Hailing from Likhonyowa village in traditional authority Nchinguza in Machinga district, Dora is a 29-year-old married woman with four children as well as a volunteer and care group leader for the DAPP Nutrition project being implemented in the district.
The poject also known as Screening, Care and Nutrition for the Management of Severe and Moderate Malnutrition in Children Aged 0 to 2 Years project is being implemented in the area of Traditional Authority Nchinguza, an area prone to faminine and records higher cases of malnutrition.“Since the project started in October 2018, I have learnt a lot. For example, I was taught on the importance of cooking and eating foods from all 6 food groups, the foods pregnant women should eat, exclusive breastfeeding techniques and supplementary foods that can be given to children after six months to ensure that they are not malnourished. The project has also taught me a lot on hygiene issues, DAPP field officers hold open days where they teach us how to construct rubbish pits, pit latrines and hand washing mechanisms as well as holding cooking demonstrations and constructing firewood saving stoves among others”, she saidDora uses the knowledge gained to further spread the word and teach her friends on the importance of the things mentioned above. “I am a volunteer and also a beneficiary of the project, I believe it is right to teach others what I have learnt and just not keep everything to myself” she said The one-year project aims at increasing malnutrition screening, access to nutrition services and reducing acute malnutrition in children aged between 0 – 2 years old as well as community counselling to pregnant and lactating mothers including those with malnourished children.
Development Aid from people to People (DAPP) is a nonprofit organization which is working hand in hand with the Government of Malawi as well as local and international organizations in implementing social and economic development activities in Education, Agriculture, Health, Community Development and Fundraising through the sale of second hand clothing in order to improve the lives of local Malawians.
With this in mind, DAPP Malawi using its Social Development Fund (SDF) component introduced a one year Child Aid project in Machinga district in November 2017 with the aim of improving good sanitation and hygiene practices at household level.
The project implemented in Traditional Authority Chamba in group village headman Mapata, Mitawa and Puteya, reached 581 families and a total of 2,240 beneficiaries in its one year implementation period.
Through the project, beneficiary with the guidance of project unit leaders (PUL) managed to construct pit latrines with drop hole covers, Tippy taps which are a hand washing mechanism, rubbish pits and firewood saving stoves as well as encouraging children to go to school and community members to establish vegetable gardens to ensure they are eating balanced meals. With the increase in sanitary facilities, the implementation catchment area recorded Cholera and Diarrhea cases.
Mr Paul Mponya who was the PUL in the area said “the project was truly a success but it also faced some challenges. For instance, some of the households found it difficult to find bottles for the construction of the tippy taps while some found it a challenge to mold bricks for the construction of toilets” he said . Having met these problems, Mr Mponya encouraged the community members to join Village Saving Loan Groups in order for them to save money and make things happen.
“From conversations I have had with the beneficiaries, the most important aspect of the project has been the pit latrines and tippy taps as the majority say these have helped to reduce diseases like cholera and diarrhea in the area” Mr Mponya said
Traditional Authority Chamba was declared Open defecation Free before the project phased out in December 2018