Written by Chinsinsi Cheketa:
Residents in Nkhotakota say they are experiencing improved economic conditions, thanks to various development projects funded by the Foundation for Community and Capacity Development (FOCCAD).
Under a nine-month pre-pilot Facilitated Community Action Programme (FCAP), FOCCAD, in collaboration with Spark MicroGrants, allocated MK99 million for the implementation of diverse community projects.
Villages such as Bamba 2, Bweya, Nyemba situated under Traditional Authorities (T/As) Mwadzama and Malengachanzi, were given the opportunity to identify projects that would address challenges faced by the communities.
During a recent visit to the villages, where projects such as soap manufacturing, dairy cattle farming, and layer chicken farming are underway, it was evident that some communities are already reaping the benefits of these initiatives.
Village Head (VH) Simba 3 of Senior Chief Malengachanzi, whose village was given MK10 million to start chicken layer farming expressed optimism about the economic future of his subjects.
VH Simba 3 stated, “We have already started making money from our farming, and the chickens are also providing us with manure that we will use in farms, reducing our reliance on expensive fertilizers in return”.
In Malasa village under the same T/A, which also received MK10 million, James Michael Chimsalazu, Malasa Mduka FCAP Committee Secretary, explained that they utilized the funds to construct a Junior Primary School.
“This decision aimed to reduce the long distances our children travel to access primary education in other areas, which will contribute to improved attendance and academic performance” said Chimsalazu.
Chimsalazu revealed that their vision is to see the school expand into a full primary institution in near future.
Other villages have ventured into soap manufacturing, drilled boreholes and established maize mills and they are using the profits to support various initiatives, including charitable activities.
FOCCAD Executive Director Dan Nthara expressed his excitement about the project’s progress and announced that it would now enter a pilot phase, targeting 24 villages across the district.
“Now that the pre-pilot phase has been a success, we will soon start implementing the pilot phase targeting 24 villages. We are currently in the process of selecting the other villages with support from responsible authorities” said Nthara.
He also mentioned plans to collaborate with the Malawi Bureau of Standards (MBS) on certifying the products of villages involved in soap manufacturing after the trial phase.
Meanwhile, Nkhotakota Central legislator Peter Mazizi commended FOCCAD for its ongoing efforts in assisting various sectors in the district, aligning with the aspirations of Malawi2063 vision.
In the pre-pilot phase of the project, each village received a non-refundable grant ranging from MK5 million to MK10 million after successfully submitting their project proposal.