CATHOLIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION IN MALAWI (CADECOM)
DISASTER RISK REDUCTION
Based on CADECOM’s three year
Disaster Risk Reduction
January 2005 – December 2007
EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE OF MALAWI (ECM)
DISASTER RISK REDUCTION PROGRAMME–DRR INTERVENTION BEST
Name of Organisation Catholic Development Commission in
Names of Staff involved in Disaster Risk Carsterns .G. Mulume
Reduction Programme at the National Louis .A. Kawenda
Office Christopher A. Mabwera
Location of DRR Programme Activities 7 Dioceses of Blantyre, Chikwawa, Dedza,
Lilongwe, Mangochi, Mzuzu and Zomba
Development sectors involved in the DRR Food Security, Water and Sanitation,
Environmental Protection, Irrigation,
DRR Contact Person at the National Carsterns Mulume
Position National CADECOM Secretary
Address P.O. Box 30384, Lilongwe 3, Malawi
Telephone (265) 1 775 127/(265) 9 511183
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ITEM CONTENTS PAGE (S)
Introduction/Background Information 7
Part 1: Drought and Food Security Intervention Best Practises 5
in Arch Diocese of Blantyre
Part 2: HIV AND AIDS Intervention Best Practises in Mangochi 15
Part 3: Water and Sanitation Intervention Best Practises in 19
Chitseko Village in Mangochi Diocese
Part 4: Small Scale Irrigation and Sanitation Intervention Best 22
Practises in Mzuzu Diocese
Part 5: Summary/Conclusion 26
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS
AIDS Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
CADECOM Catholic Development Commission in Malawi
CLA Community Livelihoods Assessments
DRR Disaster Risk Reduction
ECM Episcopal Conference of Malawi
EPA Extension Planning Area
HAS Health Surveillance Assistants
HIV Human Immune Virus
NGO Non Governmental Organisation
PRA Participatory Rural Appraisal
SWOT Strength Weaknesses Opportunities Threat
TA Traditional Authority
VCT Voluntary Counselling and Testing
INTRODUCTION: BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Catholic Development Commission in Malawi – CADECOM, a developmental arm of
the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM), implemented a 3 year (2005 -2007)
Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Programme in 21 communities of Chikwawa, Blantyre,
Dedza, Mangochi, Mzuzu, Lilongwe and Zomba dioceses. The programe was
conceived after the 2002/03 food crisis that caught CADECOM unaware due to
inadequate capacity to deal with disasters. This posed a number of questions as to why
CADECOM was unable to read the Early Warning Signs despite being a National
Organisation implementing food Security Programmes in all the seven Catholic
dioceses in Malawi. The programme therefore aimed at improving the capacity of
CADECOM technical staff and targeted communities to understand, prepare, mitigate
and respond to disasters appropriately and proactively.
In Disaster Risk Reduction, the community members themselves analyze their
vulnerability situations, the potential hazards threatening their livelihoods and they
design their own programmes. It is from such a process that Risk Mitigation Plans are
drawn and CADECOM is there to provide guidance and some technical support to the
same, whilst communities implement the programmes. This is a total reversal of how
CADECOM used to work in Emergency related programmes where top down approach
was the order of the day, meaning that community members were being viewed as
recipients of programmes while CADECOM technical staff designed programmes for
The Catholic Church in Malawi is proud to see the impact of the DRR Programme in all
the seven dioceses. Many people targeted in the programme came forward to narrate
their best practices as far as disaster risk reduction programme is concerned. They
included the changes which have taken place in their lives, as individuals, families and
committees. In this manual the National CADECOM Office presents four DRR
intervention best practices from the Dioceses of Blantyre, Mangochi and Mzuzu to
illustrate what has been stated in the foregoing paragraph.
