Mzuzu Diocese CADECOM with funding from Caritas Australia through National Office is implementing A+ program. This is an integrated community development programme. The project is being implemented in Traditional Authority Chisovya in Rumphi and Traditional Authority Jalavikuba in Mzimba North and targets 1500 people. A+ project focuses much on food security, WASH, Child protection, Gender, HIV & AIDS, enterprise development and environmental management. The project is in the fourth year of five years’ implementation. Many participants benefited from the project. Some of the notable beneficiaries identified are elaborated in the below paragraphs.
Veronica Mkandawire, 30 years of age hails from chikwama village traditional authority Jalavikuba in Mzimba district. She is a single mother and has three children. At first Veronica had no land to farm and she was just sluggish, which made her to face more problems as agriculture is the main source of income for most farmers, Veronica included. Making her difficult to provide basic necessities for her family. But since everybody has a blank page to restart given an opportunity, the coming in of CADECOM through supporting of vocational and entrepreneurship skills was the blank page Veronica wanted all along. She had stories to share concerning this opportunity upon meeting her as she is one of the beneficiaries of the project.
After graduating from the outreach programme equipped with her certificate she started working on job training and she was earning some money. From her earnings she was able to save some of the money and managed to purchase land for farming. Due to this milestone, she is able to farm on the land she purchased and able to produce surplus food for her family. The surplus food is sold and use to buy farm inputs (fertilizer, pesticides) and also the basic needs for her family daily survival. Before the coming in of the project, she was able to generate MK 2000.00 per month which was too little for the family survival and she was facing a lot of problems. But with the coming in of this project, she is able to acquire MK35, 000.00 per month on average and in other piece of work she receive MK2500 per day. This amount of money which will drive her family on a better near.
What makes this project remarkable is how her future plans are gimmick organized. Upon asked what her future plans were, with observing sustainability development. She said “I will be more than grateful to involve myself in community developments such as Health center, under-five clinic and school blocks at Katope and Songamino respectively with the expertise I have acquired so far. I will utilize my expertise in any ways to sound helpful. It is not about I, Veronica, but as a community as a whole. So I thank CADECOM for helping me close the bad chapter I had and am no longer leaving in chapter one”.
Eliza Pondo one of the other beneficiary of A+ project from the area of Group Village Headman Baghaya, Traditional Authority Chisovya in Rumphi District. She was born in 1975 and is married with five children to a man who has 2 other wives. Eliza is one of the participants living with HIV and AIDS. Being the first wife, Eliza rarely receives support from the husband. She lives in a small iron roofed house, with toilet but had no hand washing facility, dish rack, rubbish pit or pit latrine. She draws water from a borehole which is at a distance of 700 meters. During interview with Eliza, she revealed a number of challenges that she is facing ranging from food insecurity, school fees for her children, long distance to access antiretroviral drugs and discrimination. Additionally, her marriage to a polygamist has exposed her to several forms of verbal and physical abuse
Her main occupation is farming despite her yield not being satisfactory in the previous years. She owns 5.5 acres of land. Before A+ Project Eliza could harvest 7bags of 50kgs of maize, 2bags of 50kgs groundnuts, and 1bag of 50kgs of soya which was not enough for her family to sustain survival as there were no surplus food to sell to buy necessities. During the last growing season, 2018/2019, with the coming in of the project and implementing some of the core activities in the project, she managed to harvest 15 bags of 50kgs of maize, 5 bags of 50kgs of groundnuts and 1 bag of 50kgs of beans to her this was a great achievement. During 2019 winter farming Eliza has managed to raise K65, 000.00 after selling fresh maize cobs and MK45, 000.00 after selling tomatoes. On hygiene and sanitation, Eliza has all hygiene and sanitation facilities, like toilet with hand washing facility, rubbish pit and bath room. Eliza is doing a baking business to sustain her family daily needs. She is also a member of Tovyilane Village and Saving Group. This year after share out she has managed to get MK 130,000.00 which has used to buy farm inputs and is planning to extend her house.
Prepared by Fishani Mkandawire, Henry Simukonda and Lusungu Sibande