a variety of agricultural products including pigeon peas, sunflower, sunflower cooking oil, ground nuts, groundnut flour and cassava flour.
ADRA Malawi pavilion at the fare

The Tigwirizane Smallholder Farmer Association emerged as an outstanding performer in the category of farmer organization after organizers were impressed with the display of pigeon peas, sunflower and sunflower cooking oil.
The ADRA Malawi empowered groups also took  advantage of the agriculture show to expose themselves to potential markets as they received numerous enquiries from buyers. The Blantyre based Universal Industries Company had an interest in Kawinga Cooperative for the supply of   ground nuts, groundnuts flour and cassava flour.  Another Blantyre based company Export Trading developed deep interest in Tigwirizane Smallholder’ s potential to supply pigeon peas.
ADRA Malawi Monitoring and Evaluation Manager Thoko Mwapasa could not hold her excitement when she said that this was a landmark achievement. “ This is no mean achievement  , I congratulate the farmer groups and the ADRA Malawi team for their coordinated effort to make this achievement ‘ said Thoko.
ADRA Malawi through the Action for Social Change Program has facilitated formation and strengthened farmer groups and associations into viable civil society actors to advocate for better livelihoods in the communities. 


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Reach out and touch for Mary

By Stanley Mpasa

Mary Chauya was born Amwalembe Village in area of chief Mkumba in |Mangochi District. She has a history of epilepsy. She developed epileptic fits after the birth of her first child and she fell in the fire on  two separate incidences and had her arms amputated. Despite her condition, Mary is looking after her old mother and her late sister’s children.
Mary at her house
A Trainer of Trainers (TOT) volunteer of Maranatha Cousnellors’ Club noticed Mary selling some fruits on the roadside and he was interested to find out more about a person who had no arms but could carry and sell fruits like any other normal person. The matter was reported to Maranatha Counsellos’ Club which responded by donating various items worthy K71, 0000 (about $190) to Mary.  The matter was further referred to the District Social Welfare Office for more assistance. The

Television interview

TOT project Manager appealed for support from the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC TV) to feature Mary on the Reach Out and Touch Program, a platform through which people with disabilities and special needs  ask for help from the general public.
MBC responded and featured Mary on the program. Maranatha volunteers further donated food items and clothes worthy K61, 000 (about $161) to Mary. During the recording, Mary narrated how  difficult it was to coped with life under such conditions.  “It is very hard,” she said, “ although the people around us feel pity and help, they, too, are poor and need to take care of their families.” She added that she is very grateful for the assistance she has received both from TOT and the community members.
After airing of the program, MBC official hinted that people are now making enquiries on Marys condition and there is a ray of hope that some may come forward and assist.
Meanwhile, the TOTs have also sourced K100, 000 (about $265) which would be used to rehabilitate Marys house.
The TOT Prooject is supported by Sweden to bring about individual and society change.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

TOT volunteers mobilize community for HIV/AIDS messages

By Stanley Mpasa
The Trainer of Trainers (TOT) project volunteers have raised the alarm on the dangers of bad customs that facilitate the transmission of the HIV virus in the community through an open day function at Mbiza in Mulanje District.  The function took place on Sunday, August 17 and was spiced by drama, dances, poem recital, testimonies and speeches, all depicting the realities of HIV/AIDS and emphasizing on the importance of HIV testing.
Though the function collided with the chief’s coronation ceremony a few kilometers from the venue, over 800 people had attended.

Peterson Kamanga and other invited guests at the function
The function revealed several gaps in the fight against HIV/AIDS and they included low community compliance to the preventive messages, poor accessibility to condoms and harmful customs, among others. 
Common among harmful customs were the initiation ceremonies where boys and girls were taught sex theories and later encouraged them to put them into practice. Apart from the spread of HIV, the initiation ceremonies have also increased early pregnancies, early marriages and school drop outs especially among girls.
Mbiza support group members singing during the function
Speaking at the function South Malawi Field Health and Music Director Peterson Kamanga who was also Guest of Honor cautioned the young against engaging in risky behaviors that would encourage the spread of HIV/AIDS.   Mbiza Health Center Medical Officer, Mr Pindani commanded the work done by TOT volunteers. He disclosed that 30% of the 15000 people that have undergone HIV tests from the beginning of 2014 at the health center were referred by the TOT volunteers. Mr Pindani however bemoaned the low turn up by men for HIV tests.
A member of Mbiza Support Group Eneles Eliya testified how she lived positively with the HIV virus since 2001. She encouraged people to go for testing. Speaking earlier, Village Head Muhiya thanked the organizers for choosing his village as venue for the function and urged his subjects to take the messages seriously.
Other invited guests at the function included chiefs, pastors, teachers and medical staff.
The TOT Project is being supported by Sweden to bring about society and individual behavioral change on issues of HIV/AIDS.