UNDP Partners with the community in Mwanjawantu - Life comes back to Ms. Anna Sakala
In the south of Petauke district lies a village called Kaumbwe in Mwanjawantu; 40kms off great east road in Chief Mwanjawantu’s area. Mwanjawantu residents are dependent on peasant farming of mainly maize, groundnuts, cotton and sunflower. There have been reports of abject poverty experienced by the communities who dwell in this village. So far a number of women, children, widows and widowers have benefited from the interventions of the project. Below are selected stories that show-case the impact the interventions of the project has had on the lives of the participating communities. These stories where obtained during the project backstopping visit by the combined team from MCDMCH, UNJT and the Project Staff.
Ms. Anna Sakala lives in Kaumbwe village of Mwanjawantu. She had eleven children with her then husband who just left her for no discernable reason in 2006. Anna was left alone to take care of her eleven children but due to some unforeseen circumstances, she saw the untimely death of her seven children. She is now left with four children but has three to look after. Anna in this story is quoted saying “Nesokonezeka nzelu nazimene zinanichitikila ndipo zintu zinazache nukumbuka lini” (I had lost my mind due to what had happened and I do not even remember some of the things up to now).
Anna is one of the beneficiaries of the project’s interventions with a story to tell having received one 10kg bag of maize seed, one 2.5kg bag of sunflower, four bags of fertilizer being two top and two basal dressing. Despite the drought that hit the areas for over two weeks, Anna was able to harvest 5 ox-carts of unshelled maize which gave her a total of 32 bags of 50kg shelled maize. She sold 15 bags of 50kg maize to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) at K65, 000 each. She returned 2 bags of 50kgs to the cooperative she belongs to. The remainder of the maize will be for her consumption together with her children. She intends to use some of the money to build a house of her own because the one she lives in now belongs to Chigwilizano Women’s who intend to seize it from her anytime.
Anna said, “Ndalama zimenezi nitola pambuyo pongulisa vincebele kumusika, nikwasha kugula chintenge chanyowani, zakulya zaana anga ndi ine nazinazache zofunikila panya’nda (With the same money I got after selling my maize to FRA, am now able to buy food for my children, a new chitenge for myself and few other necessities for my household.” Of the three children she is looking after, one has gone only up to grade 9 due to lack of funds to take her to senior secondary school and the other one made it to grade 8 but could also not continue due to lack of financial support her last born daughter who is eleven years old is doing grade five.
Previously before she got assistance from the project through small grants, she used to sell tomatoes and also depended on looking for ganyu (piecework) from the nearby and afar villages. The amount of work involved in ganyu was too much for her but only got very little money which she had to use to buy tomatoes for resale at the market and also use the same money to buy food for her household. Her life was very difficult and she described it as inhumane. “From the time I was assisted by this project (Anna said), my life has changed from that of an animal-like to that of a human being. At least, with the maize that I reserved from my last harvest and the money I got from the maize that I sold, I do have food to eat”.
She was grateful to the project for considering her to benefit from their good course which has positively changed her life and implored the project to continue helping the poor because there are lot more people in her status who desperately need similar help. Her fervent prayer is for God to keep blessing the project and its support team for them not to relent in providing good life to the poor masses. This is and that they should not think they are wasting time. Her appeal was that she is assisted again especially with fertilizer so that she can build on what she started and be able to stand on her own in the next farming seasons.