New Partnerships Reduce Hunger in Southern Malawi
Posted by Cristen Harper on March 26, 2021

This February, HHI was given the opportunity to partner with the Rise Up Malawi organization in the Makawa Village of the Mangochi District. The area is very hot with limited rainfall, and most farmers have minimal farming areas due to the high rent price for land within the region. It was in Makawa that HHI Trainer Mbwenu Chirwa taught 33 individuals how to compost, construct raised planting beds, and utilize drip irrigation systems. Among the trainees were chiefs and area agriculture extension workers.

The attendees were eager to learn with lots of questions. Trainer Mbwenu visited several of their maize fields and offered advice on how to combat fall armyworms in their crops. He encouraged the use of composting to add nutrients and conserve water while simultaneously decreasing pests and diseases. During the second day of training, the group was excited to make raised planting beds and install drip irrigation systems. Mustard spinach seedlings were planted and three raised beds were completed. Everyone was amazed to see how simple and efficient the system is for saving water. Listen to some of their testimonies!

Mirriam Kamwendo, mother of four, was very active and worked hard to install the drip lines and put together the raised beds. She said, “I don’t have a large land area, but we have learned to use what we have. I will start preparing my garden tomorrow. I have suffered a lot finding and buying vegetables to feed my family.”

Mphatso Gasa said, “This system saves time and water. Instead of using 150 liters of water on a 15 meter bed for one-time watering, I will need only 20 liters of water twice a day. I will no longer worry about the water bills and being on time for work. I feel blessed to attend this agriculture workshop.”

Matchipisa Masache could not believe the training was so simple, yet so effective. She said, “I have a water pump that I use to water my garden, but buying gasoline makes it expensive to operate. The drip irrigation system will reduce my expenses, and I will need less water. We have a lot of green grass, shrubs and maize stalks. We thought they were useless. Now we will put them to use in composting and mulching.”

Emma Mpichi, the agriculture extension worker for the area, appreciated the training and promised to work with those who attended the training. Emma shared, “I will be visiting with each one of you to see what you are doing, but I will be the first to make my garden. I have learned a lot. I am glad that I was invited to this life-changing training. I will teach others who were unable to be here, and I urge each one of you to do the same to your neighbors.”

HHI Trainer Mbwenu and the rest of the HHI team is grateful to Rise Up Malawi for joining the hunger fighting team. Local Rise Up Malawi Director, Hudson Mwale, appreciated the partnership with HHI, as well, to train the farmers. Hudson commented, “This was my first time to learn how drip irrigation works. It is always good to learn new things to help change one’s life for the better. Thank you Chirwa for sharing your time and imparting your knowledge to us here in Magochi District. Extend our thanks to the HHI for the good work they do in Malawi.”

In addition to Healing Hands and Rise Up Malawi, other partners involved in the workshop included drip kits from Chapin Living Waters, seeds from Hope Seeds, Inc., and shipping by the Malawi Project.