Since 2014, PCI has led the Njira project, a $30 million USAID-funded initiative to address the underlying causes of food security in the Balaka and Machinga districts of Malawi. In 2016, Njira reached over 107,000 individuals through a tailored approach that improves agriculture, agribusiness, health, nutrition and disaster preparedness within vulnerable communities. Community Complementary Feeding and Learning Sessions (CCFLS) are one of Njira’s hallmark approaches to improving the health of children under five years of age. CCFLS are skills-based trainings which give mothers and care givers the knowledge and ability to prepare, process and provide highly nutritious foods from all six food groups to their underweight and malnourished children. In 2016, nearly 300 health promoters, surveillance assistants, and agriculture extension officers were trained in CCFLS and over 100 sessions were conducted, reaching over 1,600 children under five.
Njira builds on previous PCI successes in Balaka and Machinga under the USAID-funded Wellness and Agriculture for Life Advancement (WALA) project, through which PCI reduced the food insecurity of over 31,000 chronically food insecure households. PCI improved maternal and child health and nutritional status in 25,000 households, improved the livelihood status of 21,000 smallholder farming households, and improved the capacity of 39 communities to withstand shocks and stresses.
Additionally, through the Women Empowered (WE) Initiative PCI successfully formed 2,288 economic and social empowerment groups with over 48,300 members. Once established and operational, WE groups become a sustainable, ongoing business and economic development platform that is entirely directed and administered by the members themselves, without outside management, resources or long-term external support.
Njira, through its WASH sector implements Community Led Total Sanitation (CLTS), an intervention through which community members are mobilized and empowered to conduct their own appraisal and analysis of open defecation situation and take action to become ODF. The intervention ensures sustainability by aiding communities to create ways to sustain their ODF status.
The project facilitated market linkages for 2,338 farmers (1,707 female, 601 male) through interface meeting and exposure visits to potential buyers. Out of these interface meetings and networks created, the farmers aggregated about 81.3 metric tons of cowpeas and pigeon peas which were then formally sold to Impex Limited, Nasfam Commodity Marketing Exchange (NASCOMEX) and Ops Traders. The total income realized by the farmers, through these sales was US$38,606.