Community leaders in Balaka hail Climate Smart Public Works Program

Community leaders in Balaka hail Climate Smart Public Works Program

Community leaders in Balaka have commended the World Bank funded Climate Smart Public Works programs (CSPWP) for building community capacity in environmental management interventions which they say has remarkably helped in restoring degraded land and forests, hence improving agricultural productivity.

Speaking when a team of Balaka based journalists toured some of the catchment areas in the program, the leaders described the intervention as remarkable, saying livelihoods of community members have seen significant strides unlike in the past.

Group village headman Chimpakati, under Senior Chief Chamthunya, said it was encouraging to learn that most of the land which was degraded and deforested has now worn a new face courtesy of the program.

“I am impressed that we have boldly taken collective efforts in implementing environmental conservation initiatives such as afforestation, construction of swales in our crop fields and this has contributed in moisture retention in our fields for better yields,” he said.

In Balaka District, the program has earmarked 18,820 ultra-poor households drawn from the Unified Beneficiary Registry (UBR).

Bitiya James, one of the participants from Mkoola catchment area in Traditional Authority Chanthunya in the District says the construction of water speed controlling structures coupled with application of modern farming practices such as the use of Mbeya manure as opposed to inorganic fertilizer has helped as now farmers are realizing bumper yields.

The program has also helped the participants to cash in from bee keeping as Zebron Chiwewe, chairperson of Nanjiri catchment management committee in Traditional Authority Amidu narrates.

”Through our clubs, we are now producing enough honey which is helping to sustain our lives economically. For instance, we make at least K350 thousand after one harvest,” said Chiwewe.

After digging the trenches and swales, constructing stone backs and check dams as well as raising seedlings in a nursery, participants earn K1,200 per day and they are paid at the end of every two months depending on the actual work done.

The participants work for 24 days which translates into K28,800.

While commending government for the program, the community leaders implored on government to consider adjusting upwards the number of participants in the program but also the wage.

In his remarks, senior assistant of land resources conservation officer for Balaka District Council, James Kadeya, highlighted that the district has made significant improvement since the inception of the program and urged the participants never to relent but put up an extra gear for the betterment of their community and generations to come.

He said, unlike in the past, communities have been empowered to be in the fore-front in identifying their problems at community level but also coming up with solutions to the problems.

“You can see that communities were given freedom to undertake initiatives which they need in their areas. It’s more exciting to note that they have been in the fore-front conserving the environment because they now understand the importance of doing such,” he said.

The climate smart public works Program succeeded the enhanced public works Program (EPWP) which was piloted in ten district councils across the country with an aim of addressing challenges faced during the implementation of the Malawi Social Action Fund (MASAF) IV productive public works Program.

The CSPWP is a sub-component of the enhanced core programmes under the improving social economic inclusion component in the social support for resilient livelihoods projects (SSLP).