IRP changing lives in Balaka
Traditional leaders in Balaka have described the Integrated Resilience Programme (IRP) as a catalyst for sustainable development in the district.
Speaking during a World Food Programme (WFP) Project monitoring tour, Group Village Head Chipole of Traditional Authority Mbera said the innovations are in line with adaptation strategies in the wake of climate change.
According to Chipole, his area has benefitted a lot from IRP following construction of corrugated iron sheets houses, check dams, deep trenches, swales, and coming in of electricity in the area.
GVH Chipole said these have led to improved yields and household income.
“My garden is on a steep slope. Previously surface runoff affected the fertility of the garden. With these innovations like deep trenches, I can confirm they have worked to my advantage and yields have improved. You will also appreciate that this area often receives erratic rainfall. What WFP has taught us through their partners has helped to retain moisture content in our fields hence the improved yields,” said Chipole.
In his words, WFP’s country director, Benoit Thiry said the projects the organisation is running in collaboration with its partners on the ground are making a difference.
Thiry said WFP’s mandate is to achieve food security and improving income of the people on the ground as articulated by the Sustainable Development Goals and ending malnutrition.
“For this to be accomplished we integrate as much as possible with different programmes such as the school feeding which is increasing school attendance and also creating,” said Thiry.
During the tour, it was established that people in Balaka are using energy-saving cookstoves which have significantly led to the conservation of forests in the area as they use less firewood to run households. Understanding the impact of climate change on agriculture, this area has embarked on massive reforestation and afforestation drive with 12 homegrown forests to their credit. Chipole says the forests act as heat sinks and have given rise to another income-generating activity of beekeeping.