Reaching more in Malawi
In October we started an exciting new three year project to support more rural communities in northern Malawi.
Malawi has one of the highest poverty levels in Africa. Although 80% of the population rely on agriculture for food, poor harvests mean many farmers suffer from chronic hunger. There are very few employment opportunities in rural Malawi and it's impossible to build a healthy, happy future for yourself and your children when you don't know when you're next proper meal will be.
Ensuring these families can feed themselves all year round is our new project's first priority and we will use our tried and tested Lead Farmer approach to do this. Each village choses a 'Lead Farmer', someone who they feel is succeeding on their land and will be a good teacher, and then Find Your Feet provide training to the Lead Farmer in sustainable agriculture techniques such as water harvesting, compost making and crop diversification. In return they share what they've learned with a further 20 Follower Farmers.
Lead Farmers and the Follower Farmers also work together to find solutions to their farming problems and share innovative new techniques with the wider community. This creates a ripple effect which means as many people as possible learn how to feed their families using affordable, sustainable methods.
But growing enough food is only the start. We'll also be helping families earn an income from their farming by building a processing unit to make crops into products that can be sold at local markets, as well as helping people set up small farm-based businesses. The extra income can support children's education and provides families with a safety net for emergencies, helping break the cycle of poverty.
We want our project to be sustainable when it ends in 2018, so we'll be working with communities to give them the skills and confidence to expand on their achievements when it does. To do this we will support people to discuss the problems they face as a community, create a shared development plan that meets their needs and work together to make their vision a reality.
We'll let you know how our Lead Farmers and Follower Farmers get on!