“..My life is changing.. First and foremost I am now able to earn money on my own, while previously I was relying on my husband’s income”.
Eliness lives in Usisya, a remote village in northern Malawi, with her husband and four of her children. Every day she faces the challenge of giving her children nutritious and varied food, and on some days even struggling to have enough to eat.
Before she found out about Temwa, her family survived off her husband’s low income. But when Eliness was selected for farmer training for the Nkhata Bay Natural Way project, her life began to change.
Temwa’s farmer training provides communities with new methods to tackle key challenges and teach more farmers. In Usisya, a demo-garden enables farmers, like Eliness, to learn how to harvest a variety of crops in the sandy soils found there.
“..The community of Usisya could not grow vegetables, the only vegetables people relied on were from Bula, Chikwina and Sasasa [the nearest markets].”
Through the workshops and support, Eliness gained the skills needed to get her where she is now. She is making her own manure and using it to grow more maize on her farm.
There She Grows
Much like the crops on her land Eliness’s independence is flourishing, and with it her thirst for knowledge. She has joined the local Village Savings and Loans Associations group to get a better understanding on how to manage her finances. Through training from Temwa, she not only knows how to manage her own finances better but is also a money counter for the group. More than that, she is learning how to make more from her harvest and save for tighter months.
“For my case, earned income helped in procuring of plots, and so far three plots were bought, while three plots were taken on loan.. It’s from these plots now where I am getting food; even this year I might have 15-20 bags (50kg) and I manage to earn 10,000 MWK monthly.”
Spreading the Love
Eliness’ health and lifestyle has improved from having her own small scale business. Now, she earns enough money to grow, sell and buy nutritious food for herself and her family.
This change in her life has inspired her to help others.
She is teaching other families how to make and apply organic manure to their farms to grow better crops. And she’s not stopping there. Eliness would love to form a group and get more training in business skills so she can increase her earnings. She hopes her community can provide this support in the future.
Eliness also has dreams of seeing her children finish school and reach university level. These dreams could be realised if projects like this continue to develop in the area, when communities come together.