The saying goes “the one who helps you know how to fish wishes you well than the one who supplies you fish”. Lusubilo Community Care has been in existence for 26 years beginning small as an orphanage to a fully-fledged Non-Governmental Organization under the Catholic Diocese of Karonga.

For a long period of time, Lusubilo has had the usual way of implementing its humanitarian support to the people which is in form of provision of things. This approach’s biggest weakness is the continuity and sustainability of the interventions when the project has phased out. This, however, does not imply that Lusubilo has abandoned the old and traditional way of providing for the needs of the people but has embraced another way of doing things which focuses on empowering households to be independent and self-sustaining. This approach is formally called The Ultra-Poor Graduation Approach.

The (Ultra-Poor) Graduation approach is a comprehensive, time-bound and sequenced set of interventions that aim to graduate people from (ultra) poverty to sustainable livelihoods. The multidimensional and nuanced problems of the (ultra) poor require an approach that is comprehensive, long-term and substantive enough to empower them to engage with markets and their own communities and graduate from extreme poverty.

The interventions include regular life skills training and home visits, technical skills training, asset transfers, enterprise development, consumption stipends, financial literacy and savings, health care and social integration. Working together, these interdependent interventions lead to strong outcomes at the household level including increased or improved assets, food security, savings and financial inclusion, health outcomes, social integration and productive skills. The project targeted 1000 participants-pilot cohort in Livingstonia, Rumphi; Kakoma, Karonga and Chisenga and Kasisi in Chitipa.  Karonga had more participants, followed by Chitipa then Rumphi respectively.

DistrictTAGVHNumber of participants (by gender)
KarongaKilupulaMwangwera388 (321F/67M)
ChitipaMwabulambyaKasisi251 (63F/188M)
ChitipaMwenewenyaMlembe190 (44F/146M)
RumphiKachuluMwembe171 (33F/138M)
Distribution of participants for the Pilot Graduation Project

After 3 years of the implementation, the first cohort of 1000 participants are graduating this month. Today Lusubilo in collaboration with CRS organized a community exit meeting at Kakoma, GVH Mwangwela. In attendance were the traditional leaders, officials from CRS and Lusubilo and the guest of honor was Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka of the Catholic Diocese of Karonga.

The program started with the visits to two households which participated in the graduation project where members appreciated what they have benefitted; listening to the stories of how they how journeyed from the time they were selected by fellow villagers to today. Among the issues which were appreciated included the availability of livestock, the standards of dwelling houses, availability of food and the businesses which these households are engaged in.

Bishop Martin Mtumbuka, CRS and Lusubilo Team visiting a participant in GVH Mwangwela, T/A Kilupula, Karonga.

In his speech, Bishop Anwel Mtumbuka said:

“…. most of the time project officers of project like these like to give good reports which usually are totally different from what beneficiaries are experiencing and saying. It is because of this that I decided to visit and opted to talk and listen more to people who were not put on the program so that they can tell me the truth. I am satisfied with what I have generally heard from the participants of all ages.”

He further said in encouraging them to work hard in areas which they have scored very low:

many things have been reported as successes including availability of food, improvement of shelters and savings. However, two areas have been reported not to have been done properly; things like not making joint decision in the family and hygiene and satiation. My fellow men and women you may have enough food but without proper hygiene practices you may die of cholera and leave your food and houses behind…

Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka speaking at the event.

In their speech, the ADC Chairperson and GVH thanked the bishop for the assistance which he gives to villages and particularly for graduation project through Lusubilo in collaboration with CRS Malawi. Similar exit meetings will be conducted tomorrow 9th March 2023 at Kasisi and on Friday, 10th March, 2023 at Chisenga and Monday 13th March at Livingstonia in Rumphi.

The Pilot Graduation Project has been implemented with financial support from the Coppel, a Catholic family from Mexico.

Ms. Molly Kumwenda, Deputy Head of Programs – CRS Malawi.

GVH Mwangwela speaking during the event.

Chikolopa Drama Group entertaining the people who availed themselves for the event.

1 Comment

  • Job Chatseka

    This is an impressive and successful project. A lot of people have benefited so much from the same. People are appreciating around Chisenga.

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