Catholic Relief Services (CRS) Malawi began implementation of the Wellness and Agriculture for Life Advancement (WALA) program in July 2009, with an ending date of June 2014. This five-year USAID-funded PL480 Title II program is through Food for Peace (FFP) and implemented in the eight most food insecure districts in the south of Malawi. WALA is implemented by a consortium of nine Private Voluntary Organizations (PVOs) led by CRS Malawi as the grant holder. The seven implementing PVOs are Africare, Chikwawa Diocese, Emmanuel International, Project Concern International, Save the Children, Total Land Care, and World Vision International. Another partner, ACDI-VOCA, provides technical support on agribusiness.
The goal of WALA is to improve the food security of 214,974 chronically food insecure households in 39 Traditional Authorities (TAs) in eight districts in southern Malawi by 2014 through strategic objectives in maternal and child health and nutrition (SO1); agriculture, natural resource management, irrigation, and economic activity (SO2); and disaster risk reduction (SO3). Each SO and its main corresponding activities are listed below:
SO1: Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition
- Application of the Care Group model, a community-based health service provision strategy employed to increase the coverage and quality of health and nutrition services. All health and nutrition interventions below are implemented through this model.
- The Community Complementary Feeding and Learning Sessions approach is used to enhance the nutritional skills of mothers of children under five and pregnant and lactating women.
- Strengthening of the Ministry of Health (MoH) through capacity building, provision of resources, and collaboration in key activities.
- Strengthening the capacity of community-based organizations (CBOs) to undertake and sustain development activities, such as village health committees.
SO2: Agriculture, Natural Resource Management (AgNRM), Irrigation, and Economic Activity
- Formation of farmer groups or producer groups.
- Demonstration sites approach used to enhance agricultural production and promote improved farming practices, e.g., crop diversification, and watershed management.
- Small-scale irrigation, focusing on high-quality, nutritious crops, has been scaled up and integrated with other WALA components. Stream diversions for gravity systems and shallow wells for treadle pump systems are commonly utilized.
- Village Savings and Loans (VSLs) have been employed to increase household incomes and facilitate linkages with micro-enterprises in order to boost economic development.
- Farming as a business has been promoted through agribusiness groups by strengthening linkages between small-scale farmers and the private sector and helping farmers to take part in collective marketing.
- Formation of livestock groups to boost the number of households with livestock including goat, pig, chicken, and fish.
Strengthening the capacity of CBOs to undertake and sustain development activities, such as formation of water users committees and marketing clubs.