Malawi + 2 more

Southern Africa: C-SAFE Situation Report No. 4 - 30 Apr 2003

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published
Another fast-paced two months for the C-SAFE partners - In addition to staffing-up and preparing for commodity receipts and distributions, March/April found C-SAFE members busy with the baseline survey; a week-long commodities workshop in Joburg; and finalizing the yr 2&3 proposals for FFP Washington - due first week in May. Here's a summary of events from the last two months.
C-SAFE proposals, reporting and other funding issues:

Year 1 Proposal Revisions: The YR 1 proposal revisions, including Implementation Plans as well as revised AERs and budgets, were submitted to Food for Peace (FFP) Washington on March 31. This was in accordance with FFP's letter of request that accompanied the signed three-year Transfer Authorization in February. We still await final budget approval.

Year 2&3 Proposal development: The RPU worked together with Tango International to review and edit the YR 2&3 proposals from each of the three C-SAFE countries; and, to develop the consolidated regional proposal for FY 2004-5. The lead agencies for all three countries brought in food security experts and grant writers to facilitate the proposal development process among their consortium members. Finishing touches are being made this week, including responses to comments on our draft proposal from FFP Regional; WFP Regional; and steering committee members. The proposal will be submitted by World Vision on May 6 to FFP Washington.

As noted in the last sit-rep, the content of the YR 2&3 proposals very much reflects the changing food security environment in each of the C-SAFE countries, with Zimbabwe still in the emergency mode (continued general and supplementary feeding) and Malawi and Zambia making a dramatic shift towards objectives 2 & 3 of C-SAFE's log-frame; namely increasing productive assets (SO2), and improving community resilience to food security shocks (SO3).

In practice, this means greater focus on nutritional and HIV/AIDS education under SO1 (improve/maintain nutritional status of vulnerable groups); and using food to rebuild infrastructure (food-for-assets) under SO2. Most activities under SO2 seek to address problems of declining soil fertility and moisture through the installation of erosion control structures, small-scale irrigation systems and conservation farming methods. In addition, a significant effort is planned to enhance capacity in the multiplication of locally adapted seed. The construction/rehabilitation of rural roads via FFW has been prioritized in Malawi and Zambia, with the objective of improving farmer access to markets.

Under SO3, activities include strengthening local systems to prepare for, predict, and respond to future food shortages. In Malawi, the consortium will work with local groups to establish seed banks and village savings and loans (VSL). For seed banks, C-SAFE will provide the initial input of seeds and training multiplication, planting, storage and banking. VSLs will provide capital for small-scale economic activities as well as provide a buffer for times of mild to moderate food shortages. In Zambia, C-SAFE has proposed grain storage construction at the household level along with training in post-harvest crop management and processing. C-SAFE Zimbabwe will program food commodities to support a variety of community-based safety net projects that will increase resilience to food security shocks.

Other Donor Funding: C-SAFE met briefly with Harlan Hale, OFDA, earlier this month and discussed possible funding opportunities. The RPU intends to prepare a concept paper in the coming weeks for OFDA, and other possible donors, focusing on activities that were not covered under the FFP grant. This would include interventions that fall under Objective 3 of C-SAFE's logframe (building community resistance to food security shocks) as well as monitoring mechanisms, such as sentinel site surveillance, for the overall program.

Donor Reporting: FFP has granted C-SAFE a 30-day extension on the first semi-annual report. The first C-SAFE progress report is now due May 31, covering the period 1 October 2002 - 31 March 2003.

Market Intervention Pilot Program (MIPP): Following the successful completion of "An Assessment of Emergency Market Intervention Possibilities in Zimbabwe," by Patrick Diskin (FFP/USAID), David Rink (CRS) and Craig Mackay (WV) in March 2003, C-SAFE is proposing to amend its YR 1 Implementation Plan to include a Market Intervention Pilot Program (MIPP) in Zimbabwe. The program intends to provide 150,000 wage-earning households access to affordable sorghum meal/flour in targeted areas of southern Zimbabwe. The MIPP will utilize Zimbabwean private-sector enterprises, entrepreneurs, and markets to mill, package, and sell 15,000 Mt of sorghum to urban and rural wage-earning households in Bulawayo and southwestern Zimbabwe who, due to the current economic crisis, are largely unable to purchase sufficient cereals at affordable prices.

