Tumenji Ng’oma is an eighty-six years old widow and beneficiary of Social Cash Transfer Program (SCTP). She qualified to benefit from Pathways for Successful Transition (PAST) project after her son, Austin Mzuli was deemed fit to work. Tumenji and Austin come from Shandria Mghuli village, Daniel Jere cluster in the area of Traditional Authority (T/A) Mabulabo in Mzimba district.  Before the inception of PAST project in 2019, Tumenji depended on her son to do piece works for them to have food especially in the late half of the year.

“Our harvests could not last the whole year. This forced my son to do piece work of farming in other peoples’ gardens. However, this still was not enough because some days we were going to bed without eating depending on the availability of the piece work. This was a big challenge as I am supposed to have three meals a day considering my old age,” Tumenji narrated.

With the commencement of PAST project in 2019, Tumenji was selected to benefit from interventions championed by the project after his son was deemed to qualify in fit to work category.   PAST project is working with fit to work members from selected SCTP beneficiaries to successfully graduate them from ultra-poverty to improved livelihood. The project is being implemented in Mzimba district by Save the Children in consortium with Creative Centre for Community Mobilization (CRECCOM) with financial and technical support from Financial Access for Rural Markets, Smallholders and Enterprises (FARMSE).

In Daniel Jere cluster, CRECCOM trained Tilindimayi Radio Listening Club (RLC) to disseminate messages on Social Behaviour Change Communication (SBCC). Tilindimayi RLC is also mandated to facilitate linkages between beneficiaries and service providers. Mavuto N’goma, a monitor from Tilindimwayi RLC said the RLC linked Austin Mzuli to Lead Farmers for him to learn smart agriculture techniques.

“The RLC together with community agent linked Austin to lead farmers where smart agriculture technics were shared. After obtaining these technics, Austin started applying them during this farming season. The N’gomas’ have abundant maize they have never produced any time before,” Mavuto said.

Austin affirmed that all this change started after receiving seed capital of 90, 000 kwacha from PAST project.

“After receiving the seed capital from PAST project; together with my mother we decided to spend 10, 000 Kwacha on two bags of fertilizer to enhance farm produce. A sum of 70, 000 Kwacha was used in pre-buying of soya beans at K5,000 Kwacha per bag. We opted to invest the cash in this particular business because during this rain season business of selling fish encounters several challenges. This business has been opted as a way of investing the cash in readiness for the dry season. The remaining cash was invested at the Village Savings and Loans (VSL),” Austin explained.

It is undeniably to conclude that hunger and starvation at Tumenji’s family will be history this year and subsequent years.

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