Malawi: Beneficial projects for development in Monkey Bay

Glúmur Baldvinsson, project manager writes from Malawi




Newly elected parliamentarian for the Monkey Bay constituency in Mangochi district in Malawi, Ralph Jooma, recently visited ICEIDA staff in the area and introduced himself with the development projects implemented in cooperation with local inhabitants. He said he detected great enjoyment among locals with ICEIDA activities which he considered not only visible but also very beneficial for development in Monkey Bay.

The projects include a health project, water and sanitation project and social projects with special emphasis on adult education and literacy. Just over 110 thousand people inhabit the area.

Number of deaths in Monkey Bay is decreasing

Jooma was elected for the parliament in May 2009 and is the chairman of the budget committee. After a short introduction and a presentation with ICEIDA staff, including Glúmur Baldvinsson, project manager for the water and sanitation project, and Jo Tore Berg, project manager for social projects, a field trip was undertaken. First, they visited the hospital in Monkey Bay which was built with ICEIDA contribution. Jooma said the hospital had completely changed health care in Monkey Bay for the better. Before, the locals resorted to traditional medicine which has cost many lives. With increased attendance at the hospital the number of deaths has decreased significantly. Jooma hoped that ICEIDA would be able to build up smaller health cares in the most rural areas of Monkey Bay.

The group then visited waterholes and sanitary facilities in two villages, but the project has provided nearly all inhabitants of Monkey Bay access to potable water. Jooma was especially impressed with the methodology used within the project, which aims for maximum local participation in digging, finishing and maintaining the wells as well as placing great emphasis on locals in raising themselves decent sanitary facilities before the ownership of the waterholes are theirs. The parliamentarian stated his will to cooperate with ICEIDA in order to insure the goal, to secure all inhabitants in the area access to potable water, would be reached before the end of 2010.       

Resource centre and housing for teachers

Social projects were next on the agenda. Newly built resource centre in the heart of Monkey Bay was visited. Adult education will be taking place there, but the centre also accommodates a bounteous library. The centre is intended to serve as a community centre, run by the locals and a forum for them to participate in developing their ideas on continued development in Monkey Bay. Finally the group visited a chicken farm which is a part of a livelihood project, and a newly built house for teachers, which is the incentive of a reading circle in the area. Which of course is one of the purposes of reading circles; to identify various social problems and find solutions? Shortage of teachers in rural areas is an endemic problem in Malawi. There are many examples of one teacher attending hundred students. The main reason for the shortage is lack of proper housing for teachers in the vicinity of rural schools. Therefore teachers prefer jobs in urban areas.