PART 1.0: DROUGHT AND FOOD SECURITY INTERVENTION BEST PRACTICES
IN THE ARCH-DIOCESE OF BLANTYRE
The drought and food security intervention best practices are being implemented in 14
villages in Traditional Authority (TA) Simon in Neno District which lies in the southern
region of Malawi. Neno is a low lying area with very hot weather which goes up to 40
degrees centigrade in the months of September to December. It is characterized by
little rains and a difficult rainfall pattern which is not very good for crop production. The
area is further characterized by dry spells. To the south of this area lies a big river
known as the Shire. The river has a very good source of water. Alas! this good river
with abundant water flows has a lot of Crocodiles which have been killing people who
come near its waters. Lives have been lost both of people and livestock that dare to
come near the river. It also accommodates lots of hippos which have ever been
destroying crops planted along the river. This has been another set back in promotion
of irrigation activities.
People in the area derive their livelihood through subsistence farming, selling of
charcoal and casual labour among others. However, the main problem in the area is
food insecurity at household level which is caused by drought conditions. Households
in the area are food insecure for almost 6 months in a year and the most critical months
are October- March. In Malawi the rainfall period is generally 4-5 months. The case
study area normally has drought for 2-3 months and it occurs mostly during the
vegetative production of crops which is the most critical period when water is required
In 2004 households in the area harvested maize in the month of April; however they
were food insecure by the month of October the same year, the food only lasted six
1.2 THE HUMAN FACE
Mr. Stewart Noloman of Gobede Village has six children and is 50 years old. The man
came in the area, Traditional Authority Simon, in 1975 from the boundary district of
Blantyre. Academically he went up to standard three and because of this low
education status he could not afford a white-collar job. Mr. Noloman says he came to
the area because his homeland in Blantyre was over populated, has less land,
expensive life and poor soil fertility made his life difficult. He narrated that he came to
Gobede Village in TA Simon because the area was rich with good soils, more land,
friendly people, no thefts and free charcoal burning activities.
Before CADECOM extension Services were introduced in the area, he used to do part
time farming and charcoal selling for his livelihood. Upon attending extension delivery
meetings, Mr. Noloman started serious farming in 2005 – 2006 seasons and was
elected Vice Chairman of all agricultural groups in the village. He was a model to many
villagers who did not take farming seriously. As a result many people emulated his way
of life. He followed all extension messages and started putting them into practice and
now he has a positive story to tell namely Stable Food Security Household. He has
lived in the area for 33 years.
In 2006 – 2007 Season Mr. Smart Noloman engaged himself into serious crop
diversification practices, which have positively assisted him. He planted maize, sweet
potato and cassava as an insurance practice to drought. He says maize needs more
rains while sweet potatoes and cassava need less rainfall. When rains are not enough
sweet potato and cassava will give him good yields, which he will in turn sell to buy
maize. Mr. Noloman planted several crops and rains were not good enough. With the
little rains Mr. Smart Nolomani had good yields of sweet potato which he then sold and
bought 30 bags of maize (1500kgs) which he then added to the maize field harvest of
15 bags (750kgs).
Mr. Smart Noloman (in cap) posing with members from his village showing his good
crop stand of maize.
In 2000 he harvested two bags, in 2002 harvested 10 bags while in 2003 he got 18
bags of 50kgs each. However, with CADECOM interventions he harvested 26 bags of
maize of 50 kgs each in 2005 -2006 season. In 2006 -2007 planting season he realized
Thus before CADECOM came into the area the man used to harvest food that only
lasted him 4 to 5 months. Since CADECOM intervention in the area his food lasts up to
the next harvest. This is an illustration of food security at household level. As a result
people from other villages come to him to do ganyu (piecework). He is also able to buy
other necessities which was not the case previously. His vulnerability level has
changed from worse to a positive living. Mr. Noloman and his family are now living a
better life. To illustrate this he has livestock, a bicycle which he had not before and is
able to send his children to school. He remembers the importance of practicing crop
diversification and taking farming as a career. He has plans to build a big house with
iron sheets and increase his herd of goats.
