Kusamala Annual Report 2011 2012

Page 1

2011 -­‐ 2012 Annual Report


3 Letter from the Executive Director 4 Organizational Overview 5-­‐7 Our Projects JANEEMO -­‐ Venture Trust -­‐ USAID -­‐ Apprenticeships


Our Demonstrations Memo -­‐ Market -­‐ Medicinal -­‐ Staple -­‐ Woodlots




Financials Management Structure


Letter From the Executive Director

The photo on the cover of this 2012 Annual Report is a picture of one of our gardeners, Makoko Mawale, who retired this year. Makoko is missed for many reasons, but his smile made our most troubled days less so, and it was a gift we cherished. Here at the Kusamala Institute of Agriculture and Ecology, our staff, interns, and volunteers have qualities that make this place a vibrant, unique, productive environment. Everyone who passes through this organization finds a sense of ownership and a piece of peace. No one comes without learning something new and no one leaves without contributing a bit of themselves. From simple smiles to intense education and knowledge, I am grateful for everything that is shared here at Kusamala and feel very lucky to be a part of this growing community. The upcoming year is promising and we would not be here if it wasn’t for our successful projects in 2011 and 2012. We accomplished a lot. We saw an increase in production in all our gardens, an increase in staff, an increase in trainings, and we landed one of our biggest projects, the JANEEMO project, which will strengthen our relationships within the communities where we are already working. Our Apprenticeship Program began, the first of its kind in Malawi, which trains Malawians to practice and teach permaculture and agroecology techniques, alleviating hunger in their own villages. These new projects and programs excite us for the months and years ahead. The groundwork and momentum has been laid and we are committed to improving the effectiveness, sustainability, transparency, and communication of Kusamala. How do we plan on doing this? By improving the livelihoods of our staff and building their capacity through a new project called Red Soil; expanding the demonstrations at the Centre with the intention for them to produce enough income to support themselves and the staff; building a dynamic strategic plan that draws from the goals and inspirations of all staff members; increasing our social media presence and activity; and partnering with other organizations to enhance our effectiveness in communities. All of this may sound ambitious; it is. We are aware of the momentous tasks that lie ahead. However, we are building off a strong foundation thanks to past management who worked tirelessly to get Kusamala to where it is today. We thank them and the many others who have supported us through their hard work, passion, and innovative ideas. Your work is part of our larger vision to create a better Malawi.

Molly Cheatum Executive Director




Our Reach

To see resilient Malawian communities thriving with enough food, clean water, and energy to be self-­‐sufficient

Our Mission To educate and train local communities on premaculture and agroecological techniques and uses in Malawi with the purpose of improving livelihoods, environment, health, food, and nutrition security

Our Background Since its inception in 2009, Kusamala has focused its efforts on conducting trainings, performing outreach, and implementing projects in food and nutrition security, resilient farming systems, and adaptable livelihood strategies at the community level. Kusamala oversees Nature’s Gift Permaculture Centre, a training and demonstration facility on the outskirts of Lilongwe, Malawi. The Centre is located on 20-­‐hectares of a 650-­‐hectare privately owned family farm, also operating under the Nature’s Gift name. With a staff of sixteen, Kusamala uses the demonstration centre to teach agricultural methods relevant to all Malawians, urban and rural, on all ranges of the socio-­‐economic scale. Through grant and donor-­‐funded projects, garden sales, and trainings, Kusamala functions using a unique hybrid model of a self-­‐sustaining non-­‐profit and sustainable business.


Dowa Lilongwe

The entrance to N ature’s Gift Permaculture Centre




Kusamala s taff members, Isaac, Rhoda, and D an, planting in the JANEEMO n ursery

