Over the next three days, there are some important issues being brought to people’s attention.
Today, Friday 15th October is International Day of Rural Women, tomorrow is World Food Day and Sunday is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. All three of these are closely linked but today, we celebrate rural women and the vital role they play in reducing poverty, hunger and malnutrition.
The UN highlight the importance of women, “Improving the lives of rural women is key to fighting poverty and hunger. Giving women the same opportunities as men could raise agricultural production by 2.5 to 4% in the poorest regions and the number of malnourished people could be reduced by 12 to 17%. Let’s recognize the work of these heroines in the food systems of the world.”
In Malawi, most of the day to day work in farming is done by women, so today we are celebrating their hard work – it’s making a huge difference to the lives of all Malawians.
On World Food Day, 16th October, we are sharing a story of a group of female farmers who are improving the lives of other families by working hard to multiply more sweet potato vines. – these can be planted either to maximise the yield of sweet potatoes or to increase the number of vines, depending on how deep they are planted.
Annah, Janet and Maggie lead the group and have prepared their mother plot on the land of one of the group’s members. This plot of land will be where they multiply the vines instead of purely growing the sweet potatoes.
The new vines can then be bundled up and shared with families in three new villages who are yet to benefit from this project.
Another project that we run linked to today’s topic is Fish Conservation. However, more on that below.
Today, October 17th let’s talk about fish and how the project can help end poverty for those living and working alongside the Lakeshore in Malawi.
Our fish conservation project was built on our experience of community led forest conservation, and after the trial along 40km of lakeshore, it has now been rolled out across five Districts.
More than 3,000 volunteer members of Beach Village Committees now educate their fellow villagers about the importance of protecting fish and using the correct sized nets to catch larger fish. Collectively they are also protecting 82 Chambo fish breeding grounds to allow baby fish to grow and breed.
But how does this help the wider community?
When fishermen catch bigger fish, they can sell them for more money which they then spend locally thus improving the local economy.
The availability of more and larger fish also increases the amount of animal protein available which enriches the diet and improves the health of local people.
As a large proportion of the fish caught is sold and distributed around the country, others across Malawi also benefit. What a great project!