The fruits of strength based approach (SBA)

CADECOM Projects
Judith showing one of the officials from Caritas Australia around her home (CADECOM,2020)

CADECOM with support from Caritas Australia is working in six strategic areas through the A+ project.  One of the strategic areas is relief and rehabilitation. Since A+ project started in 2016, it has bared a lot of fruits in Lukali and Chiskemba VDCS of Rumphi District. Through its integrated projects, it has changed the lives of many households and among these, is the household of Judith Nyasulu who is a widow.

Judith comes from village headman Chighayike from Chiskemba VDC in Rumphi district. She is 59 years old and has five children. Before the A+ project, Judith was in dare poverty living in a grass thatched house in a very poor condition and faced food insecurity in her household. She was considered one of the most vulnerable women in the community. When the project came into her community in 2016, Judith was one of the people that attended the project’s trainings that CADECOM conducted.  After being trained about how important it is to have an action plan in one’s life, Judith drafted hers. She learnt that having an action plan helped one to know what needs to be done and the steps taken to complete a task as well as the timeline. In 2016/2017, she started working on it, redrafting and improving it. Some of the things she wrote down in her action plan helped her buy iron sheets to furnish her grass thatched house, buy livestock and engage in bee keeping. After attending and being trained on the Strength Based Approach (SBA), Judith explains that she acquired knowledge that changed her life. She realized she has resources like a 2-acre piece of land and trees around her house that she can use to develop her life and change her story for the better. She started engaging in small scale businesses such as buying and selling tomato. From such small scale businesses, she was able to source money to buy 5 bags of fertilizer. Because of her active participation and devotion to the project’s trainings, she was provided with maize seedlings as a starter pack and a beehive to start the bee keeping using the trees around her house.

Judith’s vegetable garden (CADECOM, 2020)

In 2018, she grew maize and beans on her 2-acre sized land and harvested thirty-two 50 kg bags of maize and four 50kg bags of beans. She sold 28 bags of maize and 3 bags of beans and found MK280, 000 and MK64,000 respectively. Using this money, she bought iron sheets, wire nails, roofing nails and timber for roofing her grass thatched house. In August 2019 she started to furnish her roof with iron sheets. She now has a well-furnished iron sheet roof house and she explains ‘using the knowledge acquired from this project’s trainings, I have been able to use my strength, knowledge and resources to source funds and furnish my house and I am very grateful to Caritas Australia for their help through the A+ project’.

Judith Nyasulu also benefitted from the livestock pass-on scheme where she received two goats and one has a kid as of now. Apart from the livestock, Judith also received 5 local breed chicken (mikolongwe) which have multiplied and now she has 16 of them in total. As per trained, Judith has a vegetable garden, sweet potato vineyard and groundnuts to have a diversity of crops to ensure food security at her household.

Currently, Judith’s household has access to sufficient and quality food from all food groups as she produces a diversity of crops and she can access other foodstuff through purchase. This is all possible because not only does she produce food for consumption but she also sells some of the crops such as beans and honey from her bee keeping.

Apart from being food secure, Judith’s home is well kept and very hygienic; she has a well-built toilet with water for handwashing, she has a well-kept kitchen with an improved cooking stove that is climate friendly. From being vulnerable, Judith Nyasulu’s home is now a model home for other households in her village.


By Tereza W. Ng’ambi (CADECOM – Mzuzu Diocese)

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