Wondering how great an impact agricultural programs can have on the world’s poorest people? Take a look at Donata Kuchawo’s story to find out more, and make sure there are many more stories like hers by urging Congress to fully fund Feed the Future.
Another report from Malawi. On Sunday, we had an amazing visit to the Chitsanzo Milk Bulking Group (MBG), a USAID-funded, public-private partnership project with Land O’Lakes and General Mills that supports local dairy farmers in the rural area of Dedze.
A really memorable success story came from Donata Kuchawo, a 45-year-old married mother of five and caretaker of two orphans. Donning a brightly colored dress, Donata told us that she turned to dairy farming in 2003 to secure enough income and food for her family. Her cow, named Zowari, produces about 30 liters of milk each day, of which 4 liters are used for home consumption and the remaining 26 liters are sold through Chitsanzo.
As a result of her income, Donata has put three kids through secondary school and also supports her sister’s two children, who attend primary school. An entrepreneur, she has constructed a small rental house, invested in a new piggery business and employed five people to help run the dairy business and tend to crops. Looking ahead, she is already saving for another cow as the other produces less milk with age. She is such an inspiration and proof that when you give women farmers a few tools, the entire community benefits.
Chitsanzo Milking Group is one project of the U.S. Feed the Future initiative and a great example of USAID’s Global Development Alliance program, which leverages private sector support like Land O’Lakes and General Mills to create programs that provide the world’s poorest with a sustainable path out of poverty.
At the end of our visit, the chairwoman and president of the MBG presented our team with a beautifully carved wooden cow to show their appreciation for our visit. With tears welling in my eyes and those of others, we humbly accepted the gift and left more determined to advocate for smart, innovative agricultural policies so that there are more success stories like Donata’s throughout the developing world.