GRASSROOTS MALAWI is an initiative launched by a group of Malawians and non-Malawians to bring agricultural projects initiated by local people or foreign organisations - together in development hubs in order to achieve cohesive transformation from aid to local development.
We plan to pursue this by gradually creating locally-managed DEVELOPMENT HUBS, initially in the Northern Region of Malawi. These hubs will support a range of agriculture-related local initiatives: school gardens that feed school communities, vocational centres that prepare youngsters for farming and associated trades, initiatives to extend knowledge of practical skills from community members to community members, warehouses, water facilities, seed nurseries for local legumes and other local produce, and spaces to host a wide range of specialised voluntary groups, domestic and foreign, offering their own skills to the people of Malawi to improve local-scale farming.
We will support different projects and initiatives of domestic civil society, of foreign voluntary agencies, of large and small donors, and of the commercial community. Working collectively and with greater coherence we will help to plug holes in the support available from various branches of government.
Smallholders are the main food producers in Malawi. They form the overwhelming majority of the population, and yet they are among the poorest. They are greatly affected by events over which they have little or no control. Climate change, decreasing soil fertility, irregular rainfall and new pests all lead to a decrease in agricultural productivity. Over the past forty years a considerable amount of 'aid' money has been donated to Malawi. Yet, rural people in Malawi are becoming poorer and less able to look after themselves.
Who we are, How we work:
GRASSROOTS MALAWI (GRAM) is being launched by a joint group of experienced Malawians and non-Malawians. We are talking to a range of local stakeholders to come up with practical and realizable goals. By identifying local groups that are improving their own communities, we will support them to become local DEVELOPMENT HUBS. We are seeking to establish genuine partnerships of equals; outsiders can only do so much on their own. We therefore intend to find the most effective and most basic structures to support local initiatives. The DEVELOPMENT HUBS will support appropriate level activities primarily in agriculture and, through that, into other economic activities.
We believe that the solution to most challenges confronting Malawi can be found within the communities themselves - although some must also be addressed by the world community. There has been too much aid rained on communities that would have preferred to be supported to achieve their own chosen path to development.