1.3 IMPACT OF INTERVENTION ON THE COMMUNITY
Mr. Noloman narrates some of the positive impacts on the community as below:
Peoples‟ harvests now last for almost a year which was not the case before
intervention. The harvests used to last for 2 – 3 months. This is due to growing of
drought tolerant crops which do well with little rains and crop diversification.
With the introduction of seed multiplication of cassava, sweet potato, Groundnuts
and Soya, the farmers are able to keep seed for themselves which was not the case
in the past.
With the proper extension delivery system, farmers‟ community groups are able to
collectively meet, plan, prioritise, share responsibilities, implement, monitor and
evaluate their activities which was not the case before CADECOM came in the area.
This has also improved planning at a community level.
People are able to meet because of introduction of farmers groups they also share
experiences and this makes extension delivery easy. Men and women are working
together in the field which was not the case before as more men were busy with
Charcoal burning activities.
Malnutrition cases have been reduced as many households have enough food to
Vulnerability levels have improved. At first, there was high emigration from the
villages in search for food elsewhere which is not the case now.
Prostitution levels have dropped as many women are ably supporting themselves
through agriculture activities.
CADECOM facilitated the development of clear strategies with the community in order
to achieve the set goals and plans. The following steps were followed upon agreement.
Step 1 – Conducted community sensitisation meetings in all concerned villages (all
Step 2 - Built and revamped community structures (in other villages) and farmer
Step 3- Conducted risk identification and problem hazard outline through.
Interviews with farmer groups.
Brainstorming sessions with leaders and community.
SWOT analysis and Role-plays.
Village history and reflections.
Case studies from relevant Ministries.
Mapping exercises for resources identification.
Modeling bio – resource flows which help on outlining relevant
agricultural extension systems in the area.
Use of PRA tools like Venn diagramme (Collaboration), Transect
walks, sorting and ranking etc.
Step 4 - Conducted Problem Identification Outline and Priority setting
Step 5 - Conducted Problem Tree and Objective Tree Outline
(Effects and problem solution intervention)
The communities were able to come up with their problems, their
root causes, effects of the problems and strategies to address the
Step 6- Conducted relief distribution to vulnerable households
Step 7 - Conducted resource mobilization
Step 8 - Conducted Joint stakeholder monitoring at all levels (CADECOM, Ministry
of Agriculture, Health, Forestry and Church leaders)
1.5 APPROPRIATENESS OF INTERVENTION TO THE CHALLENGES FACED IN
The intervention has been described as the best as it has achieved the desired
elements in the community‟s food stability.
The challenge of food insecurity in many households was there in the past
before the intervention now it is an issue of the past as most households are
The programme has also improved the household food levels through crop
Seed such as groundnuts and soya beans which were not available before the
intervention is now widely seen at many market places in the area.
1.6 COPING STRATEGIES AND THEIR EFFECTS
The most common coping strategies in the area have been the following
o Burning of charcoal for sale
o Doing piecework.
o Selling of household assets and livestock.
Effects of each coping strategy
Loss of trees leading to environmental degradation
Slow creation of rain shadows
Fertility losses through erosion.
Doing piece work
Loss of time to work in own land
Loss of human dignity
Less concentration in own programmes and plans.
Selling of household assets
Loss of household stability.
Get way to HIV and AIDS.
Deteriorates human dignity and self-integrity.
Children are not attended to
Creates immoral behavior
1.7 EARLY WARNING SIGNS AND SIGNALS
The above were identified by the community. However, after attending DRR training
the same community was able to document early warning signs and signals albeit non-
scientific as positive coping strategies.
Equally the documentation of the early waning signs and signals by the community was
seen as an important step towards mitigating risks.
