As I've previously mentioned, the innocent foundation support other projects in Malawi. These are mainly to do with irrigation, growing and juicing and yesterday, we visited the Michembo project which is an irrigation project close to the town of Salima.
We were greeeted by the ladies involved in the project singing "Those that do not love irrigation should not follow us". Again, this is the literal translation; it sounded much better when they sang it.
Here are the ladies singing in front of their field. Harvest has just finished which is why it looks rather bare. The trees you can see are mango trees which grow really well out here and help shade the maize crop from the hot sun.
With the expert guidance of Alfred, the Microloan Foundation has set up some very simple and sustainable methods to irrigate the land. The aim of is to increase the number of crops each villager can grow, meaning they can sell on the surplus for a profit.
Many of the projects surrounding this one were from larger donors and had fancy concrete irrigation channels. Alfred's idea was much simpler. He chose to use simple, V-shaped channels, shaped from soil and to bed each one with re-usable plastic sheets. The results have been similar to the bigger, fancier irrigation systems but the cost is much lower and the sheets are much easier for the villagers to mamage and replace as concrete channels tend to degrade with the heavy rains that come each year.
The ladies are now experimenting with new crops like mustard and lettuce. This is a picture of Alfred checking out the growing saplings.
The project was another example of the excellent work the Microloan Foundation is carrying out on the ground in Malawi. I interviewed the chairlady after this visit and she said that the project was not only helping to improve the lives of everyone involved but also helping push them towards self-sustainability by February 2009.
Which is superb stuff.