A land flowing with water and, soon, honey!

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The work of KINDLE Orphan Outreach is supported by SIM Malawi project MW96758 Outreach and Development in Nanjoka            

In this, the fourth of five artcle, we see how food security, care of orphans, afforestation and financial help are important areas of work dealt with by KINDLE Orphan Outreach under its ‘Community Development’ heading. The evidence is showing that this work is having a significant beneficial effect within its catchment area

A grove of acacia trees rustling in a gentle breeze, an area of cultivated land with crops at different stages of development, a warehouse packed with bags of maize ready for the growers to use or sell; these are just some of the images in and around Nanjoka which show that KINDLE’s work in Community Development is having a significant effect.

Community Development and Community Empowerment are, according to KINDLE’s Director Joseph Kandiyesa, in the organisation’s DNA. The focus of KINDLE is that children should be looked after within their own communities, so the development and empowerment of those communities is vital.

One significant area of work is to do with children. Yohanne Chisale, Food Security Officer for KINDLE (above), explained about a scheme known as Kolezani and how it operates.

“Kolezani is a Chichewa word but in English it is like ‘kindling the fire’,” he said.

“We work with those families who are taking care of orphans and we are saying “Kolezani”, because we are there just to boost up their resources.

“The main target, or the man aim, of Kolezani is to make sure that orphans should not feel that they are lacking this or that because they do not have a father or a mother. They should be able to live as equals with those who have both parents.”

The impact of Kolezani can be seen not just in Community Development but also in the Education, Health and Spiritual Development aspects of KINDLE’s work. It is at its very heart and is a vital aspect of its existence.

But it is not just Kolezani that is helping the children. Other aspects of KINDLE’s Community Development work are having, or will have, a significant impact on their lives. Take the area of afforestation for example.

In the final article to be published in the next issue of Malawi Amoto, we will look more closely at the work of KINDLE in Spiritual Development

Over the last few years a significant number of, often, mature trees have been cut down in and around the Nanjoka area by people needing firewood. KINDLE, working with the Malawi Government, is looking at ways of reversing this trend. The answer has been planting acacia trees.

Why acacia trees? They come to maturity within five years of planting, the wood is good for building and fire wood, and the blossoms are very attractive to bees; acacia honey is a speciality of the area, and could be another source of income in the future.

The village of Elias near Salima is a good example of how this is working. The village decided to get involved with the afforestation project, which was also a competition. The aim was not to see how many trees could be planted, but how many would survive. Elias had a success rate of around 85 per cent of first-year planting surviving. But the village did not stop there. In the areas where trees failed, a second crop has been planted and is starting to flourish.

“We were happy to get involved with this project with KINDLE, not just for the village now, but also for the future of our children,” said Lodes Betife (left), Chairlady of Elias Village.

“These trees will be useful for building, but they will also be useful, in a few years’ time, for the production of acacia honey. We are intending to build bee hives within the area we have planted, and we hope to have honey which we will be able to sell when the trees come to maturity.”

Making a little go a long way is another way in which KINDLE is helping people in its catchment area. One of the training schemes with which Yohanne has been involved concerns the use of maize seeds, goat manure and chemical fertiliser. By adding the manure to the fertiliser, people have starting to see increased yields on their maize crops.

One such person is Faress Sampson. A few years ago, she was scratching out a living by piece work as a labourer on other people’s ‘farms’. She attended a training event with KINDLE and found out about increasing crop yields.

Good harvest: Faress Sampson sitting on some of the bags of maize she has stored in the KINDLE secure food store

I started using the manure and fertiliser mixture and saw that the next year the amount of maize I grew was much more than the year before,” she said.

“I had enough maize to feed my family and had a few bags left over which I could use or sell. Last year I did the same again and the harvest was even greater. I had enough to feed the family and have 20, 50kg bags of maize over, which are being held in KINDLE’s secure warehouse.”

Additionally, KINDLE is having an impact in the area of irrigation farming. For many years KINDLE has been helping farmers to access treadle pumps which have helped them to draw water and irrigate their crops. This has meant that more than one crop of maize, and other vegetables, can be produced in a year. This, in turn, means that these farmers have enough to feed their families and an excess which can be sold to earn money for school fees and uniforms for their children, ensuring they have better prospects.

But now things have moved forward several paces. Working with other NGOs, KINDLE is helping farming   co-operatives to have access to solar pumps which are more efficient and also allow greater areas to be cultivated.

One such area is Namanda. Here, the Namanda Horticultural and Food Co-operative has been able to install two large solar pumps which it uses for members to water a large area of land. What is striking about this is that in the same area maize plants, for example, can be seen at various stages of development from seedlings to fully mature plants ready to harvest. This means that the members can harvest crops all year round.

These are just a few of the examples of how KINDLE’s Community Development work is having a significant impact of the lives of the people in its catchment area. But laurels are certainly not being rested on!

Food security: Maize at different stages of development at the Namanda Horticultural and Food Co-operative

Good as the results of the work have been so far, more is expected in the future, as Yohanne explained.

“I hope things will continue to develop because, now, people are concentrating on, and understanding, the concept of sustainable development,” he said.

“Our aim is to open the minds of the people. They need to see their problems but also that they have access to the solutions, so they can overcome these problems on their own. If they just rely on an organisation, they may suffer if the organisation pulls out.

“But if they do things on their own, they can continue. We want people to be self-sufficient, to see how they can develop their community, their family and their own lives, and have the confidence to do this in the future.”

 

 


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