Kusamala Annual Report 2013-14

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Annual Report 2013 - 2014

Š Sabine Hellmann Photography 2014

We are passionate about creating a Malawi where all people have the ability and knowledge to creatively pursue their own path towards achieving food security and diversity, economic stability, and productive healthy enivronments.

CONTENTS Executive Director’s Message 1 Where We Worked 3 Projects: Climate Smart Agriculture 5 Participatory Mapping 7 DanChurchAid 9 Janeemo 10 Demonstrations 11 Trainings 13 Financial Summary 15 Our Team 17

Executive Director’s Message When I feel the work Kusamala is accomplishing is not enough, and the problems we are facing in Malawi and elsewhere are too great, I often turn to a quote by David James Duncan: “The only spiritually responsible way I know of to be a citizen, artist, or activist in these strange times is by giving little or no thought to “great things” such as saving the planet, achieving world peace, or stopping neocon greed. Great things tend to be undoable things whereas, small things, lovingly done, are always within our reach.” This quote reminds me that the core of our work is observation and gratitude. Through watching the world around us we can learn so much. From the microscopic life in our soils breaking matter down into rich soil, or the yellow butterfly pollinating the flower, or the hammerkop and its mate gathering grass for their home these small acts make room for new life - and we have a choice to support and care for these acts that make the world around us. We make the choice to embody these acts as an organization while gathering outside on Monday mornings for our weekly all-staff meetings, talking about our lives, sharing stories while listening to the birds sing in the trees. It is in these moments I feel Kusamala, as an organization, truly reflects the meaning of its word in Chichewa – to care for. This year we had uncountable achievements. Our biggest project Climate Smart Agriculture for Rural Smallholders in Malawi (CSA) began in August. We conducted three months of training with ten new staff members, all of whom will be working with 1,500 farmers on agroecology practices in the communities within Dowa District. We simultaneously began a project with DanChurchAid and within six months we doubled our staff through these two projects. In addition, we conducted our first Civil Society Organization workshop with twenty-four organizations in Dowa District and worked with a three person mapping team to create a small Geographic Information Systems (GIS) laboratory for this project and more. Our first participatory video workshops and trainings began with our coordinators and communities; it will be an innovative tool to monitor and evaluate our CSA project through 2016. The goals we have set for ourselves are big, our sights long, and we are doing the long-term critical thinking that we need to prevail. This year we have proven capable of reaching momentous heights. When we listen to, support, and continue “small things, lovingly done” even the smallest of efforts over time can transform into magnificent change.

Molly Cheatum Executive Director


The goals we have set for ourselves are big, our sights long, and we are doing the long-term critical thinking that we need to prevail.


WHERE WE WORKED From June 2013 to May 2014, Kusamala worked with thousands of smallholder farmers in multiple districts across Malawi.

We surveyed

374 Smallholder Farmers We planted

Agroforestry trees in Janeemo project 200,000 tree nurseries We organized Civil Society Organizations into the Dowa Civil 24 Society Network




Climate Smart Agriculture Surveyed


farmers to get baseline data of initial conditions in the district



Community Coordinators in permaculture participatory video and mapping



civil society organizations into the Dowa Civil Society Organization Network.


