In a very remote village set on a steep hillside in Zomba district, Save the Children, under the US Feed the Future Initiative, is working with communities to improve their well-being and livelihoods through improved nutrition, sanitation and access to savings and credit.
The acronym for the program is WALA, the Wellness and Agriculture for Life Advancement project, and the impacts of these investments were evident from the shining, beaming smiles of the children and women as they showed off all of their hard work. And it couldn’t be more apt — “wala” means “shine” in Chichewa!
The community built a contour trench along the hillside to keep top-soil runoff and mud slides from destroying their maize crops. Farmers trained in conservation agriculture, in conjunction with Save the Children, constructed a dam and more than 100 meters of canal to channel the water to fields of the most vulnerable households in the community. They also created systems for collecting water and built receiving boxes to help manage water supply.
Families were also being trained in nutrition, health and sanitation. Households were taught how to construct kitchens with dish racks, bath shelters, pit latrines and easy-to-build hand-washing stations to reduce the spread of disease and viruses. And seedlings for mango, guava, papaya, orange and tangerine trees help to sweeten the benefits of healthy eating.