Malawi Red Cross launches K2.7 bn resilience project in 3 districts

Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) has launched a four-year community resilience project worth EUR 4.2 (about K2.7 billion) targeting vulnerable communities in the districts of Chikwawa, Mangochi and Mwanza.

Dorte-Busch, head of Southern Africa Regional office for Danish Red Cross. Pic by Felix Washon
SG for MRCS Ethel Kaimila Namaliya serving porridge to the learner. pic by Felix Washon
DC for Chikwawa Bester Mandele, left is briefed on project. Pic by Felix Washon

Learners of Mbwemba Primary School enjoying the porridge. pic by Felix Washon

MRCS has also since launched a $500 000 (about K357 million) worth nine – month school feeding project targeting 12 000 learners in Chikwawa and Mwanza Districts as a cushion to the effects of the 2015/2016 prolonged dry spells.

The projects are being implemented with funding from a consortium of four partner societies namely Finnish Red Cross (Finland), Danish Red (Denmark), Icelandic Red Cross (Iceland) and Italian Red Cross (Italy).

Speaking in Chikwawa during the launch of the two projects on Tuesday,  MRCS secretary general Ethel Namaliya said the resilience project will be implemented in one traditional authority  (T/A) per district with approximately 50 000 direct beneficiaries in each of the three districts.

“The community resilience project will be implemented in five components namely health care; social inclusion of vulnerable people; Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (Wash); disaster risk reduction (DRR) and organisation development. During the implementation of this project, we pledge to work hand in hand with the district councils to alleviate the challenges being faced in the impact areas,” said Namaliya.

Namaliya also stressed the need for Red Cross volunteers on the ground to work hand in hand with other humanitarian partners to ensure the success of the two projects at the end of their implementation period.

In his remarks, Chikwawa District Commissioner Bester Mandere whose T/A Chapananga area is a beneficiary of the project urged community members in all the three T/As where the project will be implemented to take an active role in the implementation activities to ensure that there is sustainability.

Mandere also commended MRCS for the two projects saying they address two major problems namely floods and droughts which Chikwawa District grapples with each and every year.

“This is not the first time Red Cross is coming to our rescue in times of despair. Just last year when we were among the 15 districts affected by floods that were devastated by floods, Red Cross built about 50 houses for some of the affected households, “said Mandere.

On the school feeding project, Mandere urged teachers and responsible community members to make sure the porridge is going to only those learners who are coming to school with an aim of motivating learners who dropped out of school to enroll back.

Representing the funders, Dorte Busch, head of Southern Africa Regional office for Danish Red Cross said the expectation is that, at the end of four years, communities will have better access to safe water, will be able to manage their health and nutrition as well as have established support activities for their children.

“As a consortium, we are very happy to be able to support Malawi Red Cross Society to reach out to the deprived communities in the three target districts. We are also very happy that we have Red Cross volunteers who are willing to work for the good of their communities. We hope that the school feeding programme will help students to stay in school,” said Busch.

T/A Chapananga from Chikwawa also hailed MRCS for choosing his area as one of the beneficiaries of the two projects. He expressed hope that at the end of the four year resilience project his people are not going to be the same.

According to MRCS, the three beneficiary districts were selected based on analysis of vulnerabilities, the interest from district authorities in engaging with the program, the presence of other actors and the capacity of the society divisions.

MRCS is a local humanitarian organization which started its operations in 1932 as the Nyasaland Branch of the British Red Cross.

In 1966, the Malawi government passed Act 51 of Parliament establishing the MRCS as a voluntary society, allowing it the right to use the protected Red Cross and Red Crescent emblems in conformity with Geneva Conventions.

It became a member of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent  in 1971. The work of the MRCS is guided by a constitution which was last revised and adopted by the Council and the General Assembly in September 2007.

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