By Mphatso Nkuonera
LILONGWE-(MANA)-Communities in Dowa district have hailed Mthandizi social cash transfer that has led to the creation of several micro-finance and environmental conservation initiatives leading to a better living of the poor.
Through Mthandiza Social cash transfer in Dowa, communities started Bank Mkhonde groups to save and multiply their money, leading to some families constructing brick houses, animal farming and bee farming among many.
Upon seeing the interest in the five community groups with two hundred members each, Community Savings and Investment Promotion (COMSIP) came in to offer lessons on money saving and small scale business operations.
Speaking on Wednesday at Mbeza village, on Wednesday during a visit of Parliamentary Committee on Social and Community Affairs, Group Village Head Mbeza appealed for the continuation of the eight months’ project that started in September 2020 and phased out in April this year, saying its impacts meant for poverty alleviation.
“I am delighted to inwardly acknowledge the impact of micro-social and environmental conservation initiatives that were born through the Mthandizi.
“Tobvi micro-finance catchment area that fall under my jurisdiction has plenty of tangible results to point at, namely restoration of soil fertility by skillfully controlling erosion, re-afforestation of all hills around this area, economic empowerment of families through Bank Mkhonde groups where locals have learnt how to save and multiply their money.
“The Bank Mkhonde groups have managed to save MK6.3million, and sending our children to school is not a big challenge in most of the families unlike in the past, thanks Mthandizi Social Cash transfer,” Mbeza said.
The GVH added that the areas which were sand mining hot spots and always gave poor harvests due to soil infertility caused by serious soil erosion have now turned into bumper yield producing.
“Last year we planted 36, 000 seedlings with a 45 per cent survival rate. We have already prepared 32 000 seedlings expected to be planted during the 2020 and 2021 tree planting season. The trees have assisted in provision of wood, shade, rainfall improvement and adding of soil fertility for some specific trees planted in fields,” said Anosi Akimu one of the Tobvi’s two hundred-member group.
Samuel Chiwawasa, told Mana that using money raised from Chisomo saving group he has now built a good house, and has plans to roof it with Iron sheets.
“I did not dream of building such a good house, but I owe it to Mthandizi social cash transfer and COMSIP,” he said.
Dowa District Commissioner Alex Mdooko, thanked Tobvi community for digging a 3.1 kilometers earth road on self-initiative that, has improved mobility and access to the communities.
Committee Chair of Parliament on Social and Community Affairs, and legislator for Dedza North, Savel Kafwafwa said the committee was convinced on the initiatives have improved lives of vulnerable households through cash transfers.
“As a committee we would like to assure communities that these initiatives will continue with our blessing. We have reasons to smile and come back to see more lives changed. I must concur with communities who have openly asked for an upward adjustment of daily wages from MK900 to MK1, 500 will be considered, it is a valid concern, these people need more motivation,” he said.
Each member collected MK24, 600 monthly for 24 days which communities pulled their resources together and started Ban Mkhonde, where local save and borrow money to meet their needs.
The National Local Government Finance Committee (NLGCFC), Ministry of Economic Planning and Development are some of the government arms providing various technical and monetary support on the communities smooth running of their initiatives.