Family Futures Farming Fund

The ‘hungry season’ in Malawi brings famine to around 35% of the population every year - at least 6.5million people in 2016. Throughout its projects, LSU educates communities on nutrition and permaculture, using sustainable farming to create opportunities for enterprise and food security.

We funded Oliver's training at the Kusumala Institute, to become the in-house permaculture expert and he works with communities alongside adult education expert, Wiseman, to create self-sufficiency.

Sustainable Family Futures

In 2016, Oliver and Wiseman,trained 10 vulnerable families in sustainable farming and business, who received 0% micro-loans and mentoring over 2 years. They also received a care package of basic supplies, the last one they’d need.

Many of the beneficiaries rented out their land to work on other farms because they couldn’t afford resources, trapping them in poverty. Their families would eat 2-3 meals per week during the hungry season. They can now feed themselves nutritiously all year, with surplus crops paying for the next inputs and basic goods.

In 2017, the families harvested over 4 times as much as previous years. 100% are able to feed their families all year, and return the first instalment of their loans. The initiative has even been nick-named ‘Nsunga Moyo’ in Chichewa local language, meaning ‘LIFE SAVER’ in English! Read their stories.

The Sustainable School 

By using sustainable farming to cultivate the poor, sandy soil, & building a school kitchen at Mkunkhu School, LSU aimed to reduce the effect of famine on education and attendance. The flagship project has created a blueprint for the model.

The school is now fully self-sufficient, and feeds the 450 pupils daily from the school farm who are taught about permaculture and nutrition. Surplus crops pay for resources and LSU provides mentoring. Attendance has increased by 30%. Read more...

“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to be self sufficient” - Michel De Montaigne

The Challenge

If a child under 5 suffers from malnutrition, they will never recover. Half of Malawian children under 5 are chronically malnourished.

Traditional farming uses damaging fertilisers and relies on few crops, dependent on annual rains. Only those able to save enough food or money from the previous harvest have an adequate food supply during growing season. Many over-sell their produce to pay-off debt, school fees, housing, and other day-to-day needs.

Prior to Love Support Unite’s involvement with Mkunkhu, the school had a 60% drop-out rate; 30% of children went to school without breakfast, whilst only 10% of pupils ate anything at all during a school day, and, during the ‘hungry season’, some children could eat as little as 1 meal in 4 days.

The community at Mkhnkhu and it's children used to walk 8 km from the school to receive one bowl of porridge from a government-feeding program.  

Our approach

Sustainable Family Futures aims to create food security for the most vulnerable families, with 7 or more dependents, including orphans and the elderly.

By creating enterprise through business training alongside permaculture training, families will be able to afford to continue their children's education.

We created a sustainable school model so that Mkunkhu school can feed all its pupils and generate revenue through farming. The school provides nutritious meals every day, improving learning and attendance.

LSU is able to provide famine relief for participants on other projects, including Mother and Baby Wellbeing classes, with produce from its sustainable farms.

Through self-sufficiency, communities are less dependent on aid and donations.

Future

By 2018, LSU aims to create sustainable futures for at least 25 more families. We need your help to fundraise / donate £500 per family, and make this possible.

We have now created a blueprint for the Sustainable School model which could be replicated throughout Malawi and beyond, to create food security and income. 

A sustainable farm for Tilinanu Orphange will help to make it self-sufficient by creating food security for the 34 girls and generate revenue to cover living costs, so that fundraising can be solely for school fees.

Children are taught nutrition and permaculture, encouraging sustainable farming at home. 

Children are more likely to stay in school and out of labour if they can be fed at school and at home, and are less likely to enter early marriages.

 

Impact

  • 2016 Sustainable Families harvested over 4 times as much, so 100% can feed themselves all year and return first instalments of their loans.
  • Mkunkhu Sustainable School feeds 450 children daily from the school farm; attendance has increased by 30% since 2016.
  • 40 smallholder farms since the project's inception.
  • Better practices improve the health of the land and stop topsoil being washed away
  • Varied crop growth encourages trade and exports, benefitting the Malawian economy.

 

Opportunities

  • £50 can provide watering cans and hoses to water crops
  • £100 can provide basic gravity irrigation equipment
  • £500 can provide one family with Sustainable Famine Relief
  • £1,000 can create a sustainable farm
  • £3000 buys enough seeds to feed a school of 450 pupils
  • £15 000 provides drip irrigation for a  Sustainable School

How you can get involved

We believe in partnerships and the power of connection. By working together and through creating opportunities which benefit individuals, organisations communities and influence global trends and policies we succeed in empowering communities in poverty.