Finally it was the understanding and vision of the community that when implementing
DRR programme.” You prepare well if you know your enemy”
DOCUMENTATION OF THE COMMUNITY’S EARLY WARNING SIGNS AND
There was a task force which comprised the elderly, local leaders and different
community committees to develop a set of Early Warning Signs and Signals as follows:
1. Clear sky and cold weather during the night
This means that rains may not come soon
2. Very hot night with calm and cloudy weather
This means rains are closer and people should be ready for land
3. During rainy season when frogs are seen coming out of the river
The river is likely to flood and people should relocate to uplands
4. When trees are sprouting
Good time for land preparations and agricultural activities
5. When the Owl cries at night
The village and the community should be alert of impending danger.
6. When grasshoppers produce sneezing sound
Rains are near and farmers should get prepared in their fields
7. When wheel wind occurs
Summer time is closer
8. Summer days characterized by heavy winds
Rains are far to come by
9. When you observe that ants are collecting food into their holes (Hiding place)
Rains are closer and garden preparation should be on course
10. When a lot of birds fly during cold days
Rains are likely to come
The Documentation of these EARLY SIGNS and SIGNALS has helped in producing
activity implementation plans within the community.
Use of the Early Signs and Signals has also resulted in most households planting with
Furthermore, many farmers are able to prepare their field for crop production and this
Timely weeding and crop management
Field activities are timely – There is timely implementation of field activities and most
farmers were able to prepare their field for crop production.
Diversification is timely done as each crop is advantaged to the first rains.
Harvesting time was almost at the same time which resulted in less community thefts of
Many people observed the early warning signs and signals hence planned their
activities well. Bumper harvests became a reality.
CADECOM has been the main actor and other actors include Ministry of Agriculture
and Food Security, Ministry of Health and Local leaders plus their communities.
The collaboration created a positive impact in the intervention as all the parties were
aware of what was happening in the area.
All were involved in planning and implementation, monitoring of activities and reviews
were jointly done.
1.9 SUSTAINABILITY OF THE INTERVENTION
Well-trained farmer groups now in place.
Seed banks are in place to store seed for the communities.
Village headmen are the core advisors in all interventions. Ministry of Agriculture
is the core holder of all food security interventions in all the villages.
The area has 18 stable farmer groups with a total of 1100 households of which
30% are female-headed.
The area received many resources for the success of the DRR programme namely 359
Mikologwe chickens, 1471 Cassava bundles, 800 kgs shelled groundnuts, 15 treadle
pumps, 500 kgs soya seed, 1271 Banana Suckles, 872 Fruit trees, 1 wind mill, 3
boreholes, 1 ware house (seed bank). The aspect of community revolving loan was
built in to ensure sustainability and ownership.
Note: The communities are the core agents of change while externals are core
facilitators – in the implementation of the programme.
PART 2.0: HIV AND AIDS INTERVENTION BEST PRACTICES IN THE DIOCESE
HIV and AIDS interventions have been taking place in Stambuli village reaching 86
households through the Disaster Risk Reduction Programme. Stambuli village is
situated in Katema parish in Mthiramanja EPA in Mangochi district. Stambuli has one
part a flat land and another part is hilly. 55% of the households live on the flat land
while 45% in the hilly area. All households in the village derive their livelihoods from
farming, doing small businesses and piece work.
People in the village are usually involved in initiation ceremonies, memorial functions,
early marriages and casual sexual relationship. Polygamy is prevalent in the area and
the village. The Stambuli community has been ignorant about HIV and AIDS and have
been unable to take up HIV and AIDS messages on board and mainstream them in
their day to day life. As a result, the prevalence is high in the area (12%). The high
prevalence of HIV and AIDS is retarding development work as more people are sick
and can not work effectively.
2.2 HUMAN FACE
Mr Yaileka Sumani is a village member of Stambuli. He is 45 years old. He went to
school up to standard eight of primary education. Sumani was born and raised in the
village. He narrates that before people in the village underwent an HIV/AIDS
mainstreaming training, people were busy but ignorantly involved in practices that
exposed them to the deadly disease. Practices he mentioned were polygamy, casual
sexual relationships, kuchotsa fumbi (cleansing ritual which involves sex between a
new widow and a man organised by elders) and fisi (organised sexual act for a newly
initiated girl or for a woman whose husband is unable to impregnate her) practices.
