As you may have read in previous updates and blog posts, the food crisis in Malawi has hit hard. Families do not have enough food to feed their children, or to feed their elderly parents. Can you imagine how it would feel to not be able to feed your family? To watch your children get weaker, suffer malnutrition and possibly die? It breaks my heart to think this is happening right now to families that I know.
Already, 6.5 million people in the country are in need of humanitarian food aid (40% of the population!).This is due to a second consecutive crop failure, with climate change the key reason for this devastating situation. The people in the communities that we serve are hungry every day, and in March and April this year, we implemented an emergency food distribution intervention.
Our microfinance project has had to be put on hold, as businesses are not functioning in the current situation and loans are not being paid back. Our agricultural projects have also had to be adapted. As such, it has genuinely been the hardest year yet for Temwa. Seeing the programmes we have worked so hard over many years to establish – programmes that have brought stability to so many communities – destabilised in this way, and by situations out of our control, is really tough.
We can do something about this however! Despite these hardships, we will keep moving forward, with more determination than ever, evolving our programmes to provide our beneficiaries with practical knowledge on how to mitigate the effects of climate change by adapting their agricultural techniques to create successful, climate-resistant harvests. This new programme, which aims to develop food security, is currently being rolled out into the wider community and I’ll be reporting on it in more detail in my next blog post, which I hope will be from Malawi in a few weeks’ time.
We’ve been shouting about the food crisis since the start of 2016. The current situation in Africa is shamefully ignored in the media. I cannot help but wonder why? Southern Africa is grappling with the worst drought in 35 years – there is a cereals deficit of between 6 and 10 million metric tons. In past droughts, South Africa’s robust grain surpluses have insulated its neighbours from stark shortages, but this year it too, faces a substantial deficit. Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, Mozambique and Zimbabwe have declared states of emergency.
Why is this not being discussed in the media? Why are people not aware? Is it because it is due to climate change? This year is the hottest year on record. The arctic is melting faster than scientists predicted. The barrier reefs are bleaching quicker than predicted with 25% of The Great Barrier in Australia bleached. Climate change is a fact in Malawi. When I speak with community members about climate change, they are all fully aware their climate is not stable any more. They laugh at the idea that people would deny climate change!
Running an NGO/charity is not an easy task at times. Dealing with the dramatic changes in Malawi alongside ensuring we have stable funding, which currently predominantly comes from the UK, is hard. Plus with the uncertainty of what’s to come post-Brexit, there has never been a time when Temwa has had a greater need for all the support it gets from its many fundraisers, helpers, and donors. It is thanks to each and every person that donates their time and hard earned cash, and all of our dedicated staff and volunteers in the UK and Malawi, that we are able to develop and run the projects that we do. A very big thank you for your continued support!
The situation in Malawi is desperate. If you feel desperate, what do you do? Ask for help? That is what I am doing! Asking you for help! Please donate any amount you can manage – via our online giving platform, or by sponsoring me! I have just completed the gruelling Four Peaks Challenge (climbing the 4 highest mountains in the Lake District – 3 highest in England) for Temwa – it was physically and mentally exhausting, and was without doubt the toughest fundraiser that I have ever done. I undertook this challenge as right now people are dying, it’s been such a tough year, I had to do something special to ask for help. Every single penny it helps to raise will go towards helping to alleviate some of the suffering currently being experienced by so many in our communities, and to building on Temwa’s projects that operate right at the heart of Nkhata Bay North.
Thank you so much to everyone who has sponsored me so far! And thank you to everyone who has taken part in the many varied sponsored events we’ve organised over the past few months and, of course, to everyone who has donated. Please, please keep your donations coming in!
Blog written by Jo Hook, Co-founder and Managing Director of Temwa.
If you’d like to sponsor me, please donate via my Virgin Money Giving page