Possibly one of the youthful beneficiaries of Pathways for Successful Transition (PAST) projects is Jane Chavula, a 32 years old lady from Ndisani village in the area of Traditional Authority Chindi in Mzimba. She is a mother of 4 and takes care of 3 children who are orphans. Life was not easy for her as her husband, Daniel Nzima aged 40 years old was paralyzed from a stroke in 2018. Jane has been single-handedly feeding a family of 8 members. As a result of this sometimes the family could sleep on an empty stomach for days due to food scarcity. In 2015, she was considered on Social Cash Transfer Program (SCTP) where she was receiving 19,200 Kwacha per month but this was not enough to meet the daily needs of her extended family.

After successfully accomplishing PAST project selection criteria, Jane was selected to benefit from this ultra-poor graduation program which is targeting selected SCTP beneficiaries.  In the first phase of seed capital disbursement, she received 80000 Kwacha out of which she took 48, 000 Kwacha to purchase two goats. The balance was saved at the Village Savings and Loan (VSL) group comprising of PAST beneficiaries in her cluster. She managed to borrow 10,000 Kwacha from the VSL that was used towards purchasing fertilizer.

Jane was able to effectively utilize the seed capital after being mentored and coached by Ndisani Radio Listening Club (RLC). Ndisani RLC was trained and being supervised by Creative Centre for Community Mobilization (CRECCOM) which is implementation this ultra-poor program in conjunction with Save the Children.

“Budgeting, business management, mindset change, and VSLs are some of the topics that the project has mentored me through Ndisani RLC. I start selling salt and exchanging it with groundnuts after learning business techniques from the project. Through this business, I am able to pay school fees for my daughter who is learning at Euthini Community Day Secondary School (CDSS),” Jane narrated.

After pocketing the remaining seed capital amounting to 55, 000 Kwacha, Jane extended her livestock agriculture. She bought two pigs and five chickens. The remaining amount of money was saved at the VSL.  When asked about how she sees herself now, Jane said that “PAST project has enabled her to start enjoying life; we managed to harvest four and a half trips of oxcarts full of maize. We stopped sleeping on an empty stomach anymore because it is easy now to find relish as we have a backyard guard and livestock.”

PAST project is a three-year program targeting ultra-poor households with technical and financial support from the government of Malawi through Financial Access for Rural Markets, Smallholders and Enterprises (FARMSE).

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