By Vincent Khonje
A delegation from Mchinjiundertook a transformative learning visit to Mangochi District Council with the primary goal to gain insights into the commendable implementation of the community nutrition and early stimulation component, with a special emphasis on the success of Integrated Homestead Farming (IHF) within the Investment in Early Years Project (IEYP).
Led by the Principal Nutrition and HIV and Aids Officer (PNHAO) for Mchinji, Dave Panyani, the delegation expressed their eagerness to understand Mangochi’s approach to IEYP and the widespread adoption of IHF within households.
“We came all the way from Mchinji just to appreciate how our colleagues are doing so that we also learn a few things. We also took along an extension worker, a cluster leader, and a care group promoter so that what they will learn should be shared with their friends when they go back,” explained Panyani.
Essau Hinjes, a project officer for IEYP in Mangochi, said there is success in IHF in the district with many households embracing the initiative.
“Over 157 households in the district actively participate in cultivating crops and rearing small flock, ensuring access to the six food groups. This has helped to play a crucial role in addressing the nutritional needs of children,” said Hinjes.
Ruth Daison of Kapire in TA Chilipa in Mangochi, whose household was visited by the Mchinji delegation, attested to the positive impact of IHF. Her home boasts of chickens, pigeons, rabbits, fruit trees, and a garden with a variety of vegetables.
“With IHF, there are no hassles on what to eat and, moreover, the children are able to get the required nutritional intake,” said Daison.
Odria Shawa, a cluster leader from Tithandizane cluster at Kholoni in Traditional Authority Mlonyeni in Mchinji, expressed her commitment to promoting homestead farming in Mchinji after witnessing Mangochi’s success.
“Encouraging families to cultivate small gardens and raise animals creates a sense of self-reliance. I will make sure households in my area adopt the backyard gardens in large numbers like Mangochi,” said Shawa.
IEYP is a World Bank-funded initiative that aims to improve the coverage and utilisation of early childhood development services, focusing on nutrition, stimulation, and early learning from conception to 59 months in 15 districts of M