Food Production 2016
FOOD PRODUCTION PROGRAM 2016
Realaid begins when we can make a positive contribution to the ability of the local leaders to provide for those they are responsible for. LWE needed to ensure that the relationship we are building will support a programme of skills transference. With this end in mind we got together with the village headmen. We asked them to identify those who were critically needy so that we could assist them in their task of providing. We could not do it all – but we could play a part. This would be the first step in a process that would lead to a more robust ability to increase yields of staple crops. After an initial meeting (Described here) it was agreed that the village headmen would identify those in their villages who would be able to lead discussions about food security with those whose yields in the past had been poor. First LWE would visit the villages.
The program was set on the 31st March 2016. On this day chiefs were informed that LWE officials will visit all the beneficiaries on the program. The message was sent to the two group village head men KHWIDZI and KAMPHINDA through letters. Copies of the letter was also sent all village headmen. Lucky enough most of the community members got the message though Group Village Kamphinda during a funeral service gathering within his village. People were told of the exercise and asked to inform the ones on the programme to be at their respective homes on the 1st April 2016.
LWE staff did not want to go around with the guiders. Two LWE staff members and two bicycle taxi men were enough and ready for the exercise. This team had to use their own initiative to get the people who were selected by the chiefs.
Since the catchment area is very big and so the people were wide spread and very scattered; it was planned to start off as early as possible. It was planned to do the exercise only for a single day.
MEANS OF COMMUNICATION.
Bicycle taxi were used. We set off at 06:00 am
MEETING THE BENEFICIACIRIES
As explained before, Khwidzi and Kamphinda have 30 small village heads which are just scattered and wide spread. It was not easy to reach those in very remote and out skirt of the other villages. Most of them were up the Mountain near and after Mauni Primary school.
It was not easy also for us to select the most vulnerable since most of all we met in the village were just the same. This verification program also opened our eyes to see the projection of the hunger situation in the near future. We saw with our naked eyes some of the maize fields with all the plants dying at the early stage.
People are really suffering in these villages. All the people; not only orphans. A good number of the people we visited were very old and without anyone supporting them. Their children died already some with the pandemic HIV and AIDS leaving them helpless with four to six orphans.
Few children and grandchildren of some these old people ran away from the villages and now living in town and some in South Africa but not thinking of their old and helpless grandparents back home.
When asked how the well-wishers could best support them getting out of the situation; they gave different suggestions:
- If they could be given some money on Monthly basis to help them buy soap, vaseline, matches , candles and pain killers( tablets)
- If there could be a common market of all farm produce so that they may sell their produce there at an auction price than just selling to vendors within the village who but the produce at a giveaway price. Almost cheating the farmers.
- Provision of farm inputs ( fertilizer, seeds and chemicals)
- Construction of a Grain Bank and organise the people to store their produce there to use it or sell it when it is most needed.
- Irrigation farming LWE OBSERVATION ON THE SELECTION It has been observed that many village heads were honesty enough to choose the ones who were very critical. According to the situation we saw by ourselves, choosing only three among many people of the same condition was not an easy job for the chiefs. It was also observed that some village heads have more people (inhabitants) than the other villages, so to these bigger ones it was not fair to have share of the same number with the other smaller villages.
- Others did not have a choice; they said that anything that the well-wishers may bring to support them will be good and accepted.
CHALLENGES MET DURING THE VERIFICATION EXERCISE.
- Long distances
- Difficult path ways for Bicycles
- Very hard exercise walking up the mountain
- Bias in the selection process
- Taking much time seeing one client than planned
- Provision of an Off Road Motor Bike could make the communication much easier. A one tanner Pick Up truck may of good value for movement and even transportation of commodities and any other relief items.
- Regular village visits may increase equality and transparency among the chiefs as they may know their work will be exposed whenever we visited.
- Much time could have been spent for prayer support and exploring other suggested solutions from the clients.
PURCHASE, MOVEMENT AND DISTRIBUTION
A total of 100 bags of maize meal was procured in Lilongwe at the price of MK8,500.00 per each 25kg pack. The beneficiaries got the information of the distribution from the Group village heads and their village headmen. The programme reached its climax when we saw each of the beneficiaries going out many miles from LWE campus with smiles; each carrying 25 kg of maize meal.
COMMENTS AND REMARKS
Pastor Yunusu emphasised that the aim of LWE with support from SENTAfrica and the Niton Church is to help people of these two group village heads get organised; establish self-sustaining irrigation project and promotion of skills capital program. Lead farmers from the villages will be asked to facilitate seminars at LWE premises where most needy people of the community who are struggling will be asked to attend these seminars to help them do well in the next growing season. It was stated very clearly that distribution of maize is only done to help those who are critically needy and on a dying condition. Group Village headman Kamphinda acknowledged the good work of LWE. He said that it has been displayed that LWE is really a Christian NGO operating in his village. He said that what the charity has done is very impressing to many who were just thinking that the NGO is only for Guest House work and benefits only the Education arm. But providing food has shown the example of what our Lord Jesus did. He was feeding many people even before preaching to them. What LWE through the church has done is more than pulpit work.He asked them to attend the agriculture seminars when they are arranged.
- The finally asked the beneficiaries and all who were present on this day to take full ownership LWE site.
- The commodity was then moved from Lilongwe to Chitipi site and arrangements for distribution was made.