ZOMBA (Malawi News Agency) –:Beneficiaries of the 2020/21 lean season response programme have commended Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) for successfully implementing the programme in Zomba.
On Friday, MRCS through G4S Company completed payment of all the 24, 891 beneficiaries including Chisi Island in its second phase, a development that has been described as timely and positive.
Speaking at the end of the payment exercise, Group Village Head (GVH) Luwambwe under Traditional Authrotity (TA) Kumtumanji said many families were in dire need of food and that the support was timely.
Luwambwe said despite the abundant maize in various markets including ADMARC; many families were unable to buy the commodity because they did not have any money.
“The months of December, January and February have been very difficult for most of the households in the area. People literary had no food and no money to buy maize.
“This was a worrisome situation but we thank government for the support through MRCS for expediting the process and implementing the programme successfully,” he said.
GVH Luwambwe said with the support, people will be able to buy maize and have food in their homes.
The lean season response programme is a support that is derived from the Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (MVAC) report, which indicates the number of people at risk of hunger because of less harvest, disaster or floods.
The 2020/21 MVAC report projected that at least 2.6 million Malawians would be food insecure in the 2020/2021 consumption year.
This was an eight percent increase as compared to 1.8 million recorded in 2019/20 season.
Zomba District indicated that about 21, 891 people in all the eleven TAs would be at risk of hunger.
MRCS Zomba District Coordinator, Owen Kanongodza, said each of the beneficiaries received money amounting to K23, 100 every month for a period of four months.
Kanongodza said payments for three months (December–February) were done and what remained is for the month of March, which is the last month of the programme.
“We started with identification of beneficiaries and now we are almost done with payment and by next month, we shall have completed everything,” Kanongonodza said.
He added: “We had challenges that delayed disbursement such as rising cases of Corona virus and also some roads were impassable due to heavy rains. However, it is encouraging to note that we have successfully delivered the programme right on time.”
Lilian Chikwemba, 66, said the money she received would enable her buy food to eat with her six grandchildren.
Chikwemba said at her age, she could not go and hunt for piece work, saying as a result she and her family at times slept on an empty stomach.
“From here, I am going straight to ADMARC to buy maize. With the money I’m planning to buy three bags,” she said, thanking government for the support and MRCS for acting with speed.
Chidindo Kumilambe, 81, from David Village also hailed the support, saying it was a lifesaver.
“As I speak, I have no food in my house but I will have something to eat today because I have received some money. My plea to government is that the programme should continue especially for us the elderly who are most often helpless,” Kumilambe said.