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Changing Lives Thanks To Uk Funded Prosper

Local communities are prospering thanks to the four-year UK government funded Promoting Sustainable Partnerships for Empowered Resilience (PROSPER) programme that aims to build capacity to adapt and cope to effects of climate change. This has led to improved food and nutritional security in the long term as a coping strategy.

PROSPER seeks to support vulnerable people in four targeted districts of Balaka, Chikwawa, Phalombe and Mangochi to improve the community’s ability to adapt to climate change, access to finance and improved markets and livelihoods.

At the heart of promotion by the programme are interventions such as watershed management, farmer field schools, use of PICS bags to curb post – harvest losses, climate smart agriculture, livestock pass on, manure production including village saving and loans.

One beneficiary Asione Jafali from Sapa Village, T/A Kalembo in Balaka said the PROSPER programme has greatly changed her family’s fortunes.

“I have really benefitted and as a small – scale farming family. We are now able to benefit from our sweat as our agriculture production has tremendously improved,” explained Jafali to the crew of visiting journalists.

She added that after being familiarised to the programme, she was able to borrow money from Concern Universal Microfinance (CUMO); a local implementing partner. She said she had been gradually borrowing money from K30, 000 until now when she is servicing a K600,000.00 loan.

“With the loan, we managed to buy a motorized irrigation pump so that we scale up our farming area where we grow vegetables. I am happy to say that now our tomato business has indeed improved as expected,” a happily looking Jafali narrated his story.

Jafali disclosed that on a good day, they would fetch K300, 000.00 from a single trip of a 3-tonne vehicle.

“I have really benefitted and as a small – scale farming family. We are now able to benefit from our sweat as our agriculture production has tremendously improved,” explained Jafali to the crew of visiting journalists.

Another farmer is Florence Asani from Milambe Village Traditional Authority Amidu in the same district who also expressed gratitude through her Tikondane Village Savings and Loans (VSL) group, she has managed to construct a decent house.

She said apart from the VSL aspect, facilitators under PROSPER programme also provides them with entrepreneurial and business management skills.

Pearson Hussein, another beneficiary from Mwachande Village Traditional Authority Mponda in Mangochi; the knowledge of watershed management which they have gained through has enabled them to start harvesting promising yields from their gardens.

Through the use land conservation approaches to slow down erosion and the washing away of crops by running water, the community constructed deep trench and swales which are containing the run-off water.

Farmers have dug trenches to trap water and prevent run-off in Balaka district. Photo: Precious Msosa, AEJ

“In the end, this helps us harvest something at an area where previously we couldn’t harvest,” he summed said.

Communities are hopeful that the knowledge acquired will help them to adapt to the negative effects of climate change, one of the greatest challenges for humanity in this age.

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Precious Msosa

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