As part of Cyclone Idai response Oxfam in Malawi has constructed a Mk41 million solar powered irrigation scheme in Phalombe district that will see 3000 people benefitting.
Speaking in an interview after handing over the scheme to the community, country director for the organisation, Lingalireni Mihowa, said the Gilevulo Irrigation Scheme’s project is part of Oxfam’s response to the 2019 Cyclone Idai which affected over 22,000 households in the district.
Said Mihowa: “Oxfam is one of the organisations that prioritised Phalombe to respond to Cyclone Idai earlier in 2019 when we were hit with that calamity…so when we came here we found people that had already organised themselves into something like a farming club.
“So chiefs mobilised people to be doing some gardening involving horticultural products and also maize, then they did ask if we could upgrade that swamp they had into full scale irrigation site so we took note of these people’s hard work to go into some fundraising and we are grateful to One Foundation the donor that has supported us,”
Apart from the irrigation scheme, Oxfam in Malawi also handed over upgraded solar powered water reticulation system at Mpasa Health Centre which will ensure that the maternity section and outpatients department should have running water.
In his remarks, Phalombe district council Chairperson, Fedson Thomas, applauded Oxfam for the irrigation scheme saying 210 plots that will be established will increase the harvests of the people in the area of Traditional Authority (T/A) Kaledzera.
“As the council we are very grateful that after asking them to help us in improving the agricultural mechanisation they have indeed assisted us. People will be able to grow more different crops throughout the year here,” said Thomas.
On the water system installed at the health facility, the chairperson said issues to do with water sanitation and hygiene is now a thing of the past at the facility which serves over 39,000 people from 85 surrounding villages in T/A Mkhumba.
A total of about K70 Million was injected into the two projects which were both completed on 20th May this year with the irrigation scheme and health facility costing Mk41 million and Mk28 million respectively.