One Parent’s Brave Journey to Food Security

Food security is a critical problem because Malawi is undergoing a prolonged drought, that is devastating its agricultural crops. Story Time conducted surveys between parents and students, related to how they feel about their agriculture process. Tilimbe is a single mother, who described her experiences and struggles with providing food security for her family.

Initiatives focusing on community needs are much needed and asked for in the community around Nsondole CDSS. These projects focus on improving the infrastructure and nutrition needs of the community as a whole, to encourage educational pursuits as a valid option. The Infrastructure Improvement Project (IIP) mainly aims to improve the effectiveness of community-run programs. Currently, Story Time and the Co-Authors are building a library at Nsondole. Partnering with local groups, we hope to introduce a new library and media center. Local leaders are ready to train teachers to run the facility, and the bricks for the building have already been made! This project provides students with a reliable resource to learn and study from for school. Other Community Needs projects include building a girl’s hostel, a sanitation facility, a kitchen, a science and technology lab, teacher’s housing, and a health station.

Our focus for this week is the Food Security Project (FSP). The goal for this initiative is to be able to create a small shareholder school farm with goats, chickens and crops. Through the farm, the community hopes to create an agriculture network for small farmers to learn techniques to stay afloat and provide for their families.

Here’s a story from Tilimbe, a single mother.

“At home I usually spend 2 hours, from 6am to 8am on the farm. Because I am a single parent I have to participate in every activity in the garden like, tilling, planting, harvesting, etc.

“I grow maize, sorgam, and peas, but pests [destroy] the crop. I often do not get anything for harvest. The crops I grow are only for food.

“My child doesn’t eat anything until he is home for lunch after getting off from school. Also, most of the [time], depending on the availability of food, he goes to bed with an empty stomach. He also doesn’t take any lunch to school since the only food he eats for breakfast is porridge and he can’t take it to school. He doesn't have any money to buy food since I don’t really have the the money to provide.

Survey participants and a Story Time volunteer.

Survey participants and a Story Time volunteer.

“Usually, my child eats nsima [a rice porridge], sweet potatoes, cassava, and rice if it’s available. He prefers to eat nsima, because it gives more energy.

“If food was offered at school, my child would get food for free therefore easing the burden to feed him.

“He could get a healthy body reducing the risk of sickness that will also reduce the amount of times I have to take him to get medication, which will reduce the cost of it.

“Finally he will have more concentration in school with the energy from the food, which will hopefully get him better grades. When he is not able to eat at school, he will complain that he is hungry and can’t concentrate in class, after school he would [go] for piece-work to get some money to buy food at school.

“Me and my child would be willing to participate at the school garden and learn and practice the knowledge given there. This program could change my living standard after following the practices learnt, and then I could harvest a good yield.”

A small sharecrop field. Fields like this are common.

A small sharecrop field. Fields like this are common.

The Food Security Project is very important for the communities because it’s a chance for them to improve nutrition for the children and everyone else, and it provides a chance to create financial independence by promoting sustainability and environmentally-centered agricultural practices. If Tilimbe’s story inspires you, learn more about the latest Community Needs projects by clicking the button below.