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CATHOLIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION IN MALAWI (CADECOM) Empowering communities DISASTER RISK REDUCTION (DRR) INTERVENTION BEST PRACTICES Based on CADECOM’s three year Disaster Risk Reduction Programme January 2005 – December 2007 EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE OF MALAWI (ECM) DISASTER RISK REDUCTION PROGRAMME–DRR INTERVENTION BEST PRACTICES Name of Organisation Catholic Development Commission in Malawi -CADECOM 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, Programme Environmental Protection, Irrigation, Livestock, Infrastructure DRR Contact Person at the National Carsterns Mulume Office Position National CADECOM Secretary Address P.O. Box 30384, Lilongwe 3, Malawi Email firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com 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 Diocese 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 them. 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 1.1 CONTEXT 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 most. 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 months. 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 45 bags. 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 eat. 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. 1.4 STRATEGY: 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 sectors collaborated) Step 2 - Built and revamped community structures (in other villages) and farmer groups. 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 identified problems. 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 COMMUNITIES 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 food secure. The programme has also improved the household food levels through crop diversification. 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. o Prostitution o Migration. Effects of each coping strategy Charcoal Burning 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 Poverty Retards development Loss of household stability. Prostitution Get way to HIV and AIDS. Deteriorates human dignity and self-integrity. Migration Children are not attended to Creates immoral behavior Theft increases. 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 SIGNALS 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 preparations 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 early rains. Furthermore, many farmers are able to prepare their field for crop production and this results in: Early planting Timely weeding and crop management Bumper harvests. Direct Impact 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 the harvests Many people observed the early warning signs and signals hence planned their activities well. Bumper harvests became a reality. 1.8 ACTORS 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 OF MANGOCHI 2.1 CONTEXT 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 village: i. Having kitchen gardens ii. Including the infected and affected in seasonal seed distribution, and 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. 2.4 STRATEGY 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 and AIDS Form linkages with other stakeholders such as government health workers 2.5 APPROPRIATENESS OF INTERVENTION TO THE CHALLENGES FACED IN THE COMMUNITY 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 3.1 CONTEXT 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). 3.4 STRATEGY 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 COMMUNITY 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 safe water. 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 BEST PRACTICES IN THE DIOCESE OF MZUZU 4.1 CONTEXT 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 Gilbert’s story: „‟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 cropping methodologies. 4.4 STRATEGY 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 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. 4.8 CONCLUSION 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 them effectively. 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.
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