The program will utilize a dual marketing structure of sales through miller-owned stores and a separate network of small-scale traders in order to simultaneously maintain affordable prices, and encourage market activity by entrepreneurs. The timeframe of the pilot is proposed for June - September of this year and will be managed by CRS on C-SAFE's behalf. If successful, the pilot will inform the development of an expanded market intervention during YR's 2&3 of C-SAFE's program.

Ongoing Activities (March / early April)

Zimbabwe: In March, C-SAFE reached a total of 368,942 beneficiaries through general distributions. CRS completed general distributions to 77,260 beneficiaries in Chegutu and 99,936 in Kadoma. The flow of commodities has rapidly increased, necessitating more warehouse space and leading CRS to secure a third warehouse in Harare to store commodity before dispatching it to the districts. CRS Steering Committee member Paul Macek visited Zimbabwe to meet with partners, donors and visit the above-mentioned distributions.

In March, CARE reached a targeted population of 189,359 in 35 wards in three districts. It was the first time beneficiaries received 100% of planned cereal distributions. In addition to the baseline survey (being conducted jointly with the VAC), C-SAFE has agreed to conduct a survey of re-settlement areas to assess the level of vulnerability of these populations. As agreed with US Mission, if the survey justifies a need, C-SAFE will plan assistance to these groups. World Vision conducted a rapid qualitative assessment as well as rapid crop assessment in March to help inform the development of the C-SAFE YR 2&3 proposal. New warehouse space was also secured in both Harare and Bulawayo in anticipation of new commodity arrivals.

Zambia: CRS completed beneficiary registrations for Sesheke, Shangombo, Monogu and Solwezi in March. All districts, except Mongu, received sufficient commodities to begin distributions in April. Community sensitization, distribution plans and transport arrangements were also completed in preparation for distributions. CRS has staffed up substantially during the month of March, including the hiring of an Emergency Coordinator, who will serve as the focal point for CRS in its role as the lead agency of C-SAFE Zambia.

World Vision also spent March hiring new staff (4 nutrition supervisors, 27 nutrition monitors and 40 food monitors), as well as logistics/warehouse staff for the C-SAFE program. Trainings were also held for the food monitors and other new hires. Ration cards were prepared and dispatched to targeted districts, while warehousing preparations were made in anticipation of commodity arrivals.

In March, CARE worked towards developing its capacity to sensitize the communities on the utilization of cereals, namely bulgur wheat and sorghum, which are new to the food basket. This included testing recipes, creating pamphlets, and training staff (TOT) and relief committee members in the preparation of bulgur wheat. CARE is now beginning to tackle issues around minimizing the amount of sorghum that is used to make beer, for example by milling the grains to reduce the likelihood that people will brew it. CARE is also beginning to sensitize HIV/AIDS affected families in the Livingston area to the uses of sorghum and bulgur. CARE trained 2,341 people on these issues during the month of March.

Malawi: In March, the 9 PVO partners in the Malawi Consortium held a 'nuts & bolts' meeting to discuss implementation of YR 1 activities, for which its Implementation Plan was finalized and submitted to FFP. Targets were set for beneficiary numbers and each partner held district level meetings to plan/coordinate implementation of activities. Village AIDS Committees (VACs) were formed to participate in the targeting of HIV/AIDS (chronically ill) affected households.

The American Red Cross assisted the Malawi Red Cross in hiring new C-SAFE project staff. Emmanuel International held discussions with village leaders and community groups to identify/form Village AIDS Committees (VACs) for targeting of HIV/AIDS affected families. 43 Volunteers were also trained HIV/AIDS and gender awareness. World Vision received CSB, Oil and maize flour in 22 out of 24 health centers and had finalized training plans for health staff by the end of March. Height boards, basins for mixing food for malnourished under-fives and other equipment was purchased in preparation for the start of activities in April. Save US continued its supplementary feeding program and began planning for upcoming FFW activities, including site identification and briefings for Village Relief Committees. SAVE UK identified feeding centers for supplementary feeding to Pregnant & Lactating Women, in addition to identifying community-based organizations for distribution to the chronically ill. The Salvation Army began targeting households affected by HIV/AIDS (chronically ill) using its existing home-based care volunteers. Both CARE and AFRICARE held meetings with district administrations (Lilongwe & Dowa and Nkhata & Ntcheu respectively) in preparation for MUAC screenings and food distribution via outreach centers. Health staff training will follow.

