Scottish Government-funded project enters final year

SMEDI training

Farmers from Malawi learning about small business skills

As we move into 2017 we are now entering the final few months of the project we have been supporting in Northern Malawi: Strengthening Citizen Participation for Food and Nutrition Security.

Working alongside our local partner, Ungweru Organisation, we have been delivering an holistic package of activities to address some of the underlying constraints that lead to food insecurity and malnutrition in the areas.

While we still have some way to go, some of the activities so far include:
– 567 households have been trained in Civic Governance (to understand their rights to food and government services) – as a direct result, farmers in some areas have already started to demand (and obtain) government outlets to sell their produce in their area for a better price.
– 15 Village Savings and Loans (VSL) groups have been established or strengthened, with 353 VSL members trained in group dynamics, VSL management and entrepreneurship. In early 2017 they will benefit from a ‘Revolving Fund’ to be able to access small loans to engage in higher income-earning activities.
– Farmers have been linked with an organisation of farmer groups (NASFAM) through which they will be able to not only access ongoing services and training, but also have better links to markets, cutting out unscrupulous middle-men and earning a higher price.
– A study on drivers of child malnutrition was carried out with the help of Ministry of Health and others, helping identify follow-on activities for 2017 targeted to specific areas of especially high child malnutrition.

Mary from Ungweru speaks to women about setting up Village Savings and Loans groups

Women in northern Malawi learning about village savings groups

We look forward to updating you on the final outcomes with case studies later in the year.