June 2019: PHALOMBE, MALAWI
The Face-to-Face Project, along with support from The Charitable Foundation, is implementing an emergency response plan to help several of the flood-damaged communities in the southern region of Malawi. Just in June, 341 families learned how to create victory gardens.
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.
April 2019: MALAWI
Most people don't realize that Malawi not only suffers from extreme drought, but also in recent years a spate of major floods. These extreme weather situations result in even more hunger and poverty.
This past March, Malawi, along with Mozambique and Zimbabwe, experienced severe flooding due to heavy rains and tropical Cyclone Idai. Phalombe, one of the areas F2F works in, was one of the 13 districts affected, with the President of Malawi declaring a state of disaster. According to the World Food Programme, preliminary projections indicated that at least 860,000 people were affected in the direct-path of the cyclone and many villagers were moved to temporary camps.
While some of the victory gardens were damaged they are in much better shape than the maize fields. The Face-to-Face Project’s Victory Garden Campaign provides long-term relief to Malawian farmers by teaching them to bring food-growing into the villages and next to their homes, helping to alleviate relying on a once-a-year maize harvest that is now decimated due to the floods.
Cassim Seleman and Mary Chimbamba, pictured below in both their ruined maize fields and surviving victory gardens, are among the many villagers who lost their maize fields, but the good news is their victory gardens are still in tact and will help them survive this year.
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, 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.
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.
The Rising Stars
HIV+ Youth Inspiring Others to Live With Pride
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 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.