Christmas is a period of joy and celebration for people around the world. It's a time to share the gift of love, and, as a new year begins, to look to the future with hope.
Yet families across Malawi are facing a fight for survival this Christmas due to climate-related crop devastation, caused by the climate crisis. This has impacted both their food security and their livelihoods, leaving them facing an insecure future.
Around 84% of people in Malawi are dependent on rain-fed, small-scale agriculture, which is highly vulnerable to weather-related shocks and declining natural resources. This year, crops were drowned by torrential rain and flooding in some parts of the country – while in other areas, crops shrivelled in prolonged dry weather.
Christian Aid's Social Support for Resilience Programme (SOSURE) in Mzimba, Malawi
Social Support for Resilience (SOSURE) is an ambitious programme designed to strengthen the resilience of the most vulnerable households in Malawi. It is giving people the skills to meet their basic food and nutrition needs, to develop small businesses and to improve their farming.
- Communities are taught climate-smart agriculture, including soil and water conservation techniques.
- They are educated about nutrition, cooking, making their own fertiliser from manure and the benefits of having their own gardens.
- These are changes that will help them grow more food to eat and sell, giving them an income so they can educate their children and save money for the future.
It was through Christian Aid’s local partner that Fyness learned to farm in a way that helps her nurture her crops in times of drought and nourishes them at no cost. Alongside maize, Fyness is now able to grow other much-needed foods like soya, peanuts, and beans.
Many people in Malawi use firewood or charcoal as fuel for cooking, and wood is also a resource people are forced to sell when they have few other ways of earning an income.
- To preserve precious forests, new energy-efficient cookstoves that use less wood are being introduced, and people are taught how to make them to sell, giving them another income stream.
- So that people have a more secure economic future, they’re brought together in village savings and loans groups, enabling them to develop small businesses, while small-scale farmers are helped to join cooperatives and marketing groups to get better prices for their produce.
A gift this Christmas will help to support further projects like SOSURE, enabling more people to learn the skills to build a better future for themselves, their children and their grandchildren.