Sunday, July 14, 2013

Likuni Irrigation underway!

On Friday we began the irrigation training process at NAPHAM's new site at Likuni in Lilongwe. The irrigation club was well prepared for us, having dug a new well and cleared the first section of their field.

First, we went through the initial set up of the pump, a maintenance overview, and how to use it.

Then we began digging the first feeder canal which will carry water to the beds where maize, tomatoes, and onions will be planted. In this training, there is no main canal, so water is fed directly into the feeder canal. As the garden expands, water will first enter a main canal, flowing laterally across the top of the garden, from where it will be diverted into feeders, and finally beds or basins.

For the next two days (Saturday and Monday) we will return to help them finish the digging of beds and to oversee the planting of maize. Within two weeks we expect to see maize emerging in the field and tomatoes and onions coming up in a nursery. At that point we will need to expand the garden to accommodate the tomatoes and onions.

New Irrigation Sites with World Relief

World Relief, whose mission is to empower local churches to serve the most vulnerable, works with 30 church communities in Salima District, Malawi. In January we began training Ministry Team members in irrigation techniques at Siyasiya, Salima.

Later this month we will take the trainings to a new site. We are particularly excited for this phase of the project for a number of reasons. First, the new site is remote, which means the people are good farmers, excited to work with townsfolk like us, and rich in resources. The second exciting thing is just how rich in resources: we will be using spring water for the irrigation training.

As you can see in the above picture, that borehole flows without pumping! The means that many farmers don't need water pumps and other farmers can irrigate their gardens higher elevations.

We will begin later this month, working with the World Relief field coordinator to establish a resource management plan for the springs alongside irrigation and fish farming activities.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

New Irrigation Sites with NAPHAM

The National Association for People living with HIV and AIDS in Malawi (NAPHAM) is an organization established in Malawi to look into the needs of people affected by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). NAPHAM engage in advocacy campaigns, testing and counseling, education, and livelihood development. With over 1,000 support groups throughout the country, they reach out to tens of thousands of people to support their efforts to live positively even with the reality of HIV and AIDS in their communities and families.

Africa Windmill Project began training members of the Nathenje support group under a NAPHAM project aimed at developing nutritious and income-generating gardens. With such a great potential to improve the well being of their members, NAPHAM has decided to send the project into another community. This is the second phase of a long process of bringing irrigation training to thousands of their members across the country, people who generally struggle with insufficient nutrition.

At the Likuni support group outside Lilongwe, we saw relatively good irrigation activities already taking place. Using watering cans, most farmers are growing small plots of tomatoes and greens. It is our hope that with better water pumps and training, these farmers will be able to scale up to larger fields and diversify their crops.

AWP will return on Friday the 12th of July to begin the training process.