The donation in Kasungu
* To ease mobility challenges which lead farmers have been facing in course of carrying out their duties
* Water for People donation is a quest to promote professionalism in management of rural solar powered water establishments
By Yankho Phiri & Chilungamo Missi, MANA
Circle for Integrated Community Development (CICOD), a nongovernmental organisation that works in the agricultural industry, has donated 56 bicycles to lead farmers in Santhe and Chulu extension planning areas (EPAs) in Kasungu District.
The bicycles have been donated to ease mobility challenges which lead farmers have been facing in course of carrying out their duties.
Meanwhile, Water for People on Monday also donated three bicycles to three water scheme management committees in Blantyre in a quest to promote professionalism in management of rural solar powered water establishments.
Speaking with the media in Kasungu on Tuesday, CICOD deputy Board chairperson, Dr Geoffrey Kananji said they know the importance of contribution lead farmers to the agriculture sector, hence the support.
“We all know that lead farmers play a very big role in teaching their fellow farmers modern ways of farming as an addition to what agriculture extension and development officers do.
“These extension and development officers are very few when compared to the number of farmers they are supposed to serve,” he said.
Director of Agriculture and Natural Resources for Kasungu, Patterson Kandonje, applauded CICOD for the gesture, saying the bicycles will enhance their work in the district, which has over 300,000 farmers.
The district only has 83 agricultural extension and development officers, making a ratio of one officer to 3,000 farmers “which is almost impossible for the officer to manage”.
“So, we came up with the idea of having these lead farmers in order to ease the work,” Kandonje said. “But mobility has always been a challenge to them. Now, it is exciting that 56 lead farmers have been assisted by our partner.”
One of the beneficiary lead farmers, Willard Banda expressed his gratitude, saying the bicycles will ease their mobility.
“We used to walk to fellow farmers and some stay very far from us, but the bicycles will ease this problem now,” he said.
CICOD is implementing a project dubbed ‘Enhancing Access to Profitable and Inclusive Agriculture Markets for Smallholder Farmers in Malawi’, with funding from Government of Flanders through OXFAM Malawi.
In Blantyre, water, health and sanitation project officer for Water for People, Chisomo Magelegele said they have made the donation under a two-year project dubbed ‘Enhancing Sustainability of Rural Water Supply Solar Powered Systems’.
“As one way of making sure that water is sustainable in the rural areas, the organisation, with support from United Nations Children’s Fund, decided to provide water through solar powered schemes,” he said.
“So as one of the initiatives, we decided to provide them with push bikes to support their daily operations. This will help the scheme management committees in promoting smooth running of their operations during resource mobilisation activities, sensitization and daily operation and maintenance works.”
Senior water monitoring assistant for Blantyre District Council, Nellie Phiri applauded Water for People for the donation, saying it will go a long way in solving mobility challenges when monitoring water points.
“Committee members will be able to monitor the water points without challenges since some of the taps were placed at some distances and when they face a technical problem that requires them to go and buy spare parts, they will be saving time by using the bicycle,” Phiri said.
Secretary for Chikondi Children’s Corner Water System Scheme, Bertha Sambani hailed Water for People for the timely donation, pledging that the committee will ensure the bicycle is well protected and used for the intended purpose.
The bicycles, valued at K345,000 were donated to Alinafe Children’s Corner Solar Powered Supply Water System Scheme in Chigonowa Village, Tradional Authority (T/A) Kuntaja; Lundu Health Centre in Malume Village, T/A Lundu and Chikondi Children’s Corner Water System Scheme in Likomba Village T/A Machinjiri.