Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mwanza Women Celebrate Self-Reliance

There was joy and earth-shattering celebration at Mwanza Community Ground on 17 December 2010 when 78 women from nine Village Savings and Lending groups who have participating in ASAP Africa Malawi’s Chimvano pa Chuma Project were being presented with certificates.

“I can’t believe this is happening to me!” A visibly elated Mary Bintoni exclaimed. “I cannot believe my business is running well and I still have this envelope with more money than I contributed to my group’s savings!”

On this day, the women received their certificates acknowledging their successful completion of a savings and lending cycle, and an envelope containing money they had contributed to their group’s savings plus the interest it had accrued in the lending activities. ASAP Africa Malawi’s Country Director could not hide his satisfaction: “We are very pleased that we are meaningfully contributing to Malawi Government’s efforts to provide a means for rural women to become self-reliant”, he enthused. Over Mk 830, 000 was shared at the function.

“This festive season is a season with a difference. At a time like this last year, before I joined ASAP’s Chimvano pa Chuma Program, I was in extreme debt and had no food for my children. Now, I have all the money I need for my business, food and farm inputs,” said a jovial Mrs Kamwana.

Friday, December 10, 2010

New Pigeon Pea Study

In Malawi ASAP begin has been encouraging farmers to grow Pigeon Peas since we began working in the country in January 2009. In partnership with Total Land Care, ASAP facilitated the distribution of superior Pigeon Pea seeds in a seed multiplication project. To learn more about ASAP Africa's agriculture projects - that YOUR donations make possible - click here.

Now a new study finds that planting Pigeon Peas and other legumes has even more benefits than previously thought and can actually reduce the amount of fertilizer required. To read more about the study click here.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Home Is Where Your Heart Is

Due to economic and political hardships in Zimbabwe over the past 10 years, it is estimated that more than 3 million Zimbabweans are living outside of their country today. Thanks to the UK-based Development Foundation for Zimbabwe, diasporans in more than seven countries will meet later this month to dialogue with the Government on how they can inject millions of dollars in investment as part of actively participating in the economic recovery of the country.To read more click here. Plans for future investment are certainly encouraging. The map above depicts the the food insecurity prevailing in this country of desperate need. Your contribution to ASAP is helping families survive and thrive today.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Inflation in Zimbabwe... WHY?

In Zimbabwe the largest supermarkets have increased their average price for a basket of goods by about 15% during the fourth quarter of the year. Experts say the rate of food price inflation was making life increasingly difficult for the millions of families already struggling to make ends meet under the weight of rising rentals, energy costs, taxes, interest rates and school fees.

After enduring hyper-inflation that peaked at 400 million percent, the country adopted the USD in Feb 2009, a move which many thought would stabilize the economy. But what is the reason for the sudden rise in prices of goods and services? Could it be the country's trade rebate structure, firming of the rand, taxes, response to speculation or is it sheer profiteering? To read more click here.

For the women in ASAP's Village Savings & Lending rural micro-finance project, their funds are often invested in assets - household commodities such as cooking oil, sugar and salt. This protects their capital in volatile times, often increasing profit. To read more click here. Remember, your donation of only $30 will improve the life of a struggling family by providing VS&L training.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Share Your World AIDS Day Wishes

Maybe you’d like to wish your HIV-positive friend a life filled with good food, good laughter and good friends. Maybe you’re wishing that by next World AIDS Day we’ve made even more progress in the fight against the disease. To share your World AIDS Day ONE wish with others click here.