Some of the members have asked me to explain the activities that we can do to facilitate development of our area. I have to admit it is not about me doing the talking and leading the way. We all need to crack our heads and think about what we can do. In my mind, the issue of resources (money) comes first. We need to figure out how we can generate money to ensure we start implementing some of the ideas that members will put in place. We therefore need to put in place a proposal that members can take to would be sponsors for potential funding and that is just one way. Talking about the activities, the following come in mind on top of my head;
1. Water: this can be either borehole drilling or shallow wells. Shallow wells are somehow manageable in terms of costs. My interim research shows that it costs approximately MK350, 000 to complete a shallow well which is 20 meters deep. Boreholes are way expensive at around 2.5 million. All villages that are close to rivers or streams are ideal for shallow wells or better still people dig and then we can install pumps to protect the water.
2. Income generating project: we need to start a small project which can have roller effects for our community. Pig production is one example of the very fast rewarding projects I have implemented. If well planned, this could easily reach out to entire community within 2-3 years. I recommended this be done on a pass-on system where first offspring’s are given to other members on the list
3. Education: you will agree with me that children are no longer interested in going to school due to a number of reasons which we cannot discuss here. However, I do feel there is an opportunity that we can energize the young ones to take education seriously. I feel setting up a small bursary scheme for those that get selected to secondary school from our schools is one of the best ways. Secondly, the members can agree to establish secondary school which will also be generating income for our activities in the area. In doing so we can ensure that children in our area have an opportunity to complete school and then we will stop the alcoholic life that has terrorized our area.
4. Environment. It is high time we promoted planting of trees such as the ones in Chikangawa for future use. Our duty would be to support development of nurseries and provision of these trees to every member to plant in non-fertile soils. This is a way will reduce soil erosion and drain.
5. Clinic. This is a long term issue but I was shocked to see people travelling all the way to Kavinya for medical attention and they do pay. This means it can be done as a business while supporting the health needs of our people. I ask Dr. Phinias Mfuni to research and give members his side of this idea.
6. The last idea which is also long term is to think how we can develop the “Nkhota” in Rukulu in an irrigation scheme. Am pretty sure this is a mountain demand but it is worthy thinking of if we are to develop a proposal to fundraise. This area I believe can be a bread basket for Mzimba ranging from maize, rice and what have you.
Let me conclude by saying not all of these will require our personal money. But most of these may require our efforts to fundraise from other well-wishers. Two things I think we can do is the piggery project which with only MK500,000 can be set live and kicking in more than 5 villages growing to all the villages in the long run and the shallow wells as most people have the wells already dug and we would only be required to install pumps.
I rest my case and hope to hear your comments. I suggest Symon Mtonga to coordinate this for us on the interim.
Frank C. Kasonga
US Embassy, Lilongwe