IN AUGUST 2013, Kusamala, in partnership with The James Hutton Institute and Climate Futures, began a 3-year Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) for rural smallholder farmers project funded by the Scottish Government. In collaboration with key stakeholders, the CSA partners are working in Dowa and Lilongwe districts of Malawi to improve household resilience and pro-poor planning for climate change adaptation through activities targeted at community, district and national levels. At the village level we are enhancing the capacity of village clubs to address their needs and to identify and implement on-farm tree and crop management activities through awareness raising and training; facilitating community exchanges to share learning; enabling communities to engage in vulnerability mapping assessments to inform village level climate resilience planning; and promoting participatory evaluation processes to ensure project activities are adapted and focused on maximising benefits for communities. At the district level we are coordinating relevant civil society organisations to collate and document good practice in CSA strategies and engage in evidence-based advocacy to share and improve resources and knowledge of appropriate activities leading to climate change resilience. At the national level we are seeking to create a Malawian national centre of excellence for CSA at Kusamala that will act as an exemplar of best practice, to provide recognised training, to lead on the collation and validation of empirical data to national policy makers, and to disseminate learning widely through a range of media in Malawi, neighbouring southern African countries and globally. At project initiation, a survey of 374 farmers in Dowa was conducted to provide a baseline of initial conditions in the district. Ten community coordinators were trained extensively for four months in climate smart agriculture, participatory video & mapping, and monitoring & evaluation. Farmers were organized into 100 CSA clubs; to date, four participatory video workshops have been held, attended by 300 farmers. Farmers have also established 15 tree nurseries in preparation for the 2014-2015 rainy season, with 90,000 agroforestry trees such as Tephrosia, Faidherbia, Afzelia, and Acacia to be planted in staple fields and home gardens. Additionally, farmers will be integrating nitrogen-fixing legumes into their staple fields such as pigeon peas, and kidney beans. Using GIS technology, a map of the relevant civil society organizations working in Dowa district was created to aid in the formation of the Dowa CSO Network. Currently the Network includes over 45 individuals from 25 civil society organizations. To date, 3 CSO Network meetings have been held and officers have been elected. Additionally, in partnership with the African Centre of Biosafety, soils from farmers’ plots have been tested to compare with samples to be taken farther along in the project timeframe. At the community level, the climate smart agriculture for smallholder farmers project is using participatory video (PV) and participatory mapping as innovative tools to engage and empower farmers. Using relatively inexpensive equipment, farmers create and edit videos that enable them to share their experiences and knowledge with others: from farmers in other communities to policy decision makers at the district and national levels. Through PV workshops, project extension workers guide farmers in the video-making process but leave the themes and subject matter of the videos in the hands of the farmers. In this way, project activities are ensured to reflect the actual issues confronting farmers, making the project more relevant and successful. The medium of video allows for broad engagement as farmers can easily share knowledge and voice concerns no matter their education level, literacy, or gender. Additionally, the videos produced provide a unique qualitative method to monitor and evaluate project success, as videos created at the start of the project can be compared with those created at the end, to determine how practices and perceptions may have changed over the course of the project. Participatory mapping workshops work in a similar way, with extension workers helping farmers use basic GPS technology, Google Earth maps, projectors, and pen & paper to help create accurate community and farm level geo-spatial data. 6


Participatory Mapping Created 5 Maps of Dowa



Community Coordinators in participatory mapping

Worked with 50 farmers to create farmscale maps 7

From October 2013 to June 2014, Kusamala partnered with 2 National Geographic Young Explorer grantees, Austin Dunn and Julia Reynolds on their project: “Participatory Mapping for Permaculture: Expressing and Sharing Knowledge through Geographic Visualization in Malawi.” With support from Esri (Environmental System Research Institute) Conservation Program, a global leader in GIS technology, Asa Strong joined as the third member of the “mapping team” and assisted in developing a GIS program to help monitor and evaluate the impacts of our work across Malawi. The goal of the participatory mapping project was to use geographic information systems (GIS) and participatory mapping exercises with local farmers in order to identify the environmental, economic, and nutritional benefits of implementing permaculture and agro-ecology. The mapping team worked with local smallholder farmers in Dowa and Khundi to create farm-scale maps of conventional and alternative agricultural systems, that served as the basis of their analysis. Throughout the course of the project, the mapping team played a crucial role supporting the Climate Smart Agriculture grant: leading participatory mapping trainings for the 10 community coordinators Participatory mapping—and more broadly, Participatory Learning and Action—is not a simple undertaking. By definition, participatory mapping is process-oriented. While it is okay to have goals, more important than what is produced is how it is produced and by whom. The idea of participatory mapping, in the context of this project, is it invites disenfranchised communities to define, produce, and record their own spatial knowledge using suitable methods for them. Thus, the roles as researchers are transformed from geographers, GIS experts, and cartographers to facilitators, responsible for engaging communities with ideas about resource management and environmental design and equipping them with tools to take action.



