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Scotland Thanked for Malawi Aid

Monday May 8 2017

Pansi Katenga, Christian Aid country manager for Malawi. Picture by Esme Allan

Pansi Katenga. Photo: Esme Allan

 

Christian Aid’s country manager for Malawi has thanked the Scottish people and government for their help for the country during last year’s drought.

Pansi Katenga, who visited Scotland last week, said that the donations from Scotland had helped Christian Aid keep communities together and secured the long-term future of some of their projects.

Pansi said: ”It was significant for me to thank our supporters for the response (to the drought appeal).

“We have a programme, funded by the Scottish Government, building irrigation sites. Construction had just been completed but many of the people in those areas were affected by the droughts.

“We were able to prevent people from leaving the community to look for work elsewhere, and after three months they had their crops ready. Areas which did not have this long-term resilience programme had to have food aid given to them for nine months.”

Following the previous year’s catastrophic flooding, last year’s drought left over a third of the Malawian population without access to sufficient food. The emergency appeals by Christian Aid and three other charities in Scotland raised nearly £500,000, which was match-funded by the Scottish Government.

Pansi, a Malawian who recently returned to the country after 20 years working in South Africa for the UN, said that this year’s rainfall was better. However, she warned that Malawi, and southern Africa in general, was prone to the unpredictable weather patterns caused by climate change; which is why Christian Aid’s work on improving the resilience of communities is essential.

“We have an exit strategy,” she said. “We shouldn’t have to give these people food aid again. We should be able to say ‘we have done our part, this is an asset handed to the community’.”

In addition to the irrigation schemes, they are training farmers to produce more drought-resistant crops such as pigeon peas, and helping them to organise collectively to get better prices for their produce.

Pansi said: “It’s a market-based response, we are saying instead of growing maize which you just consume, produce a crop that has value, sell it at market and you will have enough money to buy food, to cater for health and education needs. Then hopefully our work is done and we can go on to new areas.”

Find out more about Christian Aid’s work in Malawi here.


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