Kusamala will soon begin the second year of the JANEEMO project which is being implemented in Dowa district, north of Lilongwe. The project aims at improving household food security, income generation and environmental stewardship. Having gone through the first year of the project, we have begun to evaluate the implementation so as to draw a picture of how the project is going. The evaluation was also important because it is through the past experiences that the second year of the project will be informed. We are identifying best practices and challenges and used those to make necessary changes so as to increase effectiveness and efficiency. In line with this evaluation, I made a four day field visit to the Dowa communities from the 18thto 21stof February, 2013.
The main objective of the visit was to establish the current position of the project in the different JANEEMO clubs. Specifically, the trip was aimed at establishing the following: the approximate number of trees planted, the number of people that are practising permaculture and what activities they are doing, the number of people in each club and what their feeling is towards the project’s management, what the club members need from Kusamala so that they can better participate in the project and, finally, how we can best operate in the Dowa community and efficiently support our representation in the field.
I spent the four days visiting fourteen clubs and viewing the trees that have been planted by the clubs. The general outlook of the tree planting exercise is good and encouraging. All the trees that were in the nurseries have been successfully out planted. The communities are even more interested in planting more trees in the next season. They are particularly interesting in planting fruit trees, which my bring about some short term benefits. They requested Kusamala to support them with training on grafting, more support on implementing permaculture and also cooking classes. The trip was very important will help in the successful implementation of the second year of the project.