Mulanje Mission Hospital through its Primary Health Care (PHC) department in partnership with Local Government Sectors continued with the implementation of the Sustainable Livelihoods Project in Mulanje District during the period under review (June, 2019-July, 2020).
The project added 5 new model villages under its phase 2 of the project. These villages are Sikoya, Ng’oma and Tambala in TA Chikumbu’s area, Mwanamvula in TA Nkanda’s area and Bwanali in TA Mabuka’s area. The implementation of activities in these villages started in July, 2019.
The needs assessment was done thoroughly with a Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA). The Village Action Plans (VAP’s) for each targeted Model Village were developed with the villagers and are now being implemented.
The farmer skills (capacity) development, field days, OVC livestock Pass-on Programme, and community gardening have improved both crop and animal husbandry practices and adoption of appropriate farming technologies.
The project also continued supporting ten primary schools through the School Gardening Programme. These are: Samson, Nachiwale, Khunguni, Kachere, Likhubula, Chibanthi, Kachere, Sikoya, Misanjo and Ngolowera. Activities in primary schools include gardening, introduction of livestock and expansion of environmental conservation and tree planting.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, especially 4th quarter teaching activities (April-June 2020) were delayed as there were restrictions on group meetings.
Households of Traditional Authorities Chikumbu and Mabuka in Mulanje District, Southern Malawi and learners in ten primary schools in the area.
This programme has been made possible with support from the Good Little Company, Fane Valley Cooperative, Blacksburg Presbyterian Church, Greenpop Stichting Steun Malawi, the English Reformed Church and Wilde Ganzen, and various individual donors contributing to carbon offsetting.
Involvement of different stakeholders like the government extension workers, teachers and community at large has assisted to increase the coverage and timely completion of activities.
The activities/interventions achieved for the period under review include:
- Farmer capacity building in various interventions that are climate resilience. (Conducting trainings in conservation agriculture and promotion of making and utilization of compost manure)
- Provision of agricultural support aimed at promoting crop diversification (22 demonstrations fields were set in 9 model villages)
- Promoting fruit and vegetable production (268 kitchen gardens were constructed and utilized)
- Support of reforestation, soil and water conservation technologies. (4 hectares were put under soil and water conservation e.g. marker ridges, Vetiver hedge row and agroforestry)
- Support innovative food processing and storage methods (conducting 2 cooking demonstration at Mwanamvula and Wasi)
- Promotion of OVC animal husbandry and general livestock (Pass-on Program) (82 goats passed-on to second beneficiaries)
- Support activities for generation and proper management of increased income (VSL & A) (Twelve Farmer Groups shared K13,450,380.00 to 268 participants)
- Training of para-vets and provision of material support ( ten para-vets from 5 new model villages were trained and supported by pushbikes, backpack and gumboots)
- Training of Lead Farmers and provision of material support ( ten lead-farmers from 5 new model villages were trained and supported by pushbikes, backpack and gumboots)
- Conduct review for Para-Vets and Lead Farmers in December, 2019
- Conduct Primary Teachers Agriculture Network review meeting in December, 2019
The project added 5 new model villages under its phase 2 of the project. These villages are Sikoya, Ng’oma and Tambala in TA Chikumbu’s area, Mwanamvula in TA (Traditional Authority) Nkanda’s area and Bwanali in TA Mabuka’s area. The implementation of activities in these villages started in July, 2019. The needs assessment were done properly using participatory rural appraisal.
Income Generating Activities (IGAs) were enhanced in all farmer clubs and members respectively. The bee keeping was a successful activity with market available at Thandizani Resource Centre.
In total 324 kg of honey was bought realizing a revenue of MK 842,400. As part of enhancing the bee keeping we procured and distributed 40 bee hives and other materials to Bee keeping clubs. There are now 182 trained and equipped beekeepers. Some also sell honey locally or to other markets.
Other income generation was the sales of vegetables produced in gardens and especially the three irrigation sites (see 5.4) We are yet to establish the total profits made – this information will be available in December.
The training of Para-vets (Livestock Lead Farmer) and the Lead Farmers has greatly assisted the project to reach-out to more community members as these volunteers resided in the same communities. From the beginning of the project to date we have got 22 lead farmers for both Crops and Livestock respectively.
Under the Orphan and vulnerable children network, 82 goats born and raised were passed-on to other families.
5.3 Primary Schools Agricultural Network
The introduction of livestock under school gardening seems to be the good move in as far as primary school agriculture is concerned, this will give learners a chance to learn both livestock and crops. Five primary schools were given six goats in the first phase of livestock programme. The last five primary schools will be given up satisfactory management of the first five primary schools. The involvement of relevant school structures (committees) and the entire community members has assisted in the promotion of school garden activities as compared to last season where we only involved teachers and pupils.
In total, 11,230 pupils are involved in the primary school work (5159 boys and 5173 girls) and 20 teachers – the headteacher and Agricultural lead teacher at each school.
The introduction of extra activities in the school gardening like sanitation and a “plastic free school” has boosted the morale of the project. Each school is encouraged to one hour per week to remove all the plastics around the school. In order to encourage pupils and teachers to take part in the activities of the project, the best primary schools were awarded with different prizes thus school learning materials, agricultural inputs and 6 goats. The awarded primary schools include Misanjo, Samson and Likhubula who were awarded school materials and goats while Khunguni, Ngolowera and Nachiwale were awarded with goats.
