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Networking and Collaboration; A Key For Unlocking Local Development in Rural Communities

Community members ease mobility of motorcycle operators

Before the coming of Milimo Local Capacity Building Activity in Malawi, villages that surround group village heads under Traditional Authority Mponda used to never work together to invite development in their communities. As Chikomwe Community Based Organization (CBO), it used to be conducting its interventions also alone without engaging the community as well

According to the Executive Director for Chikomwe CBO, Rabson Sumani, community members used to never own development interventions in their communities.

“Some would even demand monetary benefits for them to be engaged in rural development in their community which was a big problem,” said Sumani

After capacity-strengthening activities that were done through an assessment by CRECCOM which Chikomwe CBO received under Milimo Local Capacity Buiding Activity in Malawi, the Milimo team identified several gaps that needed to be addressed and resolved. Skills and knowledge on how best Chikomwe CBO can mobilize the community and work jointly on development activities was one of them and training on how the CBO, chiefs, and community members can come together and implement development activities was done.

Through community mobilization skills and knowledge acquired through the Milimo project, Sumani said that this assisted Chikomwe CBO to jointly work with chiefs, village development committees, business and community people.

Sumani said that chiefs, VDC, and community members together with Chikomwe CBO came together and discuss the major challenge affecting their community and how best they can resolve it. The solution was to work on the roads which were damaged by the heavy rains that came with cyclone Freddy. They agreed to maintain the damaged roads because they use them when going to hospitals and even trading centers to conduct their businesses

“For example, early this year 2023, there was cyclone Freddy which hit hard in our community of Traditional Authority Mponda causing hazardous damage to houses and roads. This was an application arena for Chikomwe CBO to practically apply skills and knowledge on community mobilization they acquired under Milimo Local Capacity Building Activity in Malawi with CRECCOM,” said Sumani

Group Village Head Maliro said that when cyclone Freddy occurred, many business people failed to transport their cash crops and other business items to the market and even pregnant women used to fail to reach the hospital in time to deliver their babies and others could even deliver their babies along their way to the hospital

As for motorcycle operator, Jafali Amo said that he used to experience mobility challenges as he was forced to use long roots to reach his destinations with his customers.

“I even had to buy more fuel to fill in my motorcycle. As a result, I had to hike the prices that the customers had to pay me. This made most of the customers arrive at their desired destination very late and even shun away from me due to the high prices that I used to charge them,” said Amos

Group Village Maliro said that ten villages are working collaboratively and each village is scheduled to be having a day when it should be maintaining the road to enhance networking and collaboration and enhance the spirit of ownership of local development.

Maston Kambwiri from Kuntambe village who has been the foreman for the road maintenance said that the community members are very willing in working on the maintenance of the road without the demand of any monetary benefit as the work will benefit the same people.

“This was not the same before since most of the people used to demand money or wanted to be paid to do any local development activity in their community,” said Kambwiri

Jenifer Mailosi one of the businesswomen in the community, has said that the maintenance of the road will help her to be able to move her goods to town than before which was very challenging.

Sub-TA Maliro said that there are about 22 roads that were damaged by heavy rains during cyclone Freddy and community members are all working jointly to main the roads this has been achieved through community mobilization skills and knowledge that was brought by Milimo Local Capacity Building Activity in Malawi.


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