Drought, floods and poor soils mean that hunger has become a way of life in many villages in rural southern Malawi. Families struggle to make a living from small farms on marginal land and traditional ways of growing maize, the staple crop, are no longer working. In the 2015-16 planting season, farmers planted in November, but no rain came. They planted again in December, but no rain came. Finally, they planted in January but still no rain came. Now some rain has come, there is no seed left to plant. The Malawian government recently declared a state of emergency blaming the food insecurity on climate change and soil degradation.
For Pastor Lloyd Chizenga who heads APF’s partner in Malawi, the New Life Church network, this is a great cause for concern especially as 84% of Malawians are dependent on small-scale agriculture for their livelihoods. He explained that when your children are hungry, nothing else really matters. Desperation drives parents to sell their daughters into early marriage, poor nutrition damages healthy childhood development and hunger forces young men to leave their homes in search of work in the cities.
APF are supporting New Life Church in delivering training in 15 rural communities across three districts of southern Malawi, teaching simple but effective sustainable farming methods like ‘no-till’ cultivation, composting, mulching, agro-forestry, budgeting and marketing. These provide farmers with the skills and knowledge to adapt to the challenge of climate change whilst protecting and enhancing their soil so they can grow more and feed their families.
Using the Bible as a starting point, Lloyd and his team of trainers know that it’s essential that the church serves the community both practically and spiritually. “Jesus’s example of leadership was servant-leadership,” Lloyd explained. “We know we’re called to serve the rural communities.” Through New Life Church, lives are being changed both practically in the here and now, and for all eternity to come.
Support for APF’s Growing Greener project is needed urgently so please donate to our Growing Greener project in Malawi today.