Monday, August 03, 2009

Seeing Is Believing!

Dignitaries, journalists and community members were taken on a walk-around of two irrigation sites last Friday, as part of ASAP Malawi’s first field day for the “Chimvano pa Chuma” project ( CCP) “Unity for Economic Growth” project in Chikwawa district of southern Malawi. Above, the group including journalists listens attentively to ASAP’s Senior Field Officer, Lingstone Ganamba, during a visit to one of the irrigation plots.
The event, which was attended by close to four hundred community members from different villages, was a great success. Click here to view the newspaper article that appeared in The Nation in Malawi on Sunday August 2nd.

The field day had two main areas of focus – village savings and lending (VS&L) and small scale irrigation. VS&L is an internal rural savings club project that teaches communities how to pool their resources and become financially self reliant. To read more and see a short video about this project, click here.
Currently ASAP is working with 42 VS&L groups in Malawi and together, they have mobilized over MK 421000 ($ 3000) in savings. The event also served as a medium to enhance the spirit of self-reliance and promote the spirit of learning from one another among community members. Thus, the day gave ASAP the much-needed opportunity and publicity to showcase what had been accomplished within the first four months of its community level operations in Chikwawa. In the picture below the gathering listens to the VS&L success story.
Through the small scale irrigation component of the project 83 community members received farm inputs and treadle pumps at subsidized price and are irrigating over 18 hectares of land. Pictured here is Lingstone Ganamba explaining how vast the irrigation sites are, with a proud community member explaining how ASAP efforts had helped to improve food and economic security at household level.
The event was attended by, among other dignitaries, the District Commissioner, the District Agricultural Development Officer, Total Land Care Officials, representatives of other non-governmental organizations, Chief Ndakwera and other local leaders. In the picture above Sub-Traditional Authority Ndakwera makes a speech, thanking ASAP for empowering a community which was previously synonymous with free hand outs. He requested ASAP to consider scaling up to other villages within his area. Taking his turn, ASAP Malawi Country Director encouraged community members to continue working hard so that their economic status should continue to improve. He expressed thanks and appreciation for the support ASAP was receiving from the local leadership, government departments and development partners.

In addition to the speeches made by different individuals and traditional dances performed by communities, participating communities showcased how VS&L had improved their economic status in only a few short months.

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