Sumani thanks CADECOM for bringing in the village interventions that have opened his
eyes before catching the virus (he is not
sick but has not gone for testing). 32 year
Sumanyeuli Maluwa has a different story to
tell. She remembers the early 90s when
she was a beautiful young girl and a man
came forward to propose marriage to her
to which she agreed. It did not take many
years before she started suffering from
different types of diseases. The husband
tried his best to look for medication for his
wife. The situation could not improve. The
husband pulled out of the marriage after 14
years of being together.
Reason? Frequent illnesses that
Sumanyeuli Maluwa could not bear him any child.
Sumanyeuli outside her house
As Sumanyeuli‟s situation deteriorated, the husband remarried in another village 7Km
from Stambuli. It was not rosy either for him because after sometime the second wife
also became a victim of frequent sickness until she succumbed to death. He is also not
well. Sumanyeuli is staying with her mother and step father who are both poor.
CADECOM targeted Sumanyeuli‟s household because of her condition. The household
participates in various types of activities such as crop production, livestock production,
and various types of training including food preparation, processing and utilisation for
good nutrition necessary for people living with HIV. CADECOM encouraged people on
home based care to go for voluntary counselling and testing (VCT). Sumanyeuli went
for the VCT service at Mangochi District Hospital and was found positive. She is
grateful to CADECOM because after testing positive she was advised to go for CD4
count which may lead her to access ARVs. She hopes to get better with the help of
ARVs. At the time of writing this story CADECOM was arranging with the Health
Surveillance Assistants (HAS) of the area to book an appointment with the District
Hospital for Sumanyeuli‟s CD4 count. If she accesses ARV therapy, her problems,
which include general body pains, body weakness, sores all over her legs and many
other strange illnesses, may be alleviated. Sumanyeuli found poultry keeping activity to
be easy and fast in giving results. She was able to participate because it is not labour
intensive and fast in producing results. She got 10 Black Australorp chickens which
supply her eggs, a vital food for her condition.
Asked what she feels about being dumped by a husband who used to love her; she
holds no grudges. “I think he did his best looking for medication for me hoping that I
would get better. It never happened. A good part of the time we spent together I was
not well. It reached a point where I could not do anything for him. I think he had to quit.”
She says with seriousness. She plans to continue living a positive life and adhering to
the medication. She also plans to continue her poultry farming career to enable her
access the eggs that are a good source of proteins for her sick body.
2.3 IMPACT OF INTERVENTION ON THE COMMUNITY
As noted in 2.1 above the DRR programme targeted 86 households in Stambuli village.
These received training including mainstreaming interventions that have had some
impacts felt by the community as follows.
a. Formation of one HIV and AIDS committee
b. More people abstaining from casual sex than they used to before
c. People able to identify within themselves the infected and affected
members of the community and involve them in their activities.
d. There is an increased number of people attending VCT services.
e. People are now free to talk about HIV and AIDS at different circles in the
community than before
f. People have taken the following as mainstreaming activities in the
i. Having kitchen gardens
ii. Including the infected and affected in seasonal seed distribution,
iii. Involving them on village development activities
The future plans of the village are to intensify the mainstreaming activities and establish
an orphan care programme.
Communities have taken the responsibility of identifying and registering HIV and
AIDS affected and infected households. Apart from Sumanyeuli, there are other
registered chronically ill people (on home based care) in Stambuli Village.
Surprisingly all of them are women.
Members talk freely about, dramatise and/or compose songs or drama on HIV
Form linkages with other stakeholders such as government health workers
2.5 APPROPRIATENESS OF INTERVENTION TO THE CHALLENGES FACED IN
The intervention was appropriate to Stambuli Village community as it was
ignorantly in a mess of behaviours that are risky to the HIV and AIDS pandemic.
Through its implementation, the intervention encouraged community
understanding of the pandemic and preventing as well as mitigating the impact
of the disease.