JANEEMO In December of 2011, Kusamala entered into an existing partnership between the Scottish Government, the Hutton Institute, and Climate Futures known as the JANEEMO project. JANEEMO promotes diverse food production systems, specifically advocating the use of Jatropha, Moringa and, to a lesser extent, Neem (due to the prevailing climatic conditions), as a means of household food security, income generation and environmental stewardship. From October 2011 to January 2012, Kusamala initiated demonstration sites in Dowa and Lilongwe districts to encourage adoption of agroforestry and permaculture practices throughout the local communities. During this time, Kusamala also conducted a series of training sessions on the benefits of trees and reforestation, including the use of Jatropha, Neem and Moringa. These trainings focused on food forests, sustainable woodlots and general environmental management. In February 2012, JANEEMO asked Kusamala to expand these efforts into a two-­‐year program through which we will establish JANEEMO Permaculture demonstration sites in 20 further villages and integrate permaculture training into village activities. As of May, 2012, Kusamala had hosted JANEEMO trainings for 60 farmers from Dowa district, 30 from Lilongwe, and had begun a six-­‐month training with Gladson Chakwera, Kusamala’s project manager in Dowa. Ultimately, a total of 660 farmers are expected to participate in the programme, with 132,000 trees planted and 3,300 people directly benefiting from the two-­‐year program.



SPA Grant In 2011, Kusamala, in partnership with the Peace Corps, secured funding through USAID’s Small Projects Assistance (SPA) program for infrastructure improvements and trainings. With the support of the grant, Kusamala built a larger staple field, a tree nursery, woodlots and a jatropha boundary. Kusamala also procured equipment to begin beekeeping at the Centre and hosted beekeeping trainings for staff and interns. The Centre now houses a functional beehive. Additionally, the grant allowed Kusamala to host a series of permaculture, agroecology, and organic growing trainings for the Mtendere Co-­‐operative, a local farmers group located in Lilongwe rural. Five of the trainings have taken place over the 2011/2012 fiscal year, with three more planned for the next year.

A guard in the Kachere prison g arden

Eston leading a training with the Mtendere Co-­‐operative

Venture Trust/Kachere Prison In partnership with Venture Trust Malawi, Kusamala integrated permaculture practice and education into the systems at Kachere Juvenile Prison. The project focused on weekly permaculture training sessions and was open to all of the offenders, officers, and KJP family. The trainings covered permaculture principles and the design process, encouraging participants to create their own permaculture designs. While the project presented lots of challenges for Kusamala staff, including lack of land, prison rules and regulations that restricted participant access, our Community Outreach Manager, Eston Mgala, worked closely with prison officers, their family members and interested offenders. In total, 25 people participated in the program and received permaculture training.



UMC Apprenticeship

Joseph Kaipa and Edward Nkhata, Kusamala’s first apprentices

In April 2012 Kusamala launched its Apprenticeship program. Originally designed as an intensive permaculture training program for local orphans, the program has expanded its scope to provide an opportunity for organizations to sponsor individuals in the program. Edward Nkhata and Joseph Kaipa are the first participants of the program, funded by the United Methodist Church. The six-­‐month intensive training, designed and lead by Kusamala staff, gives the participants practical experience in growing food, sustainability, and project management. The end result is a comprehensive management plan, specifically tailored to the organization they will return to and general knowledge in community-­‐based environment, food, and nutrition security. Joseph and Edward began their program in April 2012, spending four months working and learning at Kusamala’s Permaculture Demonstration Centre, Nature’s Gift. After their on-­‐site training they will return to Mchinji armed with an implementation plan for converting the UMC farm into another permaculture demonstration site. Kusamala’s staff will make regular visits to advice and support them in their efforts. After a successful first round of apprentices, we see this program as having significant potential to create a strong network of permaculture practitioners throughout Malawi.

Interns & Volunteers Our intern and volunteer program continues to attract a diverse group of motivated, hardworking travelers all excited to learn and gain hands-­‐on permaculture experience. As a cornerstone program for Kusamala, our interns and volunteers have built a successful medicinal garden, chicken yards, and residential garden, as well as contributing to our other demonstration sites. In addition to developing new projects and systems, the interns also contribute to the intercultural exchange and learning that makes our Demonstration Centre a unique place to live and work.



OUR DEMONSTRATIONS Memo Garden The Memo Garden functions as our primary demonstration for household-­‐level permaculture implementation. Combining both the intensive vegetable cultivation of Zone 1 and the food forest of Zone 2, Memo acts both as a learning tool and as the primary source of relish for our staff lunches. Under the management of our Nutrition and Implementation Teams, the Memo Garden has thrived and now produces enough to provide the ndiwo for all staff lunches and to supplement the market garden’s weekly vegetable boxes.

