PROGRAM UPDATES

MAY 2019: PHALOMBE, MALAWI

The Face-to-Face Project, along with The Charitable Foundation, is implementing a 7-month emergency response plan to help several of the flood-damaged communities in the southern region of Malawi. In 7 months, this new Project will mobilize 7 facilitator teams to teach 2,450 families in 14 villages to create victory gardens that feed 8,085 people, based on 1 garden feeding 3 people. Families can begin having food within 3 weeks after creating their gardens, and then continue harvesting throughout the year. Just as importantly, this Project develops 14 facilitator teams who will be able to scale up the program as they create more gardens in nearby communities.

17,450 gardens will be made by the Campaign and this response.

december 2018: Malawi

Between 2014-16, The Face-to-Face Project carried out pilot garden programs, leading up to the launch of the Victory Garden Campaign in July 2016. By December 2016, around 2,000 gardens had been created.

Two years later, there are over 21,000 gardens feeding around 63,000 people in 208 villages.The Campaign, having expanded at an astonishing 870% growth rate, is now in two large districts in Malawi, and demand for the garden continues to be extremely high.

november 2018: Phalombe, malawi

The Face-to-Face Project, in partnership with the EKARI Foundation, have recently conducted a series of Victory Garden facilitator and leadership trainings. Facilitators have been selected from 7 EKARI communities to be Victory Garden teachers. They will be tasked with teaching communities members about Victory Gardens.

september 2018: Phalombe, malawi

At The Face-to-Face Project we believe involving everyone within a community is crucial to the success of our Victory Garden Campaign. That is why we take extra steps to make sure garden workshops are held specifically for youth groups. 

Having a whole community feel involved creates a sense that change comes from within. We've heard from several families that when both parents are away during the day many of the kids have been able to step in and take care of the garden, ultimately making sure there's food for everyone.

As Nelson Mandela once said, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." In September, The Face-to-Face Project put that quote to the test, and conducted 3 workshops educating 153 kids from the Phalombe region of southern Malawi about victory gardens.

August 2018: Phalombe, malawi

In southern Malawi, our goal is to feed 50,000 people in 2 years. We started in December 2017 by training 69 villagers to be garden facilitators. By August 2018, these energized facilitators have created over 5,000 no-cost, high-yield home gardens that feed 12,000 people — a great start to meeting our 2-year goal.

Phalombe Facilitators with The Face-to-Face Project Team

june 2018: Tanzania

In June 2017, The Face-to-Face Project traveled to Tanga, Tanzania, to conduct home Victory Garden workshops. Workshops took place with about 50 students from the Kigombe Primary School, and were followed by a workshop training their parents the next day.

Now almost a year later, those same gardens are flourishing. Hassan Juma, Headmaster for Kigombe primary school, hopes to continue expanding the Campaign in the area. In fact the gardens are so delicious that the nearby monkeys have developed quite an interest!!!

*Special thanks to Katy Homans & Hassan Juma for making our initial workshops possible! 

MAY 2018: KENYA

Mike Chikakuda and Lameck Mandevu, from The Face-to-Face Project’s Malawi office, travelled to Nairobi in May to present our Victory Garden Campaign at the opening session of the Africa Climate Smart Agriculture Summit.

The Face-to-Face Project's Malawi office also traveled to Kenya in the beginning of May to conduct a 3-day victory garden workshop for the staff of the Africa Sand Dam Foundation. The Foundation reached out to us after seeing our success in Malawi. They wanted to undergo a training workshop so they could begin to teach their communities how to improve food production and develop food security.

*Special thanks to The Charitable Foundation for their support in making this workshop possible.

APRIL 2018: Phalombe & lilongwe, malawi

Cristiano reported back, “I’m really happy with the results we are achieving during this training. The participants have really appreciated the content of the training and are actively participating throughout the 3-days."

The Face-to-Face Project was able to bring permaculture expert, Mr. Cristiano Marinucci, over to Malawi to conduct a series of advanced permaculture workshops. Cristiano, founder of the French NGO Cultures Permanentes, led 7 days of workshops for local garden facilitators to learn more about soil rejuvenation, water conservation, and dry season cultivation.

Two workshops were held — the first in Phalombe District, located in southern Malawi, and the second in the Lilongwe District, in central Malawi. The Phalombe workshop was geared to new facilitators, who were first introduced to victory gardens in late 2017, and was a basic introduction to permaculture and maximizing food production in small victory gardens.

Cristiano discusses new principles and practices that develop more fertile soil, higher yields, and better long-term solutions to food security and extreme poverty.