2.6 SUSTAINABILITY OF THE INTERVENTION
The intervention is sustainable because people are doing the mainstreaming
activities by themselves and freely talking about HIV and AIDS. Plans are
underway by the community to strengthen the groups formed and intensifying
activities that prevent and mitigate HIV and AIDS. Linkages have been made
with Ministry of Health so that the groups will continually be refered to the
ministry in the absence of the programme.
PART 3.0: WATER AND SANITATION INTERVENTION BEST PRACTICES IN
CHITSEKO VILLAGE IN THE DIOCESE OF MANGOCHI
The water and sanitation intervention is being done in Chitseko village in Ulongwe
parish targeting all households through the Disaster Risk Reduction Programme.
Chitseko village is in Ulongwe EPA, TA Kalembo in Balaka district.
The area is hilly and characterised by natural bushes. Soils are sandy loam with no
permanent rivers which dry out during some parts of the year due to low water table
regimes. Thus one of the challenges people face is water shortage. The water problem
leads to use of unsafe water by the community and hence prevalence of water borne
diseases in the village is quite high. Land degradation is also problem in the area due
to high rates of soil erosion. Land conservation practices are not common in the area
hence some people still plant on steep slopes. Contour ridging is not common either.
The weather is generally hot between August and November. Rainfall distribution is
irregular except for the past two years when the rains were favourable.
3.2 THE HUMAN FACE
Mr Brighton Chimasula has lived in Chitseko village for 13 years. He is a standard 8
achiever and secretary for both the DRR and the agriculture club in the village. He
narrates that in addition to food insecurity in the area, one major problem has been lack
of clean and safe water in the village just like other close by villages. People have been
drinking unsafe water from unprotected wells before boreholes were sunk in the
villages. Incidences of water borne diseases were high. In addition, the nearest health
centre is 9 km away and people walk long distances to get treatment when they get
sick. Unlike Chimasula, 39 year old Loveness Raphael sees the benefits of the
borehole beyond the latter. She used to travel about 4 km to fetch unsafe water from a
river. Now she travels 200 metres to draw water
from a borehole. This has created some time for
her to rest. To drive her point home, a mother of
7, Loveness narrates how her day runs. She
wakes up at 5.00 am and goes to work with her
husband in their garden up to around 9.00 am.
She has to look for relish, fetch water and
prepare lunch for her family and this takes her to
around 12.30 pm. After taking her lunch, she
can now rest from 2.00pm to 3.00pm and
resume her household chores that take her to
supper time between 6.30pm and 7.00pm. The
moment she finishes washing her dishes it is
already late for her to go to bed. The schedule is
tighter when it is a day to do her general washing. Before the borehole was sunk, it was
much tougher for her to find time to rest. Now she can afford an hour (or two at times)
because water source is just near by and a lot of time is saved. “It‟s like a dream! We
only pray that the borehole does not breakdown frequently like another one sunk some
kilometres from this village‟‟.
3.3 IMPACT OF INTERVENTION ON THE COMMUNITY
The sinking of the borehole in the village brought a big relief to the community because
people are no longer drinking from unprotected wells and the incidence of waterborne
diseases has gone down. The borehole has eased up the daily schedule of women
who used to spend a lot of time fetching water. Six months can elapse before a family
member suffers from water borne disease. Cleanliness has also been improved
because for Chitseko Village, it was not just a question of safe water but its availability
as well as (be it safe or not).
The community mobilised local construction materials like bricks, sand, quarry stone
and offered unskilled labour. They contributed cash to support the work and took part in
monitoring the drilling and post drilling activities. They were trained in community based
water point management so that they take proper care of the water point. There is a
committee in place responsible for maintenance and sanitation issues on the borehole.
Communities contribute a small amount of money per month for repairing of the
borehole when broken.
