Positive change in a challenging environment – Mwachedwa Village

Nsanje is a district in the southern most part of Malawi. The shire river runs most of the district’s eastern boundary. It is one  the poorest district in Malawi and its major income comes from small holder maize farming. The crops depend entirely on rain fed agriculture.

It is against this back ground that the people of Mwachedwa village, Traditional Authority Mbenje in the district have embarked on irrigation farming to make positive change in their lives by utilizing the waters (available resource) from the Shire river.

Irrigation at Zwaki

Irrigation at Zwaki

According to local chief Mwachedwa, the community has only two treadle pumps against almost 500 households. “These pumps were given to us by the government. We use them in groups but they are not enough, we are many. But still we manage to plant maize two times a year. If we had enough pumps, we can manage to plant at least three to four times a year thereby fighting hunger” said chief Mwachedwa.

Mercy being taught how to use a treadle pump

Mercy being taught how to use a treadle pump

Water channels diverted from the Shire river

Water channels diverted from the Shire river for irrigation

“We are fed up of begging. We are fed up of having our children malnourished, we have the land, the water, the energy, why should we not feed our children and ourselves? Next time you come, we promise you, you are going to see a difference” narrated Gogo Nachilongo

Mercy listening to the community leaders as the narrate their stoty

Mercy listening to the community leaders as they narrate their story

When it is their turn to use the treadle pump, the families abandon their homes and make the fields their home. This is to make sure that they maximize the chance because the two pumps rotate among the members and takes time to come back to the same group.

One of the shelters in the field

One of the sleeping shelters

“This place has a lot of mosquitoes, therefore we make sure we bring our sleeping nets with us. Especially, with our young ones, we want them to sleep under a mosquito net always” said one of the mothers

Babies in the field

Babies in the field

A man irrigating using the pump

A man irrigating using the pump

In as much as most of the fields are green, other parts are dry and the maize was dying because the pump is taking long to reach this group and the owners use buckets for irrigation.

The other part of the fields

The other part of the fields

Zero tolerance to hunger, zero tolerance to malnutrition!

 

By Mercy Chikhosi Nyirongo

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About wandikweza

We are a team of nurses, midwives and a public health practitioners working in limited resource settings
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