Friday, February 26, 2016

Partnering with Local Development

Many development projects fail because the target communities do not adopt them. Often this can be averted by simple, inexpensive consultations with the community members and the leadership. We have to consider the local customs, environment, and resources, as well as the interests and goals of the people. 
 Last week we began consulting with the Ngabu Area Development Committee (ADC), which is a group of local residents who advice the chiefs and communities on development issues. The ADC helped us to identify groups of farmers who could participate in focus group discussions. The overall purpose of the engagement is for us to develop a clear idea of the problems facing their community, and then to create a possible solution together with them.
When we asked the ADC what farmers worry about when they first wake up in the morning, the response was a clear "FOOD!". They believe that climate change is the cause of the current food shortage, siting droughts and floods that destroyed crops last year. This year is not looking much better, with most of the area in drought conditions.

We will continue working with the community to develop a way for them to have food throughout the year. The largest river in Malawi is just a few kilometers from where the meeting took place. There must be a way to get that water to the crops so that people will always have food.