3.5 APPROPRIATENESS OF INTERVENTION TO CHALLENGES FACED IN THE
The intervention to drill a bore hole was very appropriate but inadequate because the
problem was big. So many households are using one borehole which might render it to
frequent breakdowns. And some people still walk long distances to the borehole to get
3.6 SUSTAINABILITY OF THE INTERVENTION
Trained community members who have been monitoring the borehole will continue to
do the same. In addition, they are raising funds to assist them in maintaining the
borehole once it breaks down.
PART 4.0: SMALL SCALE IRRIGATION AND SANITATION INTERVENTION
PRACTICES IN THE DIOCESE OF MZUZU
This best practice has been chosen from Chilijemalo village in Kasungu district where
the project is targeting 120 households. The area was targeted following a disaster
(hunger) that hit the entire Kasungu district in 2002/2003 farming period. Chilijemalo
village was hit hard by the disaster compared to other villages in the district.
People from Chilijemalo village derive their livelihoods through subsistence agriculture,
casual labour as well as engaging in small-scale businesses. The area receives
inadequate rainfall (110mm) in a year that negatively affects crop performance in the
fields. The village does not have a perennial water source to support winter cropping
activities but rather a wet land with bowls of water reservoirs. Furthermore, it
experiences high temperature during the dry season which in turn facilitates too much
evaporation of water from the bowls.
As stated above, the village was hit by hunger in 2002/2003 growing period due to
erratic rains. Following this , many households sold their assets, some members of the
household members migrated to other areas to search for food and farming activities
were affected, as labour required to be put into use at household level to produce food
was being sold off or exchanged with food. Some NGOs and government intervened
with relief items distribution. When the intervention was over, there was a question on
how the community would be resilient to any forthcoming disasters in future so that the
extent of damage is reduced to insignificant levels. DRR programme was born and
somewhat saved the situation as narrated in Gilbert‟s story here below:
4.2 THE HUMAN FACE
„‟My name is Gilbert Mavuka, a member of the community. I was born in 1968 and have
been in this village up to now. I have one wife and five children and I come from
Chilijemalo village. I am a junior certificate holder. I have participated in DRR project for
about two years. Before, I only grew maize in the highland areas and depended on
rainfall for my crops. In 2003, I was disappointed when the whole village was hit by
erratic rainfall that caused hunger in many households including mine. Fortunately,
within the same year, some NGOs distributed relief food to us. However, when the
assistance ended, we were very worried with our future. However, CADECOM initiated
DRR programme. We talked of ways of dealing with our problems. When we realized
the cause of the problem, we started coming up with a plan. We started with a small-
scale irrigation project, which gave us two crops per year instead of just one.
Now this year, with irrigation, I have planted 0.5 hectare of land and I expect to produce
a good number of bags of maize, more than three times what I was able to produce
before. I also received two goats from the project. This will increase resilience to any
shocks that may come in future besides providing manure for my garden.
Through DRR, I learned to plant one seed per planting station and how to make
compost manure. This has made my land fertile and more productive.
I plan to have 20 heaps of compost manure for next season and I will continue
practicing what DRR has imparted in me. DRR has also helped me to grow more than
just maize. I now grow vegetables and I have a woodlot that has fruit trees as well.
Cassava and sweet potato seed will never be a problem since DRR has taught us how
to multiply them on our own. In my house, we are able to eat three meals per day
instead of just one or two times‟‟.
4.3 IMPACT OF INTERVENTION ON THE COMMUNITY
External support: Before DRR, the area was abandoned by the government
agriculture office to the point that no officer was visiting the community to
provide technical advice on agricultural issues. When DRR came in, it
strengthened collaboration and networking between the project staff, the
beneficiaries and other stakeholders such as ministry of agriculture. Now the
community is able to request assistance from other stakeholders.
Livelihoods of Chilijemalo village members have diversified to include small live
stocks like goats that the project provided. This is reducing dependence on crop
production only. Further to this, crop production is eased because people are
using manure from goat khola.
