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MWASIP Disburses K170 Million to 4 Neno CMCs

Neno DC presenting a grant cheque Neno DC presenting a grant cheque - pic by Steve Kalungwe

The Malawi Watershed Services Improvement Program (Mwasip) has on Thursday disbursed a K170 million grant to four Neno district Catchment Management Committees as a token of appreciation for their environmental management efforts.

The money which has gone to Chekucheku, Mfundazi, Godeni and Mkulumadzi Catchment Management Committees (CMCs) in all the four Traditional Authorities of Neno is meant to encourage the people to desist from depleting the environment but rather find alternative means of earning a living.

Neno District Commissioner Rosemary Nawasha hopes the funds which are a revolving basket will help mitigate issues of deforestation as the beneficiaries will be engaged in small businesses and do away with charcoal burning.

She says that for the environment to be restored, there is a need for the people to be motivated and given alternatives; hence, the coming in of the Mwasip project in Neno.

Nawasha observes that "for people to be independent and stop cutting down trees for charcoal business, we need to empower them with resources such as loans so that they are able to venture into agribusinesses and earn decent money."

In his remarks, Mfundazi Catchment Management Committee vice secretary Tanazio Mulikita says the money will help members with startup capital but was quick to ask for more funding as a measure of wooing more people to participate in land management interventions such as conservation agriculture.

He said that now that they have startup capital, they will be able to transform their socio-economic status and teach others on conservation agriculture like construction of contour bands, swareys and box ridges.

He however asked men to be patriotic in the use of the money, saying it should be a weapon of binding families together and not disband them.

Neno district director of planning and development Charles Lomoni and Sub-Traditional Authority Chikalema have appealed to the beneficiaries to repay the loans, which are at 5-10 percent interest rate, so that they become generational loans.

Meanwhile, Lucia Kudzala from group Village Chikalema says she will use the money which her club will receive to venture into business which shall enable her t send her children to school.

"I will use the money which I will borrow from our club under the Mfundazi Catchment Management Committee to start a business and i promise to repay the loan and also practice conservation agriculture as taught by our mentor from Mwasip," said Kudzala.

Meanwhile, Sub-Traditional Authority Chikalema has asked the police and the department of forestry to evict some people who have encroached Nkanya Hill saying they have destroyed trees and establish farms in there.

In response, Neno District Commissioner Rosemary Nawasha has said that the matter will be presented to relevant authorities for action while asking the courts to give stiffer punishments to forestry crime convicts to act a deterrent to others.

The project started in 2021 and will end in the next three years.

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