Save the Children Malawi says it remains committed to ensuring that child poverty is tackled through innovative means that are long-term and child-focused.
Project Manager of the Engendered Nutritional and Climate Resilience Actions in Vulnerable Communities Together Project (ENACT) Esther Gama said this in Chimpanzi village in the area of T/A Mlauli in Neno.
“The ENACT project aims to reduce malnutrition and food security in 6,000 households in disaster prone areas in Neno. We have seen a great deal of transformation in reductions of child malnourishment, improved food security, economic empowerment and disaster risk reduction and management interventions,” said Gama, emphasizing that in the wake of any calamity, children suffer the most.
The project works with Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Gender, Women Child Welfare and Community Development, Ministry of Forestry and Department of Disaster Risk Management in implementation of ENACT interventions.
The project, implemented in 13 Group Village Heads in Traditional Authorities Mlauli and Symon since 2018 to date.
According to Gama, 5,011 households and 7,850 under-five children were reached.
“Encouraging kitchen gardens, dietary awareness events, improved agricultural productivity, village savings and loans and disaster risk reduction and management interventions are proving to bring about positive results,” said Gama.
In an attempt to motivate and encourage sustainability of lessons gained during the course of the project, Save the Children awarded exemplary groups in all the areas where the project was implemented.
In his remarks, TA Mlauli urged families to sustain knowledge gained and inculcate it into their day-to-day lifestyles.
“I will personally ensure that some by-laws are implemented to enforce the good practices we have learnt. It shouldn’t be a problem to embrace a good lifestyle for the sake of our children.
“I repeat, for the sake of our children, we will go the extra mile to punish those who prove to be negligent,” he warned.
Ahead of the main event, delegates toured some homes of beneficiaries to see how their lives had transformed. The toured included visits to home gardens, sanitary facilities and some pavilion displays illustrating foodstuffs cultivated or reared under the initiative.
According to Save the Children, child poverty is being tackled in Neno by – among other things – achieving the following:
1. Nutrition Behavior Change Communication
· Kitchen gardens reaching 1802 against a target of 600 has increased availability of vegetables in households, some get from their own households while others buy from their neighbors. Women no longer need to travel long distance to buy vegetables, thereby increasing their time to engage in other activities in the home.
· Dietary awareness and food processing reaching 4650
· Promotion of sanitary facilities reaching 2053 households
2. Agricultural Production and Productivity
· Distribution of early maturing Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (OFSP) reaching 4550 households. This has increased OFSP yields by 30% from 9752.4kg/ha to 13,932kg/ha contributing to food supplementation during lean period and also as a readily available food for preparation of a variety of meals during Community Complementary Food and Learning Session
· Distributed Black Austrolop chickens to 452 households (8 chicks per household) which has contributed to availability of eggs hence increasing source of protein
· Crop diversification and drought tolerant reaching 3805 against 3000
3. Economic empowerment
· Village savings and loans 2448 members against a target of 3000 with total savings
· Trained Marketing groups with a membership of 2168, promoting selling as a group and bulk selling for profit making
· Supported construction of warehouse for storage of farm produce
4. Disaster risk management
· Trained 13 village civil protection committees (VCPC) in disaster risk management
· Nurseries and truncheon raising by 382 households
· Increased awareness of disaster risk reduction including promotion of construction of houses with raised foundations and proper roofing in readiness for rains
5. Gender equality
· Trained 338 gender champions to promote gender
· Awareness of household visioning, decision making and division of labour