As a child growing up in Malawi, Florence did not receive a formal education. Her parents were not educated either, and Florence was raised in an environment where new ways of farming and living were not encouraged. Florence used to work on her family’s farm. They frequently ran out of food, she remembers.
Now 37, Florence is married with four children. In the past, she also struggled to provide enough for them. It made raising a family a very difficult job.
This entrenched cycle of poverty began affecting her children’s education as well, since they were needed to help with the farm work and could not attend school. When ADRA’s Tsogolo Labwino (Towards a Brighter Future) project began in the area, “it transformed the mindset of the people,” Florence says.
The project helped farmers like Florence build resilience and better manage climate shocks like drought. She learnt techniques about how to grow drought-resistant crops, improve irrigation, water management and food storage. Before too long, she began to see results.
“After following all the cultivation methods, I was able to harvest 10 bags of maize from the same land I used to harvest just 3 bags,” Florence says.
During the next season, she taught what she had learnt to other farmers to assist them too. She even began to expand the different types of crops she grew to help with soil fertility. To help survive the hard times, the project also promotes community savings and loans schemes.
Florence joined this group, enabling her to access a loan to buy a cow which provided manure as fertiliser and increased her crop yield. She now employs other people to work in her garden and hopes to open a small shop soon to boost her household income.
Through her hard work, Florence is a shining example in her flourishing community. But most impressively, Florence has demonstrated her generosity by teaching others in her community techniques to improve their food security.
ADRA is supported by the Australian government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program.