SOS Children’s Village Visits Lusubilo Community Care to Learn the Transformative Impacts of the Graduation Model.

In an uplifting encounter, SOS Children’s Village, an international Non-Governmental Organization, on 1st November 2023 paid a visit to Lusubilo Community Care with a field visit to Katili in Karonga district. The purpose was to gain insights into the incredible success of the Graduation Model and to hear firsthand information from the beneficiaries whose lives have been positively transformed through the Integrated Support for Orphans Vulnerable Children and Youth (IOVCY) project. The IOVCY project in its household approach uses the graduation model to bring impacts to the communities.

After listening to theoretical graduation model presentations from Lusubilo officials, the team from SOS Children’s Village and Lusubilo Community Care embarked on a field visit to Katili to appreciate first-hand information from the beneficiaries themselves. They were welcomed with open arms by the beneficiaries visited. The beneficiaries eagerly showcased their tangible impacts the model has had on their lives. Through their stories, we caught a glimpse of the incredible journey that has led them from vulnerability to self-reliance.

Wedson Luwe is one of the beneficiaries whose life have been changed. He explained the interventions that Lusubilo has done on his household. He elaborated the consumption support, livelihood support and the messaging received from Lusubilo. After receiving consumption and livelihood support, the family decided to venture into maize vending business and through the same business they have managed to build a house and they are able to take care of the family. “At first, we were very poor, we were even failing to eat properly but now with the coming in of Lusubilo things have really changed in our family. Now we are able to eat 3 times, we have built a house, and we participate in SILC groups, things which were very difficult for us to do at first” Luwe said.

Wedson Luwe house before Lusubilo’s interventions
Wedson Luwe house after Lusubilo’s interventions

The household currently boasts of 3 goats and 20 chickens. From their business, they have savings in their newly opened NBS bank account in excess of K200 000, cash at hand in excess of K300 000 and iron sheets ready to roof their house. Mr Luwe said that as a family they will always follow what Lusubilo has taught them especially on concepts of WASH, business and others. Luwe explained that “even if Lusubilo can stop supporting us today, we cannot worry because we have everything and whatever Lusubilo taught us, we will follow properly “.

Another beneficiary visited was Taona Kaonga who has also managed to build a house from the support that Lusubilo gave them. She said “at first, I did not know how to do business but with the coming in of Lusubilo we are now able to invest something from that business. Thanks to Lusubilo who helped us with money to start a business, we started cloth vending and with the money we get from the business we are able to pay school fees for our children“. The household also practices dimba farming along Lwasho River.

Taona Kaonga house before Lusubilo’s interventions
Taona Kaonga house after Lusubilo’s interventions

Next to appreciate the impacts of graduation model was Kwese Mwaulambo. After narrating her situation and how Lusubilo helped, she showcased her success by explaining that she has over 60 chickens, 12 goats and 50 pigeons among other livestock she has. She is doing tomato and chicken vending as her business.

Kwese Mwaulambo with her livestock

The team also appreciated Good Hope SILC group. The group warmly welcomed the visiting team and explained how they operate. The explained the interventions that Lusubilo had done to them by helping them with knowledge on the management and operation of SILC groups and provision of personnel that have been visiting them to see the groups’ progress. The group has 28 members with their combined saving at K1 236 580 which they expect to have a share out on the 10th of November, 2023.

Speaking with the Program Director for SOS, George Kondowe said seeing that their strategic direction is to focus more on community routed programs, they thought it wise to visit Lusubilo Community Care to learn more about the graduation model.

He said “we have learnt that Lusubilo is doing very well along these areas through the graduation model and based on the presentations that we have had, it is clear that the model is very good that can transform families, and as we went to the ground, we were able to compare the notes from what we saw in the presentation and what is on the ground”.  It is very interesting to learn that using modest amount of resources a family can be transformed from where it was to the level where it is able to sustain itself without also relying very much on Lusubilo.

Kondowe urged Lusubilo to keep up the good work and progressively continue expanding so that it can reach more by using the very few resources as well as minimal human resource. He added that Lusubilo should continue to learn to draw lessons on the implementation of the program to improve for the better. “What Lusubilo is doing is in line with the guideline for graduation model on what government of Malawi has put in place, so am sure Lusubilo can continue building on those games in order to reach more families and again more partners can continue learning from Lusubilo hence creating better environment for families in Karonga and other places”, said Kondowe.

SOS Officials appreciating a goat kraal at one of the beneficiary’s household.

The entourage from SOS Children’s Village comprised of the Program Director and 4 others while Lusubilo was comprised of the District Project Officer, Agriculture and Livelihood Officer, Field Officer and 3 other officers.

This remarkable visit serves as a reminder that when organizations come together to share knowledge and experience, they make a significant difference in the lives of those they serve. Lusubilo Community Care’s graduation model is a shining example of what can be achieved through dedication, hard work and the power of community.

By Communication Office

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