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A recent Livelihoods Sector Workshop in Malawi discussed critical issues for successful interventions. Read the blog by Andrea Cortemiglia, Misean Cara’s Southern Africa Development Mentor.

 


Empowering Small-Scale Farmers in Malawi

Misean Cara members involved in much-needed livelihoods promotion for poor and marginalised communities in Malawi attended a Livelihoods Sector Workshop at the Catholic Secretariat of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi in the capital city of Lilongwe on 28th August 2018.

L-R: Julius Mwandira (CADECOM Mzuzu Diocese), Mercy Chirambo (CADECOM National Office), Wanangwa Msowoya (CADECOM Mzuzu Diocese), Marian Kearney (VMM), Andrea Cortemiglia (Misean Cara), Dr. Steve Makungwa (JCED), Harry Makawa (Sitima Parish), Fr. Adrian Makasa Chikwamo (JCED).

L-R: Julius Mwandira (CADECOM Mzuzu Diocese), Mercy Chirambo (CADECOM National Office), Wanangwa Msowoya (CADECOM Mzuzu Diocese), Marian Kearney (VMM), Andrea Cortemiglia (Misean Cara), Dr. Steve Makungwa (JCED), Harry Makawa (Sitima Parish), Fr. Adrian Makasa Chikwamo (JCED).

The workshop was co-facilitated by Misean Cara and Mercy Chirambo, Livelihoods Programme Coordinator at the Catholic Development Commission (CADECOM), the relief and developmental arm of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi and member of Caritas Internationalis.

The workshop was structured in two parts: a morning session dedicated to presentations, discussions and brainstorming, followed by an afternoon field visit to a successful livelihood projects in the rural outskirts of Lilongwe.

The members who attended the meeting focus on empowering small-scale farmers living in some of the most marginalised and vulnerable areas of Malawi to improve agricultural productivity, promote food security and build resilience to climate change.

Examples of these projects include:

  • A solar-powered irrigation system in the Parish of Sitima, Southern Malawi established by VMM International to overcome deficiencies in rainfall for growing crops.
  • Ecological programmes developed by the Jesuit Centre for Ecology and Development (JCED) on conservation farming, afforestation, and the use of energy-efficient stoves in the District of Kasungu, Central Malawi.
  • Promoting afforestation, soil-water conservation, and sustainable management of land and forest resources in the District of Mzuzu, Northern Malawi. This project is a partnership between St. Patrick’s Missionary Society (Kiltegans) and the CADECOM-Mzuzu Diocese.

The workshop helped to create a platform for peer learning, networking and sharing of best practice with emphasis on human rights approach, missionary values and effective development solutions.

Rural dwellings on the western outskirts of the capital city Lilongwe where the field visit took place.

Rural dwellings on the western outskirts of the capital city Lilongwe where the field visit took place.

As a Misean Cara Development Mentor I was also able to meet one-to-one with attendees at the workshop to share in-depth thoughts on their livelihoods projects, and ideas in the pipeline.

There are four Misean Cara Development Mentors, covering different regions (West Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean) and together we provide in-country support to project teams along the full project cycle.

Dr. Steve Makungwa, Programme Director, JCED with Fr. Adrian Makasa Chikwamo, Centre Director, JCED.

Dr. Steve Makungwa, Programme Director, JCED with Fr. Adrian Makasa Chikwamo, Centre Director, JCED.

The workshop and one-to-one sessions improved knowledge on how to promote food and income security for vulnerable beneficiaries and contributed to system strengthening (achieving results); how to address sustainability challenges (sustaining results); and how to be accountable (demonstrating results).

Moreover, the workshop helped Misean Cara gain greater insight into how best to interact and support members in Malawi, taking into account the resource-constrained context in which they work.

I would like to thank the attendees for their active participation and insightful presentations, and the CADECOM National Office for their valuable support in the organisation and co-facilitation of this event.

Photo caption: Misean Cara Development Mentor for Southern Africa, Andrea Cortemiglia meets a group of women smallholders from rural villages on the western outskirts of the capital city Lilongwe.