Thursday, October 29, 2009

Disaster Risk Reduction Project

Today I would like to tell about the work Andre VanWoerden does in Malawi. He is working with Emanuel International in Zomba, Malawi, a in Disaster Risk Reduction Project. The project employs 3 staff members in its office and 20 more who work in the Machinga District where 45 villages are located. They try to reduce the risk of climate change and help increase food production. Some of the ways that they try to increase food production is by introducing new crops and small scale irrigation. They try to improve the lives of villagers by introducing them to fuel efficient stoves that use less wood and thereby reduce deforestation. They also encourage replanting of trees to that same end. Also they have started village savings and loan services to help people start their own businesses. To summarize, the project seeks to increase the resilience of Malawian households against any major setback.

One of the examples of the work the Project does is a river rerouting project in the Namasalima area. Several years ago the Domasi river was rerouted so that people could have access to the fertile soil of the river bed. In February 2008 after three days of heavy rains, the Domasi river dyke broke and flooded the surrounding villages. In April DRRP distributed basic household items and made up for the crops that were destroyed in the flood. In October the United Nations Development Project provided funds to DRRP for the repair of the Domasi dyke. Fifteen thousand bags fool of sand were needed to patch it up. This October DRRP decided to reroute the Domasi river back into its original bed. Five hundred men from 13 villages were hired to dig the new route for the river. Another dyke was constructed to keep the river where it should be. Seven thousand bags of sand were used to make this new dyke and for some minor repairs on the old dyke. Because the local villagers planted their corn and tomatoes in the fertile river bed, the workers first had to dig up the entire crop and replant it someplace else. And the work began! For 3 week in the cool early hours of each morning 500 men rushed to beat the rainy season that could bring more flooding. Now 2600 feet of the new bed is done and the workers will be paid today, Friday October 30, with each one receiving a 110 lb bag of corn and 22 lbs of dried beans.

Malawi is a desperately poor country but fortunately there are organizations that are making considerable progress in alleviating some of the most pressing needs. If you are interested in finding out more about Disaster Risk Reduction Project, go to

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