WFP Takes Diverse Approach Towards Challenges Hindering Development
Food insecurity, poverty, high illiteracy levels and malnutrition are some of the main challenges hindering development of Malawi as a country.
The sick, the hungry, the illiterate and those nursing natural disasters due to climate change fail to contribute efficiently towards the country's economic growth starting from family level.
It is to this regards that the World food program (WFP) with support from sundry donors and partners joined Malawi government to assist build resilience and address these challenges.
WFP Country Representative, Benoit Thiry, says the approach bundles together building human capital as part of resilience, building physical capital both at household and community level as well as grounding several interventions in strengthened national systems, processes and policies to ensure sustainability and effectiveness.
"We would wish to achieve zero hunger, nutrition security, increased school attendance using community mobilization tools to ensure sustainability of our efforts.
"I am impressed with the community response so far in our several projects," said Thiry.
Thiry says the programs have been designed to create a positive impact through evidence-based targeting, prioritization and building on synergies between programmes while lobbying the government to take ownership.
Zodiak Online visit to eastern region districts of Balaka and Mangochi witnessed multiple projects WFP is implementing through partners Find your Feet and Plan Malawi.
In Balaka, WFP with financial support from Foreign Commonwealth and development office of United Kingdom, is through Find your Feet implementing Integrated Resilience Program (IRP).
Group village Chipole is among the nine group villages under Traditional Authority Mbera which has benefited commendably through integrated risk management and smallholder market support activities.
Group village Chipole says: "Over 50 thousand trees have survived since 2018, changing rainfall pattern, most gullies filled due to checkdam technology, farmlands on sloppy areas saved from being washed away following creation of swales leading to higher yield and improvement of dietary diversity following promotion of backyard gardens and preservation of food just to mention some."
Similar benefits are seen in neighboring Mangochi district following a visit to group village Kalanje where WFP partner Plan International with support from USAID Bureau for humanitarian assistance is implementing such resilience building activities.
38-year-old farmer, Lydia Ng'omba, of group village Kalanje says she is now able to harvest over 25 bags of maize each weighing 50kilograms from an acre she used to realize only 5 bags in 2016 before WFP brought the resilience building activities.
"Deep trenches, swales and regeneration of woodlots have assisted improve residual moisture and reduced runoff thereby improving harvest," says Ng'omba.
On education, WFP with partners like UNFPA, UNICEF and the Malawi government with financial support from the Government of Norway, is addressing multi-sectoral challenges affecting girls’ education through Joint program on girls’ project.
This is implemented in 169 schools in Dedza, Mangochi and Salima, with plans to scale up to additional 30 schools in Kasungu district.
Sungusya Primary School in Mangochi, according to its headteacher, Austin Nkhoma, has seen increased enrolment from 1, 050 in 2016 to 1, 665 in 2021, increased pass rate and reduction of drop out.
Nkhoma says: "The joint program on girls’ education has tackled poor quality of schooling, poor food and nutrition, inadequate protection against sexual and physical violence; thereby, retaining more learners in school."
While Covid 19 pandemic impacted negatively on some of these interventions, WFP intervened by supporting the vulnerable and provided logistical support towards response with support from several partners.
All these are being done in an effort to assist Malawi government achieve the sustainable development goals.