Site observation and trainings on rainwater harvesting principles and maximizing benefits of different varieties of plants together in the same space.

Construction and use of an A-frame level to mark contour lines for ridges and swales to control rainwater flow.

The second workshop was held in Lilongwe and geared to more experienced facilitators, introducing more advanced concepts and practices to grow food not only in their gardens, but also in woodlots as well as maize fields. In these workshops, permaculture, bio-intensive, and organic farming skills were taught, providing participants with a deeper level of knowledge regarding the relationships between soil and moisture, root health and productivity, and companion planting and increased harvests.

Arrival of The Face-to-Face Project local garden facilitators.

Pre-planning session on the tools for realizing a good Permaculture Design (sector analysis, zoning, element analysis, resources analysis).

Demonstration of intensive planting techniques, including double-digging of the soil leads to long-term improvement in soil quality.

Learning the importance of mulching and living ground cover. Teaching good practices such as food forest, intercropping and alley cropping as an alternative to maize monoculture fields.

Adress Mayola, a founding Club member, announces that she is HIV+ to a crowd. Because more advanced HIV medicines are not easily available in rural Malawi, Adress has for years struggled with leg and nerve pain. Still, her indomitable spirit continues to inspire all who meet her.

Strong & Positive Mother's Club

HIV+ people in Malawi, and especially those who live in rural areas, still face huge challenges with caring for their health and living without fear of discrimination. HIV+ mothers bear the brunt of this challenge, as they work endlessly to find ways to feed their children and take care of their homes.

In 2015 and 2016, a devastating drought ruined the harvests of rural Malawian’s one main crop — maize — and resulted in over 6.5 million people needing food relief. HIV+ people face even greater challenges, as clinics have run out of basic medicines and opportunities to find food is increasingly scarce.

HIV+ mothers in particular face great challenges as they continuing caring for their families, even as their own health is compromised due to lack of food.

The Face-to-Face Project’s Strong & Positive Mothers Club helps HIV+ mothers in rural Malawi gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence so they can step out and be public role models who help fellow HIV+ villagers lead healthy, positive lives. 

As more and more women become inspired at seeing such strong, brave women, the Mothers Club has grown from 16 to currently over 40 members in 12 months. Following the lead of older Club mothers, new members know they will learn how to tell people they are HIV+, and to overcome any shame of being associated with the virus.

Public Outreaches and HIV Testing

The Mothers Club carried out numerous public outreach events, surprising large crowds when they announced they are all HIV+, and winning them over with their knowledge, compassion, and spirit. The Face-to-Face Project organized HIV mobile clinics to test people at several of these outreaches. Due in large part to the mothers telling people they must know their status, hundreds of people got tested.

Because of this outreach, large numbers of males have gotten tested, chiefs have pro-claimed that they have never seen such strong, proud women before, and men asked if they too could either join the Mothers Club (well, no) or form a club of their own.

Photos Right: Before a crowd of hundreds and over 50 chiefs, Face-to-Face Project’s Strong & Positive Mothers Club announced that they are all HIV+. Never before had this audience heard of such a thing. The mothers encouraged people to know their status, become knowledgeable about treatment and care, and stand together to fight HIV stigma and discrimination. 112 people got tested at the mobile HIV testing table that was set up for the day. 4 tested positive for HIV.

As thanks to their ground-breaking achievements, The Face-to-Face Project took the mothers to visit Lake Malawi — Malawi’s most treasured landmark. Although only a 2 hours drive away, for most members this marked the first time to see the lake, and jubilation and joyful tears overflowed.

The Rising Stars

HIV+ Youth Inspiring Others to Live With Pride

The Rising Stars boys football team play against other youth groups, as well as teams made up of village chiefs.



The Face-to-Face Project’s RISING STARS TEEN CLUB program helps HIV+ youth learn to care for themselves and their disease. Furthermore, the program encourages them to see their HIV not as a source of shame but as a stepping stone that leads to new opportunities and to them becoming community leaders.

The Rising Stars girls netball team. Playing sports in public is a thrill for the girls.


 

 

The Rising Stars are also Africa’s first HIV+ boys football and girls netball sports team. Through sports, the youth learn how to disclose their status in public, motivate people to get tested, and help those who are HIV+ to seek treatment, understand their medication, and deal with HIV stigma and discrimination.

Because of their efforts to assist rural youth groups in fighting HIV, the Rising Stars have met with Malawi’s First Lady, an envoy of congresswomen from the USA, and soccer superstars from other African nations.

Members of the Rising Stars Teen Club