FDH Bank has invested K3 million in a project under the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology that will see 2019 Cyclone IDAI victims establish Mother Group Community Savings Groups to improve their well-being.
The Savings Groups will target Mother Groups whose school-going children were affected by Cyclone IDAI in Thyolo, Mulanje, Phalombe, Chiradzulu and Zomba districts.
FDH Bank Public Relations Officer Lorraine Lusinje said the fund will be distributed to 15 community groups and will aim to ensure the capital investment attracts tangible profits for the groups' self-sustenance.
She noted that lately Covid-19 has affected world economies, Malawi inclusive and a heavy burden is on localised small scale businesses where a daily hands-to-mouth lifestyle is confronted with potential buyers being home avoiding meeting COVID 19 in its track.
"Realizing the impact, FDH Bank has quickly come in to rescue small scale businesses of Mother Group Community Saving facilities with a capital boost. FDH Bank is committed to continuous growth and knowing that the 2019 Cyclone reversed some gains Malawi achieved in the recent past, supporting the recovery interventions is inevitable," said Lusinje.
According to the 2019 Post-Disaster Needs Assessment, Cyclone Idai affected 1,101, 364 people, displaced 230,000 and killed 106 people in Malawi and the impact was predominant in 13 districts of the Southern Region followed by 2 districts in the Central.
Lusinje said they decided to work with Mother Groups because among other roles, its members join efforts with other school structures to provide additional child protection measures including tracking learners absenteeism and supporting parents to address problems, reaching out to orphans and vulnerable learners with basic needs such as school materials and emotional support through guidance and counseling.
"Investing in child-centred, cost-effective and innovative interventions is a wise way of preparing the future we desire for disadvantaged youths of today and FDH Bank believes in that bright future," explained Lusinje.
She emphasized that the overall objective is to build resilience in cyclone affected school communities as they recover.
"Let us boost their local small scale businesses and motivate the Mother Groups to carry out monitoring visits and offering basic support to vulnerable children especially girls confined in homes during this on-going Covid -19 partial lock down," said Lusinje.
Receiving the contribution on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, Virginia Kachigunda, Deputy Director of the Department of School Health and Nutrition in the Ministry of Education welcomed the kind gesture from FDH Bank.
"The school-going learners are still suffering the cumulative impact of extreme weather events which have been increasing in frequency, magnitude and scope over the years and Covid-19 pandemic is rubbing salt into the wound," lamented Kachigunda.
According to Kachigunda, the Cyclone damaged 154 primary school blocks, 81 teachers' houses, 455 early Childhood Centres, 5500 desks, 67,347 textbooks, and 967 toilets in the 15 districts.
Kachigunda noted that if unchecked, vulnerable learners who have lost school-based safety nets in the partial lock-down, especially girls and learners with disabilities may be exposed to gender-based violence including sexual abuse, early marriages and pregnancies, HIV infections and consequently dropping out when schools open.
"We are is inviting other well-wishers to join education cluster partners including FDH Bank in supporting on-going resilience building and recovery activities in the sector.
"The interventions include retro-fixing of damaged school infrastructures, restoration of teaching and learning materials and provision of psycho-social support for affected teachers, learners and parents as they bounce back to normalcy whilst responding to Covid-19 pandemic," pleaded Kachigunda.