Friday, November 19, 2010

Malawi's "Greenbelt Iniative"

Aimed at raising agricultural output and counter climatic unpredictability, Malawi's “Greenbelt Initiative” will bring changes to the agriculture sector. Malawi, a country of 14 million people, one of the world’s most densely populated nations, is mainly dependent on rain-fed agriculture but recent climatic changes have affected its production.

President Bingu wa Mutharika announced yesterday that the Agriculture Marketing & Development Corporation will have a new role, in order to ensure that farmers have access to the international market. To read more Click here. Links with India also feature prominently in the Initiative. To learn more Click here.

ASAP's ongoing training in conservation agriculture aims to address climate change through simple, cost-effective conservation farming methods such as, carefully timed planting, mulching with ground covers, weeding, crop rotation and inter-planting. As evidenced in the sorghum crop pictured, all these increase soil fertility and discourage pests while increasing crop yields. To learn more about ASAP Africa's agriculture projects Click here.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Malawi Program Visit

Elizabeth Bara and Tom Arsenault have recently returned from visiting both the ASAP Malawi program and the ASAP Zimbabwe program. In Malawi, some days were spent meeting field officers in the rural areas where the projects are implemented. They were able to meet many of the Village Savings and Lending (VS&L) club members and hear firsthand about the various activities of the project.

One of the members is doing a great beekeeping project with ten beehives. Some are doing piggery, some fowl and eggs while others are cooking doughnuts and cakes. The majority of members are buying and reselling for their income generating projects. Buying and reselling involves quite an number of different products such as tomatoes, dried fish, clothing, flip-flop shoes, various nuts, vegetables and many others. There are even a couple of groups doing larger whole group projects – making and bottling achar (a type of relish) and fruit jam.

The Malawi program is relatively new and it is so exciting to see how these women have gone from zero to having their own money for school fees and farming inputs as a result of the training from ASAP field officers. And they all certainly expressed how happy and grateful they are for ASAP’s extensive training in VS&L.

Friday, November 05, 2010

New Grant Funding Partner!

ASAP Africa Malawi is proud to announce a new grant from the Sundance Pay It Forward Foundation. The $20,000 one year grant will support the "Chimvano pa Chuma" - Unity for Economic Growth project ongoing in southern Malawi. Through Village Savings & Lending activities, over 7,000 families will increase their household income and food security. To read more about this project and some of the phenomenal success stories Click here.
To learn more about the Sundance Pay It Forward Foundation Click here.

Monday, November 01, 2010

What Constitutes a Safe School?

ASAP is proud to be partnering with UNICEF and 20 other organizations on a new three month project - Social Awareness Campaign for Primary Schools. The problem to be addressed is that many parents are now hesitant to send their children to school in Zimbabwe. The schools are not perceived as a safe a apolitical environment. With national elections forthcoming, the SACPS will determine what can be done to restore communities confidence in their local school as a secure place to learn.

In 2011 the Ministry of Education in Zimbabwe will be distributing textbooks and stationery to all primary schools. The SACPS will also define ways to maximize the benefits and longevity of this much needed support.

To read more click here.