Over 2 500 villagers in Traditional Authority Chiwalo in Machinga District are all smiles after the completion of a three year watershed rehabilitation project.
The project was spearheaded by the Rotary Club of Limbe with support from the Rotary Club of Allschwil-Regio Basel from Switzerland, Emmanuel International, an local non-governmental organisation and WOTR, an Indian based NGO which specialises in the development of watersheds.
Speaking during the visit to some of the project’s site on Tuesday, rotarian David Paul, who was the lead on this project, said the project is helping farmers in the area to restore their natural resources, conserve water, recharge ground water levels and enable them to sow suitable crops based on the soil they have and also provide access to safe drinking water.
He said: “I am very thrilled that this project has been completed. It is has been very beneficial to the people of Namwaza and Sale [villages] and we cannot wait to see success stories coming out of this.”
He said with the growing concern over climate change which has adversely affected Malawi of late year in and year out, the watershed project will assist farmers in building up a climate change adapted agricultural system based on densified plantation concepts.
“Lack of adequate awareness of the dangers of erosion and deforestation has caused disasters such as cyclones to inflict great harm when they occur,” added Paul.
He said through this project, the communities will be able to stop erosion and promote afforestation and agroforestry which will help them restore soils and increase water holding capacities for agricultural purposes.
On his part, Rotary Club of Limbe president Ulanda Mtamba said the project also aims to promote womens’ participation through the setting up of self help groups and small microfinance structures.
“The most important benefit of this project is that it will enable people to create livelihoods in their own abodes and reduce the need of migration to urbanized centers where is immense demand for the little resources available.
“More communities can be assisted to be self-sufficient through projects like this and I would like to thank all our partners and all project heads from Rotary Club of Limbe for making this project a success,” he said.
Some of the Rotarians during the visit of the project
A better future beckons for these villagers through self-help projects