Southern Africa Conference – Sustainable Food Security through Land Regeneration in a Changing Climate (April 2015)

Southern Africa Regional Update

September 8, 2015

Vanessa Kapeleta (World Vision Malawi/Southern Africa Regional Office)

Since the Beating Famine Conference in April 2015, World Vision Malawi (WVM) has been heavily involved in leading the Green Revolution agenda, by incorporating Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) as one of its signature land restoration techniques in its Malawi Household Food Security and Resilience Technical Programme (M-HFSR) running from 2015 to 2020 across all its 37 Area Programmes (APs).  Each AP has committed to regenerating approximately 1,000 hectares of degraded land such as farmland, grazing land, forest land and wetlands. This agenda is being driven via a number of avenues including the non-traditionalist pathway of the faith community, using a powerful Behavioral Change Community (BCC) approach, dubbed the ‘Empowered Biblical Worldview’. To spearhead the movement, a training workshop was organised in August 2015. It involved 137 pastors and religious leaders from a cross-section of Christian denominations ranging from Roman Catholic to Presbyterian, Anglican, Adventist, Lutheran and Evangelicals. They came from 37 Area Programmes (APs) which are catchment areas for operation 2015.

The training workshop in Malawi involved 137 pastors and religious leaders from a cross-section of Christian denominations.

The goal of the Workshop was to orient Church leaders from pastors fraternal across World Vision Malawi Zones (North, Centre, East and South) on the Empowered Biblical Worldview, FMNR and an afforestation technology dubbed ‘all year round tree planting’ which involves use of truncheons.  The four aims of the workshop were to:

  • Create an understanding among the participants about; the churches’ responsibility for, and the benefits of, creation care
  • To educate on the importance of trees to agriculture, food security, economic development, and the church in Malawi
  • To promote awareness of the consequences of deforestation and desertification on food security, economic development and churches.
  • To address the importance and potential of FMNR as a means of maintaining existing forests, restoring deforested areas and through that, creating healthy communities and churches.

It is envisaged this creation of awareness will inspire and motivate participants to make a commitment to implement FMNR and truncheon-based reforestation in their respective working areas, using an Empowered Biblical Worldview. There are three outcomes to be achieved. Firstly, participants know the potential, what is required, and how to reforest their land through FMNR and truncheons. Secondly, participants make an action plan for reforestation through FMNR and truncheons. Thirdly, participants spearhead the creation of a Church movement for FMNR and truncheon planting.

At National level, WVM co-chairs the Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) in Africa with the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development’s Land Resources Conservation Department. The Alliance operates under a Steering Committee comprised of representatives from eleven organizations which include: the African Union’s New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), World Vision, Oxfam, CARE, CRS, Concern Worldwide, Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET), Total Land Care (TLC), the CGIAR consortium, the FAO, FANRPAN, FARA and COMESA.  The Alliance aims to significantly and sustainably impact food & nutrition security and rural poverty through a large collaborative effort to scale-up Climate-Smart Agriculture across Africa. This approach is strategically important to the African Union’s priorities and has significant support from major multi-lateral donors and African governments. Through the Alliance, the Beating Famine Country Plan for Malawi has been finalized and endorsed by Government and its operationalisation has begun.

Milestones of the Beating Famine Country Plan

The key Milestones to be achieved under this Country Plan implementation include:

  • Undertake a comprehensive mapping exercise of the Country’s respective CSA initiatives; coverage, resources, time span, identifying gaps that need to be filled for a design and possible re-design of a more elaborate CSA National resilience programme. This is underway under the facilitation of a third party consultant contracted by the Alliance, and the final report is due soon.
  • Develop and implement an advocacy strategy to make inroads with the upcoming policy windows on the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) III, the National Agriculture Policy (NAP) and the Agriculture Sector Wide approach (ASWAp) to ensure that the green agenda is amplified. This has begun under the facilitation of CISANET, with the plan to be signed by mid-September.
  • Tap into the available ‘process funds’ at NEPAD and AU to develop a concept note for a nationwide CSA Resilience Programme to pitch with the Donor Committee on Agriculture and Food Security (DCAFS). We will use  Irish Aid as our primary entry point for donor influence (internal lobbyist and champion) to tap into the donor Multi-Trust Fund. It is of paramount importance to establish what all Alliance members are already doing through their own comprehensive mapping exercise, so that our value proposition is seen from a co-financing standpoint (to avoid begging from the donor community). It will be possible to tap into the Alliance’s robust in-house technical resources for sustained co-creation of ideas. This is pending the findings from the Mapping exercise, which are expected shortly.

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