The Improving Livelihoods through Increasing Food Security
(I-LIFE) was a 5-year livelihoods program ending June 2009. The program
worked in the areas of agricultural production, irrigation and water
management, rural finance, health and nutrition, HIV/AIDS, and
In the area of agricultural production, villagers increased
food security through extensive
training in post-harvest handling/storage, food utilization, and seed
The Lead Farmer approach trained progressive farmers in each community
to replicate agricultural trainings themselves rather than depending on
outsiders. Lead Farmers
helped to upgrade the use of organic fertilizer, and increase
Economic development was the largest area of I-LIFE's agricultural
program, aimed at increasing participant households' resiliency to
shocks, as well as providing money to purchase household items, pay
school fees, and invest in fertilizer or other enterprises.
In the Food for Work/Cash for Work initiatives, villagers
participated in livelihood improvements within the
village and in return received food or cash during the 3 months of the
year when household food supplies are likely to run low. Livelihood
improvements included: digging roads for easier pedestrian, bicycle,
and vehicle traffic, and completion of water reservoirs.
In the area of irrigation, I-LIFE expanded the size of irrigated land
at existing sites and identifies new sites as well.
Village Savings and Loans clubs formed
and and VSL Community Agents established to
provide community-based services to the VSL groups which
sustain beyond the life of the program.
Bulk marketing was the most widespread of the agricultural activities.
Farmers were collected into marketing clusters and trained on how to
choose crops, ensure quality of produce, and link with high value
Health and Nutrition
I-LIFE trained Growth Monitoring Volunteers (GMV) and provided
assistance to the Malawian Government in printing and distributing
Food Distribution to the Chronically Ill provided nourishment to some
of the most vulnerable members of the community. Beneficiaries received
50kg cereal, 1 tin oil, 5kg beans, and 10kg soya. Food Processing and
Utilization activities included: training communities in the moulding
of fuel efficient stoves as an Income Generating Activity (IGA),
distribution of plastic for solar driers, use of fireless cookers, and
training of food preservation techniques. Messages of sanitation and
hygiene were disseminated for pit latrines, dish driers,
clothes lines and rubbish pits.
The Care Group model disseminated health and nutrition intervention
messages using community
resources to compliment organizational resources. It acted like a large
pyramid, with each successive layer growing in size: our staff
supervised 16 promoters, these promoters in turn reached out to
volunteers, who then reached out to mothers.
The Positive Deviant (PD) Hearth initiative provided training in
child feeding and the preparation of nutritious foods. Participants
Vitamin A and Albendazole tablets.
I-LIFE encouraged people living with HIV/AIDS to form support
and trained them in positive living and psycho-social support.
I-LIFE was involved in VCT open days, spreading the message of HIV
and encouraging HIV testing in remote areas where regular access is
unavailable. I-LIFE used Hope Kits and Bambo wa Chitsanzo
kits to spread messages of awareness about HIV and encourage abstinence
and faithfulness as methods of protection from the spread of HIV.
I-LIFE was involved in the training of volunteers for Home Based Care
(HBC) and peer educators in coordination with the District Youth
Office and sponsored girls to attend the Girl Guide Congress aimed at
building self-confidence among young girls in the fight against
I-LIFE trained Umbrella Community Based
(UCBOs), Village Development Committees (VDC), the Area Development
Committee (ADC) and Water User Committees.