A delegation from the European Union (EU) was from Tuesday this week in Mulanje to monitor progress of Afikepo Projects which Food and Agriculture Organization, in conjunction with the district council and other partners are implementing.
EU Programs Manager for Sustainable Agriculture, Tomaida Msiska, said on Wednesday that the field visit was aimed at monitoring program implementation progress and discussing sustainability strategies with stakeholders to ensure that the gains made are maintained and strengthened.
Msiska commended Mulanje stakeholders and the clusters for the good work they are doing in making sure that pregnant women and under-five children are living healthy lives.
“Let me commend the coordination that is there between the Nutrition, Health, Agriculture sectors and Afikepo, this is helping in making plans on how to sustain the activities in the communities even after the Projects phases out,” she said.
She said: “There is a higher need to encourage men to be involved in the Afikepo programs since most of them require family involvement and some decisions need to be made by both wife and husband to be effective”.
She thanked the community cluster members for maintaining their commitment even after they were affected by Cyclone Freddy which damaged home gardens and farm fields saying this has shown how the people are dedicated to the programs.
Food and Agriculture Organization Mulanje District Coordinator, Misheck Mwambakulu said the project has managed to enhance nutrition and food security in Mulanje and that there was hope that the people in the communities will be able to maintain what they have learnt even when the project phases out.
A member for Tapasidwa group, Mary Diverson from Group Village Head Waluma in the area of Tradition Authority (TA) Chikumbu said since the inception of Afikepo project, her family’s life had improved.
“Before Afikepo introduced their Programs in our village, my son was suffering from malnutrition where his weight was always very low and from time to time we were admitted in the hospital.
“This was because I did not know the proper food and ways of making sure that my kid was being healthy but after putting into use what I learnt from Afikepo my child is now healthy and strong,” She said.
She urged other pregnant women and those with under-five children to join the care groups so that they learn how to keep their children and families healthy to free the communities from cases of malnutrition.
Afikepo nutrition projects were introduced in Mulanje District in 2019 and are expected to phase out in December 2023.
The projects are implemented in 5 TA’s in the district namely Chikumbu, Juma, Mthiramanja, Ndanga and Mkanda.