Mulanje — Plan International-Malawi has begun implementing a three-month Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC) Project worth K240 million in Mulanje, Machinga and Zomba to empower flood-affected households to be self-reliant through income-generating activities.
Speaking during a District Executive Committee (DEC) meeting in Mulanje recently, DEC Project Manager, Lawrence Maulidi said the project focuses on sanitation, child protection and livelihoods activities.
"We are targeting adolescent girls and boys, child or female headed households and other vulnerable groups that lost their livelihood due to Cyclone Idai which affected the southern part of the county in March this year (2019).
He said the project has a number of interventions that will be implemented.
"We are promoting the establishment of household vegetable gardens through the distribution of indigenous vegetable seeds and water-cans.
"We also plan to establish livestock pass-on clubs and increase access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) products to reduce health risks," he said.
Maulidi also disclosed that the three districts under the project (Mulanje, Machinga and Zomba) have been chosen because they have high numbers of affected and displaced people.
"If you can see from the figures, Mulanje had over 86 000 affected people, Machinga had a little over 128 000 and Zomba registered about 109 000.
"Through this project however, we plan to reach out to 26,460 households with WASH and child protection interventions and 5,000 households with livelihood activities," he said.
Maulidi said the project will not only respond to the Cyclone Idai effects but also build resilience of the affected communities in the event of another disaster.
"The DEC Project will also emphasize much on sustainability of activities in the targeted communities through thorough coordination with government officers and community members," he said.
Mulanje District Animal Health and Livestock Health Officer, Taulai Mbengo welcomed the development, saying it would uplift living standards of flood survivors.
She, however, advised Plan International-Malawi to follow government procedures when implementing the livestock pass-on program.
"This is a good development considering that many flood survivors are struggling to get back on their feet following resettlement.
"However, let me advise you to follow guidelines of the Department of Animal Health and Livestock when implementing the livestock pass-on programs," said Mbengo.
"Many organizations fail to make impact in communities because they give only one or two goats to a beneficially.
"Government does not only advocate for at least five goats per farmer, but also sets an example through its livestock pass-on program under Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) project," she added.