DanChurchAid Created


farmers clubs to improve access to local markets

In August 2013, Kusamala began working in an advisory role on the “Mainstreaming climate-smart agriculture in solar irrigation schemes for sustainable local business development in Malawi� project, funded by Nordic Climate Facility. Led by DanChurchAid, and in partnership with Churches Action Relief and Development (CARD) and Christian Service Committee (CSC), the project is working with 15,000 farming households in Mzimba, Thyolo and Nsanje Districts. The core objective of the project is to empower vulnerable communities in Malawi to adapt to the impacts of climate change through sustainable businesses in solar irrgation schemes and to mititgate and adapt to climate change through climate smart agriculture. The project is embarking on a cost-effective and sustainable two-year intervention by making use of the physical structures and community mobilisation of existing solar and other irrigation schemes in Mzimba, Thyolo and Nsanje districts of Malawi. This project is three-fold and will (1) introduce climate-smart agricultural techniques that will hedge climate risks for rural poor smallholder farmers in Malawi, with the double purpose of mitigating and adapting climate change, (2) utilise the branding of organic produce for marketing purposes through innovative and effective business skills, plans and linkages, and (3) identify potential income sources through alternative funding schemes like payments for ecosystem services (PES) and carbon financing projects. Kusamala is acting in a training and advisory capacity on climate smart agriculture, and to date has trained 20 trainers and provided field support for CARD and CSC, and conducted value chain analysis and market research for farm produce in the relevant districts. The project is scheduled to span 20 months, August 2013 to March 2015. The Nordic Climate Facility is financed by the Nordic Development Fund and implemented jointely with the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation.


Janeemo Planted


agroforestry seeds in tree nurseries From June 2013 through April 2014, Kusmala continued working as the implementing partner for the JANEEMO grant, an agroforestry and permaculture project funded by the Scottish Government and managed in partnership with the James Hutton Institute and Climate Futures. The initial 3-year project, which Kusamala joined late, in March of 2012, was originally scheduled to end in April 2013, but due to delays in the original project timeline, the project was extended 1 year through April 2014 in order to reach additional communities and continue training and planting. During the additional year of the project, Kusamala increased the number of farmer clubs from 16 to 21 and hired two community coordinators to work the new clubs in Dowa district. The 21 farmer clubs, 20 in Dowa and 1 Lilongwe (Khundi) were given materials to establish tree nurseries including 10,000 tubes, 2kgs of Moringa seed, 0.5 kgs of Faidherbia albida seed and 1 kg of Khaya Nyasica seed. With the goal that each club will plant close to 10,000 seeds. In October 2013, Kusamala’s community coordinator, Joel Nkhwentchera ,facilitated a Food and Nutrition course for 40 representatives from the 20 clubs in Dowa. The training focused on the use of Moringa, with the aim to enhance household use of Moringa and improve nutrition.


Demonstrations Central to Kusamala’s mission is to demonstrate for low-input, income generating permaculture and agroecology systems. At our headquarters in rural Lilongwe, we achieve this through a variety of demonstration plots including a home garden, commercial garden, staple field and tree nursery, to show how permaculture can be applied at different scales and with different goals. The home garden demonstrates how household level permaculture can be an effective way to improve nutrition and increase food security by providing families with nutritious fruits and vegetables year round. While our commercial garden is a demonstration of organic and sustainable food production that serves to feed as well as generate income for the organization. Our staple field demonstrates crop rotation and intercropping techniques coupled with water management through the use of swales as well as the inclusion of agroforestry trees, all resulting in a more productive system that does not require extensive inputs. Staple Field In fiscal year 2013-14 we planted 1 acre to maize, 0.3 acres to beans, 0.3 acres to groundnuts, 0.3 acres to sweet potatoes, 0.2 acres to upland rice and 0.2 to cassava, soya and sorghum. The 1.7 acre field was amended with 16 tones of solid and liquid manure as well as compost. Unfortunately, challenges arising from staffing issues resulted in irregular and incomplete yield data for the year. As an organization dedicated to researching and advocating for the use of permaculture and agroecology practices, we recognize the importance of gathering accurate planting and harvest data and are focused on improving our data collection practices moving forward.