Change of mindset from dependency on rain-fed agriculture to irrigation is
contributing to improved crop production (communities now are able to harvest
twice and/or thrice within one growing season and grow vegetables to
supplement income and diet).
Through community livelihood assessments process, communities can stand on
their own and strategize to reduce risks.
Promotion of crop diversification has reduced dependency on maize (Malawi‟s
staple food) to other drought resistant crops like cassava and sweet potatoes
and other leaf vegetables that the project provided initially. This time, the
communities are able to multiply the initial seed on their own with technical
assistance from the Development Facilitators.
Pass on process: The groups in Kasungu district are able to benefit from the
livestock that they are rearing. They are growing vegetables and use manure
from the khola to improve soil fertility. They are planning to share goat kids
among the participating households as a way of making sure that each
participating household has livestock.
Sanitation: DRR has facilitated the construction of 35 toilets in the village and
hence introduced the usage of toilets, which was not common before. This has
improved household sanitation where waterborne diseases have also reduced.
Adoption of technologies: households not targeted have started adopting
technologies introduced by DRR. Examples of adopted technologies are manure
making and usage, improved livestock khola construction and improved winter
The core foundation to this project development rests on conducting Community
Livelihood Assessments (CLA) highlighting resource and risk maps in the locality.
Community Livelihood Assessment assist communities to take stock of resources
present in their areas with potential. These resources are then utilized sustainably to
improve the lives of the community members. Such resources include land, perennial
rivers or streams, availability of institutional capacity support to specific projects (e.g.
technical expertise in small stocks) e.t.c
The unique aspect of taking people through a process of community livelihood
assessment is that not only do the communities own the project but also it empowers
them to contribute to formulation of strategies to make a difference.
4.5 APPROPRIATENESS OF INTERVENTION TO THE CHALLENGES FACED IN
The community had a vision of seeing itself being hunger/disease free and resilient to
any disaster that may come in the near future. The interventions undertaken have
positively contributed to food security, sanitation and have provided shock absorbers
that will reduce the impact of future disasters.
4.6 COPING STRATEGIES
Households in Chilijemalo apply different types of coping strategies that affect their
livelihoods differently as well. In times of need, they engage in winter cropping, small-
scale businesses, and sell of household assets such as livestock, casual labour and
reducing meal consumption.
Winter cropping brings food to those who are hard working and small scale businesses
brings income that is used to buy food for the household. These two practices
encourage the spirit of self-reliance. However, sale of household assets, casual labour
and reduced meal consumption negatively affect them. For instance, selling of assets
depletes the economic strength of household. Household food production is reduced
when members who provide labour are engaged in casual labour since they do not
work in their gardens. Reduced meal intake causes malnutrition and lowers the
households‟ participation in development work.
As stated already, ministry of agriculture officers do provide technical advice to the
beneficiaries in addition to what CADECOM staff provide such as training the
beneficiaries on improved agricultural practices.
4.7 PROJECT SUSTAINABILITY
The unique design and strategy of DRR programme will help to ensure the
sustainability of the project after support from the project ceases.
Community members participate fully in the Community Livelihoods Assessment, the
Community Action Planning, and the design and implementation of the project
activities. Training and technical support provided to the programme throughout the
project ensures that the knowledge, skills and abilities promoted by the project rest with
the community members themselves, and that decision-making and leadership is
driven and owned by the communities served.
In addition to strong emphasis on community-based decision-making, programme staff
work in close collaboration with government services, especially agriculture extension
agents, in order to establish and/or reinforce connections between these services and
the communities so that when the project exits, the community will be accustomed and
comfortable with seeking assistance and advice from local government extension
officers which is permanent.
CADECOM would like to thank her cooperating partner, Cordaid and Trocaire for
cofounding this important document. Our communities have been empowered and now
are able to identify risks in their areas, design programs and implement and monitor
We would like to thank all CADECOM staff both at the national and diocesan level for
their high level of dedication in facilitating this community managed disaster risk
reduction program that has led to these best practices.