Food security for farmers with a disability

In Salima, Malawi, KODO introduces (walking-impaired) farmers who have a walking handicap to the basic techniques of organic agriculture and supports their practical implementation. For the people with a walking handicap and their relatives this is a major step towards independence. KODO supports a total of 150 families in 5 communities, Maumsamantha Chimithira and Tobias Mafuken among them.

Photos Christian Jaeggi

Photo report about the project in Malawi

The walking-impaired Maumsamantha Chimithira is on the way to her small piece of land. The 34-year-old farmer is a single parent and has to provide for her four children.

Maumsamantha has a handicap in walking due to a failed operation in her childhood. Medical care in Malawi is inadequate. Leg pain is part of Maumsamantha’s daily life.

Maumsamantha lives together with her four children and her parents in modest circumstances in Ntschepa, Malawi. The family unites in taking care of the fields and processing the harvest.

Off to the neighbouring village: Maumsamantha is one of the lead farmers trained by KODO. She passes on her know-how to other smallholders, so that they can also learn about the advantages of organic agriculture.

The role of a lead farmer gives Maumsamantha great prestige and a new place in the community. This fills her with pride.

George Chimpiko, director of KODO, gives Maumsamantha courage and confidence in difficult times. He was born with a clubfoot and knows how hard it is to find one’s way with a disability in Malawi.

Maumsamantha has learned with KODO how to produce compost and apply other organic farming methods. Since then she has been able to do without expensive hybrid seeds and toxic pesticides.

Mealtime: Maumsamantha and her family can live from their harvests. This is a great achievement, because Malawi has been hit by severe droughts and food shortages in recent years.

Hunger and malnutrition are widespread in Malawi. This is where KODO comes in: People with disabilities should be able to produce their own food with simple means and little money.

In Chimpaga, Malawi, charismatic Tobias Mafuken introduces his community members to organic agriculture. He has been trained as a lead farmer by KODO.

Tobias has four children and a wife who supports him loyally. Tobias is glad that thanks to KODO’s training he can provide for his family despite his disability.

Tobias lives with his family in very modest circumstances. A small room, some containers for the meals, a few blankets and tools have to be enough for the family of six. They have no access to electricity or running water.

With great persuasiveness Tobias shows other farmers how compost is produced. For him, the advantages of organic agriculture are clear: no dependence on expensive seeds and chemical pesticides, a better quality of the produce and long-term soil fertility.

The hard work on the field was worth it. Tobias and his family can live from the harvest again this year. His wife lets the corn dry in the sun.

The village community of Chimpanga has received three goats from KODO as an aid to start organic agriculture. Through the goat manure the fertility of the soil will be increased and the harvest will be richer in the long run.

Although Tobias has to walk on crutches, he can do a lot of agricultural work on his own. His wife supports him with the rest, for example with the production of liquid fertilizer.

Tobias, whose walking disability is due to a snake bite in his childhood, is not the only one with this fate. KODO enables farmers with disabilities and their relatives to achieve independence.

Despite his disability Tobias is a recognised member of the community thanks to his work as a lead farmer.