On environmental conservation, the involvement of locals in the management of the forestry and watershed areas is the most effective way of managing the forest. The methodology which is called the Community Based Natural Resources Management Committees (CBNRMC) empowers the local community to formulate and use the bylaws in managing the environment. The Mlatho Conservation project has managed to restore 52 hactors of forestry area in its 2nd year of its implementation. For this to continue there is need to enhance trainings, introduce forestry incentives and increase the conservation activities like planting of trees, Vetiver, terracing and many more. Giving of material support to the CBNRMC like Pushbikes, Reflective materials, Gumboots would boost the morale of the committee to carry out their activities effectively.
A total of 31518 trees of different species were planted in different locations (catchments) in the just ended season (see also treeplanting report on www.mmh.mw)
CBNRMCs were trained in catchment management, conflict resolutions, and resource mobilization.
All the committees were supported with different types of materials that can be used to enhance their conservation activities like wheelbarrows, shovels, pangas, rakes, watering canes and many more items.
Through a gross margin analysis conducted by the farmers in all the three irrigation schemes, farmers came up with different types of enterprises with potential in their areas. Below is a breakdown of accomplishments in the three irrigation schemes.
|Bololo Irrigation Scheme – 10 ha||Mwamadi Irrigation scheme – 11 ha||Wasi Irrigation Scheme – 8 ha|
|Crop||2019 – ha||2020 – ha||Crop||2019 – ha||2020 – ha||Crop||2019 – ha||2020 – ha|
|Leafy Vegs||0.2||0.4||Leafy Vegs||0.3||0.3||Leafy Vegs||0.3||0.2|
|Total utilized (ha)||4.1 or 41%||7 or 70%||Total utilized (ha)||5.5 or 50%||7.9 or 72%||Total utilized (ha)||3.3 or 41%||4.1 or 51%|
NB: Utilization for 2019/2020 season was not good at Wasi due to low water pressure experienced before the installation of another pump. This problem is now rectified.
During the 2020/2021 season, farmers have improved the due to the trainings offered to them in terms of resource mobilization – usage is at almost 100%.
All the scheme members were trained on:
- Manure making and utilization
- Organic Fertilizer making
- Village Savings and loans (VSL) whereby farmers were able to save and lend the money to purchase the inputs on their own. But despite this there were some farmers who have failed due to their poverty levels hence the need for the project to assist these farmer in future with start-up inputs at a small scale.
- Planting of recycled seeds by some farmers who didn’t manage to buy improved seeds.
- Lack of inputs to the most needy farmers in all the schemes.
The project managed to train 10 new Lead Farmers and Para-Veterinarian respectively. The objective is to improve extension services delivery in the new model villages. These Lead Farmers and Para-Vets were supported with all necessary materials like push bikes, Gumboots, Back Packs, writing materials for data recording and Drug boxes with start-up drugs for Para-vets. These lead farmers and para-vets meets once every quarter to share their experiences amongst them selves
Through a special grant around COVID-19, the project conducted improved home gardening training.
The target was to train 720 households in 36 villages on improved home garden technologies
This is on track: 240 households have been trained in 12 villages by June, 2020.
Individuals and companies contributed funds to Mulanje Mission Hospital that were used to purchase and manage tree seedlings planted in all the environmental hot spots in the catchment area. The project managed to purchase 1,800 different tree species with funds realized from the Fund.
- Some of the activities were disturbed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has affected some of the activities especially farmer capacity building. Other activities like monitoring, small construction and irrigation were not affected. For the next season (2020-2021) the plan should be to reduce number of participants from the normal forty to twenty per training session in each model village and also to encourage participants to follow all the recommended precautionary measures like having the hand washing facilities, social distancing and to use face masks.
The project has been very successful to the community. The Model Village Approach is an ideal extension methodology to address issues relating to climate change like food security, nutrition security and economic security which benefit community greatly, since MVA approach helps the community become experts in managing their natural resources as well as their families – resulting in community asset creation, better yields, increased profit, improved nutritional status, and a healthy productive population.
The 5 newly selected villages are in “Livelihoods Security Phase” where by community members are trained in various technologies and interventions that are important in building their livelihoods and strengthening their resilience to the issues of climate change. While the old model villages are in “Specialization Phase” where by each village is specialized in the enterprises of their wish. These villages will be phased out of the project in the next financial year of 2020/2021 but monitoring will still continue.
Under the environmental conservation, the conservation of Mlatho Hills has been a success following the successful implementation of activities in the area. The coordination between community leaders, community members and stakeholders has been good throughout. For the last quarter all the planned activities were carried out as planned. The coming in of carbon fund has also assisted the in the procurement of additional tree seedlings.
In conclusion the project has been successful in the sense that it created a positive impact to preparedness and building of resilience of local communities. However, much remains to be done to raise resilience even further. With the impending effects of climate change, improved adaptive capacity of communities must be the goal – this will require more time and new alliances with actors that hold expertise in issues of climate change.
- Construction of new Irrigation Schemes at Mwanamvula (rehabilitation of Gravity fed Irrigation) and possibly one or two more at Sikoya, Bwanali and Ng’oma Village (Solar Powered Irrigation)
- Promotion of social enterprises of different models in different villages (Bee keeping, Mushroom Production, Efficient Energy Stoves Production)
- Environmental restoration in all the targeted areas.
- Farmer capacity building in Post-Harvest Handling, Irrigation trainings covering different topics, VSL trainings,
- Field days and Open Days
- Intensifying irrigation farming in all the three irrigation schemes and other areas where farmers use residue moisture