It's been a challenging start to 2020 here in Malawi and our work in the villages has not escaped the challenges posed by coronavirus.
In Mchinji district, bordering Zambia, we were off to great start, albeit slightly delayed, when we were rudely disrupted by the pandemic. Our preparations for training and setting up a cadre of some 75 Community Based Poultry Workers were going very well but we now have to move with more caution. Fortunately much of the preparatory work has already been done. The emerging picture however is that Malawi may be set for a possibly protracted struggle with the virus and we need to protect the very people we were aiming to help. We have needed to adopt strict safeguards for our work with rural communities.
We are also taking advantage of this time to adjust our activities and better ensure our ultimate objectives will be met. The Mchinji work is supported by the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) via Kyeema. ANCP have been super helpful in assisting in response to the constraints brought by the pandemic. Moreover, we have ascertained that we should be able to expand beyond our original target area and work in all 7 Extension Planning Areas in Mchinji District. That means we will cover over 5,000 households (up from 4,000) who between them raise at least 80,000 village chickens. We will later do a cost/benefit analysis on that but even right now, we can be sure at a glance that the impact will be huge. We will certainly be saying more about that in time.
Think of us please as we approach the middle of this extraordinarily challenging year. And if you happen across anything like my psychedelic friend here, take a snap and send it in to our Chickens for Change photographic competition. There's only a few weeks left!
Sending you our best wishes for now. I'll keep in touch.
10 June 2020