“One of the key socioeconomic problems that we have in our community is the rising numbers of needy students who luck school fees and other learning resources. As a CBO, we are mandated to support such students but we have been lacking financial capacity to do so but now we see the light at the end of the tunnel, thanks to Milimo Activity for strengthening our our capacity”, explained Sterio Kachimana, member of Mulepa CBO which is based in Chiuja village, T/A Kawinga in Machinga.
Having conducted a capacity assessment at the CBO, Milimo Activity together with the CBO members identified some capacity gaps including the need for developing strategic partnerships, collaboration and networking skills and financial sustainability measures. As such, Milimo conducted a training to equip the CBO members with the required skills in the three areas. Among other things, Milimo supported the CBO’s board and executive committee members in proposal writing for strategic partnerships.
“Following the Milimo trainings, we wrote a proposal to Adaptation Fund to ask for support in bee farming in which some of our CBO members and community members formed a cooperative. We are successful and Adaptation Fund supported us with 72 bee hives and trained us on beer farming business”, Kachimana added. In July 2023, the CBO had their first haverst of the honey.
The honey is well branded and packaged. According to Kachimana, the honey is mostly sold at hospitals for medical purposes especially in hospitals that conduct surgical operations in Liwonde and Zomba. A bottle of 500ml is sold at MK4000 while a bottle of 300ml is sold at MK3500.
The CBO has sold 22 bottles of 500ml as of 18 July 2023. The money being realized from the sells is meant to support the yet-to-be-selected needy students at Majinga and Makengere primary schools. As a sustainability measure, the CBO deliberately included community members in the cooperative to share the skills and enhance community ownership in the enterprise. According to Kachimana, the support for the needy students will be inform of school fees, school uniforms and learning resources like exercise books and pens.