Commercial Garden Our commercial garden uses permanent beds, both keyhole and double reach, to grow a variety of plants according to a rotational plan. The produce harvested from the garden was used to prepare staff lunches and meals for trainings as well as sold in “vegetable boxes” to residents of Lilongwe as an income generator for the organization. In FY 2013-14 we grew our vegetable box subscribers to a historic 22 individuals and families.

© Sabine Hellmann Photography 2014

Events In addition to demonstrating permaculture’s promise through Centre demonstrations, Kusamala also participated in international conferences and traveled within the region for educational exchanges with similar organizations. In August, Molly Cheatum and Chisomo Kamchacha attended the 1st Africa Food Security and Adaptation Conference in Nairobi, Kenya. Organized by UNEP and FAO, the conference focused on harnessing ecosystem based approaches for food security and climate change adapatation in Africa. Chisomo lead a presentation, “Permaculture and Agroecology: Designing household demonstrations to improve food security, livelihoods, and ecosystems” that built upon the research of Abigail Conrad and included data from Kusamala’s staff and family members.


Trainings An important goal for Kusamala is to ensure long-term sustainability by increasing non-grant income. Trainings, apprenticeships, and farm sales are independent revenue streams that contribute to our financial stability. In FY 2013-14 Kusamala trained a diverse group of individuals within a range of training programs: ranging from a short 2-day hands-on introduction to permaculture course attended by young Danish volunteers to a comprehensive 4-month permaculture apprenticeship for our 10 CSA project community coordinators. Kusamala’s training programs are always customized for the needs of the project and community being served. We were thrilled to expand our offerings this year to include trainings in participatory mapping and video and plan to incorporate these curriculums in future projects as well.

Apprentices Beginning in June 2013, 2 apprentices from Gospelink, a Christian aid organization supporting ministers and preachers in Africa, participated in a 3-month permaculture internship at Kusamala. Through the comprehensive training, Maurice Vindota and Luke Makiwi, who study theology at Gospelink’s Agricultural Training Center in Salima, learned how to introduced permaculture practices to the farm facility on the lake and to address food sovereignty and hunger relief issues affected the surrounding communities.


Centre Improvements

This past year saw many changes and improvements to Kusamala’s demonstration centre in rural Lilongwe. The largest project was the construction of our new dorm building. The building design includes 2 large rooms that can each accommodate up to 8 individuals- providing much needed space for training participants, apprentices, and other guests to Kusamala. In the coming year we plan to construct an outdoor kitchen for the dorm as well as to build more permanent showers and composting toilets to replace the current temporary structures that are located near the building.

In addition to the construction of the dorm building, we also built a new “summer hut� where staff eat lunch and erected a new greenhouse built with pcv piping and heavy-duty plastic sheeting. The new greenhouse provides a protected environment for our seedlings before they are transplanted into gardens around the centre.


Financials Kusamala’s income significantly increased in fiscal year 2014 following increased income from grants and contracts with other local organisation. With funds provided to implement community projects in Dowa for the Climate Smart Agriculture and Nsanje, Thyolo, Chikwawa and Mzimba for the Danchurch Aid projects, we expanded our operations and reach thereby taking significant steps forward in making the organisation visible both at local and international level.

