By Iommie Chiwalo
The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) has launched a project dubbed ‘CHAKUDYA
UFULU WANGA’ which, among other things, seeks to build on the unity of purpose demonstrated when Cyclone Freddy struck in March 2023.
Speaking during the launch in Phalombe CDEDI Executive Director Sylvester Namiwa said time has come for sustainable solutions by not encouraging handouts.
He said his organisation has identified the forgotten poor to benefit from food rations and farm inputs and trained in Mbeya fertilizer and soap making as well as some artisan skills in order to increase food production and improve household incomes.
The project has started with the Cyclone Freddy affected districts of Phalombe, Mulanje, Chiradzulu, Chikwawa and Nsanje and, of course, the forgotten urban poor in the cities Blantyre and Lilongwe.
As a way of realising power in consolidated efforts, CDEDI has partnered Peacock Seeds to provide hybrid drought tolerant seed on soft loan.
He also disclosed about the engagement of Bridging Gap Enterprises to train those trapped in the vicious circle of poverty in both rural and urban areas in soap-making.
“As if that is not enough, we are also working with Onani Enterprises to train the farming community in making Mbeya fertilizer and other affordable technologies that would increase food productivity at household level,” he said.
On the source of funding, the CDEDI Executive Director said the project will be funded by a crowd-funding initiative to be announced in due
“Those of us that are better off should be our brother’s keeper by sharing the little we have with our relatives, friends and neighbours,” he adds.
On his part, Phalombe District Assistant Community Development Officer, Sydney Mkata who represented the District Commissioner said the initiative taken by CDEDI is worth supporting because it is sustainable.
“This initiative by CDEDI has brought about excitement to the communities because is a long term solution that will help reduce persistent food scarcity.
And a beneficiary of the initiative Esnart Kulowani said apart from enhancing hygiene, the soap making skill is going to improve their economic situation.
Asking Namiwa if it is not the way to run away from his usual advocacy, he said CDEDI is not relenting in pushing for affordable maize prices and free food distribution to the ultra-poor, regardless of their political colours.
He has since reiterated on the calls to President Lazarus Chakwera and his Tonse Alliance administration to stop pretending that they have capacity to solve the food, forex, fuel and fertiliser (4Fs) crises threatening the survival of the majority Malawians.
“We hereby call for a high-level stakeholders meeting to draw a roadmap towards declaring a state of disaster and appeal for donor support in time,” he said.
Namiwa has also expressed worries with the rainy season fast approaching saying that there is a serious uncertainty over
availability of maize and fertilizer in the country coupled with worsening scarcity of fuel and
essential drugs due to forex shortage.
“Equally worrying are persistent fuel queues, unfortunately, for which the President and his government do not seem to have a solution. Simply put, despite all the rhetoric about maize availability in the country, most Agriculture
Development and Marketing Corporation (ADMARC) selling points are empty, and fertilizer is nowhere to be seen yet rains are just around the corner,” he said.
He said conclusively that Malawians are in for real trouble, because once the rains begin most parts of the countryside will be inaccessible owing to the poor state of the road network, especially in areas affected by Cyclone Freddy.