UK Aid helps to Feed Our Future in Malawi and Zambia
An update on our work in Malawi and Zambia, after one year of implementing the Feed Our Future project
In April 2016, we began a three-year project to grow and strengthen our work in Malawi and Zambia. The expansion came as the President of Malawi announced a state of emergency because of worsening food shortages following last year’s devastatingly poor harvest.
Our capacity to respond to the Malawi food crisis was bolstered thanks to your wonderful support for Feed Our Future, our UK Aid Match backed campaign at the end of 2015. Match funding from the UK government is covering the annual feeding costs of 61,116 children in Malawi and Zambia who began receiving Mary’s Meals last year.
UK Aid Match funding is also being used to cover the annual feeding costs of more than 160,000 children who were already relying on Mary’s Meals and to provide additional training for volunteer cooks in both countries.
One such cook is 52-year-old Esme, who volunteers her time to prepare likuni phala (vitamin-enriched maize porridge) for the children at Mudi Primary School in Malawi. Sadly, both of Esme’s own children passed away in childhood, but she is determined to help ensure that other children from her community have the chance to learn.
She says: “I felt it necessary to do my part in developing the community, already the sponsors have done their part by sponsoring the feeding, so I feel it is my duty and within my capacity to do so too by doing my part and volunteering to cook the phala.
“I love the community spirit the volunteering has created between the women from different villages and the porridge is making the children look healthy.”
The mug of porridge the children receive from Mary’s Meals volunteers every day they attend school provides vital nourishment, especially at a time when many families have run out of food at home.
Fourteen-year-old Fyness Mdala is a confident, articulate young lady who lives with her grandmother, having lost both of her parents when she was just six. Her grandmother owns a small piece of land, which would usually yield maize, millet and pigeon peas, but they harvested nothing at all in 2016.
Fyness said: “My grandmother has been going begging for food. We depend on what she receives from well-wishers and if we can’t find any food we go hungry for one or two days. At those times the phala is the only meal I will eat.”
The teenager is open about the fact she would not be in school if Mary’s Meals weren’t providing food there. She said: “If the porridge wasn’t here, I would have quit school. I wouldn’t be able to concentrate in class on an empty stomach. I’m grateful, because if it wasn’t for the porridge I wouldn’t have a chance of achieving my dreams.
“I want to be a bank manager. It’s fascinating for me just watching a bank manager and I want to be like that.”