Market Garden The Kusamala Market Garden continues to grow and to provide a reliable source of income for the organization. In addition to our restaurant clientele, in August 2011 the Garden Team launched a pilot vegetable box program to tap into the private customer market in Lilongwe. The program has been a success, generating significant interest within the Lilongwe community and providing a stable, predictable income source for the garden. In early 2012, we brought in a new garden manager and head gardener, who have been working hard to expand production and we now have one hundred vegetable beds and nearly twenty herb beds in cultivation.

Sunset over the Kusamala Market Garden



Staple Field The 2011/2012 planting season was one of trial and error at Kusamala’s new 2.75-­‐hectare staple field. In its initial pilot year, Kusamala began building permanent beds on contour, experimenting with different natural fertility methods, implementing agroforestry practices, and intercropping in the field. The 2011/2012 yield was less than initially hoped. Due to a gap in staff oversight, the field was not well cared for and production suffered. However we plan to learn from these challenges in our preparations for the next rainy season.

Woodlots/Jatropha Boundary In August 2011, Kusamala constructed a small-­‐scale tree nursery in which we planted jatropha, moringa, neem, and acacia trees. The jatropha trees were planted as a living fence around the Demonstration Centre as a part of the USAID funded SPA grant. This boundary was our first experiment growing jatropha and we learned a lot from the experience, including the importance of nursery care and pest management. The moringa, neem, and acacia trees were planted in three different woodlots surrounding the Demonstration Centre. Acacia trees were planted in one of the woodlots as a small-­‐scale carbon-­‐balancing project funded through our JANEEMO contacts in Scotland. The other two woodlots will function as an example of Zone 4, sustainable woodlot management.

Medicinal Garden Kusamala started the medicinal garden in late 2011 with the help of Alexis Luckey, a Peace Corps volunteer that came to intern at the Demonstration Centre for her last three months of service. Since then, the medicinal garden has evolved to be one of our most consistent and successful intern-­‐led projects. Under the leadership and vision of different long-­‐term interns, the medicinal garden has grown to include over sixty different medicinal plants. There are plans for the medicinal garden to become an instrumental educational tool for our Demonstration Centre. The medicinal garden in bloom



FINANCIALS Financial Review In fiscal year 2012, Kusamala generated revenues of $24 thousand, but with two projects acquired in April – JANEEMO and the Apprenticeship Program for the United Methodist Church -­‐ Kusamala is set to expand. Much of the revenue was accrued within the last few months of the fiscal year and spent expanding our past and newly accrued projects in the Dowa, Rural Lilongwe, and Mchinji Districts. Kusamala ended the year with $35 thousand in expenses, creating a deficit of $11 thousand. The deficit was expected as additional expenses were budgeted for new positions, supplies, and travel in preparation for the new projects. Looking forward to the fiscal year 2013, an increase in revenue is anticipated. Kusamala’s projects are expanding and growing with support from Seeds of Change, the Red Soil Project, ReSCOPE, and continued support from JANEEMO. The market garden and vegetable box sales continue to increase, supporting and sustaining the Demonstration Centre. Although fiscal year 2012 ended in a deficit, we expect the current projects to cover anticipated expenses in 2013.



MANAGEMENT Board of Directors Guy Pickering Godfrey Chapola Grace Chimponda Atusaye Mwalwanda Maureen Pickering

Executive Director Oliver Wootton Molly Cheatum Deputy Director Alexandra Dryer Director of Agroecology Marie Raboin Community Outreach & Education Manager Eston Mgala Program Manager Catherine Carlton



A special thanks to our many staff, interns, and volunteers who make this all possible STAFF Isaac Banda Gladson Chakwera Enock Chikale Daniel Chikhawo Maureen Chunga Zacharia Gama Green Kalitsiro Samuel Kandiweri Clement Kholowa Calo Mgala Makoko Mwale Michael Ntande


INTERNS Becca Barret Charlotte Brown Alberto Cazares Abby Conrad Wibke Grzonka Alexis Luckey Pierre Moorsom Michelle Morna Colin Pearson Tom Pickering Jonathan Stevenson


Report compiled and designed by: Catherine Carlton Editing by: Kate Orloski Financials compiled by: Oliver Cripps Photos courtesy of: Oliver Cripps Austin Dunn Lizzie Lee


Upcoming Grants in 2012/2013

Red Soil Project Staff Capacity Building and Home Demonstration Sites Seeds of Change Apprenticeships with Home of Hope Orphanage ReSCOPE Implementing Integrated Land Use Design in Local Schools