By Gracious Chibaka
Life starts at 40, many a man say so, but that is not the case on the ground. Malawians in urban and rural settings are experiencing the harsh realities of life with poverty, a routine word emanating from their mouths.
For many a time they have tried to make a living out of farming but resource constraints was winding them back to square. Hope for a fruitful future, a future that had all man’s basic amenities at disposal was a farfetched reality.
But a 45-year-old man, from Nachoma village in Traditional Authority Mwenewenya, Chitipa District John Sibande, is a different man altogether. His dire poverty is slowly wearing off the very time he started reaping fruits from the Village Saving and Loan (VSL) group.
“I am a member of EDEN Farmers’ Club, a group which is also an affiliate of a VSL group formulated in the area. We are hard workers naturally, but we were handicapped on the part of sourcing funds to finance our farming business.
Thanks to the Development Desk of the Diocese of Karonga officers who taught us the value of group savings. The fruit of this initiative is now a source of family’s happiness and that of fellows in the group. Seeing the benefits, other community members are pressurizing us to join our fruitful endeavor,” explains Sibande while stroking his livestock that he has realized from this enterprise.
The VSL works on very simple formula; each week there is a 100 Kwacha share per person per week and the total volume for the share was 150,000 Kwacha.
“I got K25,000 from the group which I then used to purchase a goat. I also received a goat from the goat pass on programme which resulted into having two goats. Lucky enough these two goats have produced two kids.
After weaning them I will hand over the one I took from the club to my colleague who will also do the same by giving other beneficiaries from our member group” says Sibande.
The livestock pass on program is an added advantage by further trickling down to his farm as articulated by Sibande, “I am happy man as this program will help me collect a considerable amount of manure that can be used in the field instead of digging deep into my pocket to purchase the ever expensive inorganic fertilizer in the process realizing bumper harvest from the use of organic fertilizer”.