Statement of Financial Activities Receipts Foundation & Trust Grants Garden & Tree Nursery Sales Individual, Business Contributions Apprentices, Trainings & Tours Other Income Total receipts Payments Administration Centre operations Projects


126,273,610.19 22,602,019.99 516,979.30 13,719,764.96 218,013.09 142,988,387.53


317,258.03 5,678.23 1,298.90 34,470.43 547.75 359,253.34

Total payments

18,822,275.90 9,434,456.39 65,225,530.58 93,482,262.87

47,290.09 23,703.74 163,876.86 234,870.69

Net of receipts/(payments) Cash funds last year end Cash funds this year end

49,506,124.66 4,811,344.74 54,317,469.40

124,382.65 14,725.71 139,108.36

Income In fiscal year 2014, Kusamala generated or received $359, 253. Of this $317,258 came from grants and contracts representing 88% of the income and a 188% increase over last year’s income of $124, 324. The grant received was for the Climate Smart Agriculture project funded by the Scottish Government through James Hutton Institute and Mainstreaming climate smart agriculture in solar irrigation schemes for sustainable local business environment in Malawi funded by Dan Church Aid. Garden sales and trainings which are the centre’s main income generating activities contributed 12% of the total income. Specifically the trainings (Apprentices, Courses and Tours) contributed 10% of the income representing a 48% increase from last fiscal year’s results. The garden sales, which includes veg boxes and other nursery sales, generated 2% of the total income. Though the garden percentage contribution to the total income has declined, the garden recorded 18% increase in its annual revenue compared to fiscal year 2013.


Below is the graphical analysis of Kusamala’s incoming recourses Chart Title in 2014 fiscal year.


0% 2%


Garden & Tree Nursery Sales Foundation & Trust Grants Individual, Business Contributions Apprentices, Trainings & Tours Other Income 88%

Expenditure Kusamala expenses in fiscal year 2014 increases by 94%. The significant increase was due to increase in grants and contracts and consequently project activities. The expenditure is represented by the graph below.

Chart Title

20% Administration 10%

Centre Operations Projects


In fiscal year 2015, Kusamala expects continued income from from two projects that are continuing into the year 2015, these projects started in 2013 with funding from the Scottish Government and Nordic Climate Facilities through Dan Church Aid.


Our Team Board of Directors Godfrey Chapola Grace Chimphonda Atusaye Mwalwanda Guy Pickering Maureen Pickering Executive Director Molly Cheatum Management Team Lead Permaculture Trainer: Luwayo Biswick Communications & Programs: Catherine Carlton & Tiffany Loveridge Climate Smart Agriculture Project Manager: Alinafe Banda Climate Smart Agriculture Project Coordinator: Chisomo Kamchacha Community Outreach & Operations/DCA Project Management: Eston Mgala Demonstration Manager: William Nkhunga Accounting/Administration: Ephraim Chiunjiza Agroecology: Marie Raboin Market Garden Manager: Matt Frye Residential Garden, Livestock, Water Management: Daniel Shclupp Staff Market Garden Enock Chikale Joseph Kachere Samuel Kandiweni Mike Ntande Food & Nutrition Moreen Chunga Rhoda Godfrey Cecilia Katunga Implementation Daniel Chikawo Green Kalitsiro

CSA Community Coordinators Tchaison Kaipandole Esimy Chioza Fanny Lembani Temwanani Gondwe Enock Alfred Alick Kaundama Gladson Chakwera Vincent Makiyi Tree Nursery/Khundi Community Liason Isaac Banda

Security Disone Banda Zakaria Gama Mathews Kanyama Acknowledgements Participatory Mapping Austin Dunn Julia Reynolds Asa Strong Dikirani Thaulo Participatory Video Sabine Hellmann


Apprentices Maurice Vindota Luke Makiwi Volunteers Carolina De LaCruz Megan Shultze Courtney Dehn-Gurbacki Daniel Hoffman

Report Compiled and Designed by Tiffany Loveridge Financials Complied by Charles Makawa Edited by Molly Cheatum


www.kusamala.org info@kusamala.org

P.O. Box 30376 Lilongwe, Malawi