Rumphi District Council Visits Lusubilo Community Care PROJECT IN LIVINGSTONIA to Witness Transformative Graduation Model in Kajoni VDC.

In a cheering event, on 3rd November, 2023 the District Council in Rumphi embarked on a remarkable learning journey, paying a visit to Lusubilo Community Care. Their destination was Kajoni VDC in Vwanya and Gezamchere Villages in TA Mwalweni, where they had the opportunity to witness the positive impact of the graduation model on the lives of the local people.

Lusubilo Community Care, a beacon of hope and support in the area, has been diligently implementing the graduation model, a holistic approach designed to uplift vulnerable communities out of poverty. One of the key elements of this model is the provision of small grants to start income-generating activities. As this is so, many people in Vwanya and Gezamchere Villages have established businesses and farming enterprises. The ripple effect of these initiatives can be seen in the improved living conditions, increased access to healthcare, and children attending school regularly.

The team from the District Council office was met with smiles and warmth as they arrived in the areas. The residents were eager to share their stories of transformation, and it was clear that their lives had taken a turn for the better. Melina Mwalwimba is one of the participants who expressed her gratitude for the support provided by Lusubilo Community Care. With the help of the graduation model, she was able to start her small business of selling rice as well as fish vending, which now helps her to support the family and send children to school. She said “my life has really changed because at first I was struggling to find money, I could usually depend on my husband but now with the coming in of Lusubilo am able to find money on my own through the business that I have. With the livestock support that I received I managed to buy 2 goats and now I have 4 goats.”

Melina Mwalwimba at her house holding her project’s casebook.

Bertha Geza is another woman participant whose life has changed through Lusubilo’s graduation model. She said with the support received from Lusubilo, she is able to pay school fees for her children and able to care for the family.  Geza said “at first I did not know how to do business but thanks to Lusubilo am now able to do business and manage it well. Currently, she is into broiler rearing business which makes close to K900 000 every two months. Geza has a pineapple farm besides farming other crops. Her Vision 2030 is to have her own land and build a modern standard house.

Bertha Geza in her pineapple farm.

The team also interacted with Chitemwano SILC group. The group graciously explained their heartfelt joy at the positive impacts the financial saving initiative has had on their lives. Due to their involvement in the SILC group, the participating members are able to start businesses and meet their daily needs after taking soft loans from the group. According to their records, in their next share out the highest saver will go out with an excess of K200 000 whilst the lowest may share out well over K90 000. They assured that their group will continue to operate continually even if Lusubilo can have a close out in their area. The visiting team expressed their appreciation for the initiative and encouraged the members to continue their saving spirit.

Commenting on the visit, the Chief Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources Officer for Rumphi District, Hestings Malumbo Nyirongo appreciated what Lusubilo is doing to the communities saying that there is progress that tally between what is in the reports and what is on the ground. He said there is evidence on the economic progress of all the people that are reached.

“Much as people are mentioning the resources that they have, we have seen that people are doing a lot through this graduation model, but it is also important that through Lusubilo or the communities themselves should come up with an innovative way of keeping money because keeping a lot of money in the house is a threat in the society, so we should link them with the innovating way of keeping money such as mobile phone wallets or mobile banks”, Nyirongo said.

Nyirongoalso encouraged that since the people are aware of all the 6 food groups, Lusubilo should strive to link with the agriculture office to incorporate the Integrated Household Farming (IHF) so that at least there are other means of supporting these households through the agriculture sector.  

He also urged Lusubilo to continue to collaborate with other stakeholders in terms of reporting to prevent duplication of beneficiaries. “We need your engagement to various meetings at the council so that people should know what the organization is doing. In future programming, you need to factor in engagement meetings because the more we engage, the better we do”, said Mr Nyirongo.

The officials visiting Melina Mwalwimba household

The Field Officer for Lusubilo Nathan Sakala appreciated the coming of the visitors saying this has brought motivation to the organization and whatever comments have been highlighted, Lusubilo will try to work out on them for the betterment of the community.

The team that visited the area comprised of 7 Rumphi District Council officials from Gender, Planning, Social Welfare, Community Development and Agriculture Departments whilst Lusubilo had 7 officers among them the District Project Officer, Field Officer, Assistant MEAL Officer, communication team and the coordinator.

This heartwarming visit to Kajoni VDC stands as a shining example of what can be achieved when government offices, organizations and communities work together to bring about positive change. The future looks brighter for the people of Vwanya and Gezamchere villages, and this visit has sown the seeds of hope for a better tomorrow throughout the district.

By Communication Office.

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