Communities Protect the Environment in Malawi

Happy Earth Day!  The environment is an issue many Firelight partners address, here's one story from Malawi that's led to increased food security and protection of our planet. As a nation, Malawi tends to be highly dependent on chemical fertilizers. One community-based organization saw this as an opportunity for increased community leadership and protection of our environment. Enukweni Community-Based Organization invited farmers to become role models for organic farming that produces higher yields while decreasing the damaging environmental impact of chemical fertilizers.

By partnering with households suffering food shortages, Enukweni found a way to reach some of the most vulnerable people in their communities to increase their food security, decrease their dependence on external inputs as well as their costs, and foster their leadership as role models for organic farming and environmental conservation.

After just one year, the 28 members involved in Enukweni’s initial organic farming training now take pride in the project and are training others in their six different villages. They have reached out to farmers who cannot afford to purchase chemical fertilizers and taught them organic farming methods to provide them the same benefits they experienced: food security and an end to costly and detrimental chemical fertilizers.

Mary Chipofya of Kamangadazi village in her maize garden fertilized with manure.

Enukweni is located in Northern Malawi, a region facing increasing urbanization. They are a new Firelight partner and are using Firelight funds to train six village development committees in crop diversification and the use of manure as fertilizer this year. In each of the six villages they work in, committees make the decisions about what priorities the community should address. Enukweni serves as their facilitator, communication hub, and resource center because they know that to make lasting change, communities must have the power to implement the decisions that will improve their daily lives.

Martin Magombo, executive director of Enukweni recently wrote us this update on the project…

“So far the project has started making tremendous progress in the community due to overwhelming number of people showing interest on the initiative. It is reported that over 6150 bags of 50kgs of organic manure have been made by the community with an average of five bags of organic manure per household within the households that have been reached by the project staff.”

Because of these efforts, household maize gardens have experienced better harvests and are showing signs of a promising year for families.

Next year, Enukweni plans to host another round of community meetings to continue training families in manure making. The overwhelming welcome they received to this year’s training has motivated them to bring these skills to an even greater number of households, making environmental conservation and food security a package deal in Malawi.