Note: Activities from April 7 forward will appear in the next sit-rep.

Monitoring & Evaluation:

Baseline Survey: Rich Caldwell from Tango International spent three weeks in Johannesburg designing the baseline survey and conducting a Training of Trainers for the C-SAFE M&E officers and other M&E staff from Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi. PVO's that participated included CARE, WV, CRS, American Red Cross, and Emannuel International. Following the TOT in Joburg, the Malawi and Zambia M&E officers (Clara Hagens and Clare Mbizule) conducted in-country trainings for their enumerators and supervisors, where the questionnaires were also pre-tested. In Zimbabwe, a decision was made to combine the C-SAFE baseline survey with the VAC, which was taking place at the same time and seeking similar information. This resulted in considerable resource savings given that trainings and data collection were done as a joint exercise. Jamo Huddle, Zimbabwe's new M&E officer, headed is heading up the survey.

The baseline focuses on food security data using techniques such as the Coping Strategy Index (CSI) to rank the extent to which households are resorting to negative coping strategies to in response to food security shocks. For nutritional data, C-SAFE will rely heavily on the recently conducted UNICEF surveys for each of the three countries, which also sought similar data and were conducted using similar timeframes to the C-SAFE baseline. Michka Seroussi, the RPU's new M&E Advisor spent one week in each of the three countries to provide guidance and assist with the training of local staff. Simunza Muyangana, the new Program Assistant for the RPU, is also in each country for several days to install the data masks and train the data entry clerks and data managers.

Sentinel Site Surveillance: WFP and UNICEF co-hosted a Technical Consultation on Nutrition on April 8th & 9th to make recommendations on the inclusion of nutritional indicators into the planned WFP/C-SAFE Sentinel Site Surveillance System, as well as broader recommendations on nutritional surveillance in the region. (The report is available on request - contact Kara Greenblott.) Five C-SAFE representatives attended and found the two days useful in informing decisions on how to proceed with the surveillance plan. In the end, it was decided that 'food security' indicators only, not nutritional indicators, would be monitored via the WFP/C-SAFE sentinel site joint venture.

Barbara Reed, C-SAFE's Sentinel Site Coordinator continues to work closely with our WFP colleagues to draft a budget and timeline for implementation. Draft questionnaires for the HH level and community level surveys have been prepared and are being reviewed. Indicators to be included are: Coping Strategies Index (CSI) developed by CARE/WFP; Asset Sales; Stress Migration; and Food Supply reflected in diet the previous day and food sources.

As a general conclusion to the workshop - it was agreed (by C-SAFE and UN agencies alike) that nutritional 'surveillance' should soon replace the very expensive district level UNICEF 'surveys' that take place semi-annually in each country, and that any regional nutritional surveillance should be lead by UNICEF, in collaboration local government as well as PVO partners.

Commodities:

Commodity Workshop: A Commodity Management Workshop was conducted by the RPU in Johannesburg between April 14 & 17, 2003 and was attended by representatives from 6 different agencies (ADRA, CARE, CRS, Emmanuel International, SCF-US and WVI) from Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The workshop included a one-day (Apr. 14) trip to the port of Durban, where participants were given a tour of the port facilities and warehouses. The afternoon session was utilized for discussions with the three Survey agents (Control Union, SGS and Intertek Testing Services) and the 3 C&F agents (Rennies Bulk Terminal, Maersk Logistics and Expologics), an exercise, which was beneficial to all concerned. The remaining three days were spent in deliberations on clarifying roles and responsibilities, coordination, communication and also focused largely on attempting to bring about some form of standardization on reporting formats.

Shipments:

  • Corn: The milling of the bulk corn, which arrived in the port of Durban has been completed and the milled maize has been dispatched to the three locations in Zimbabwe, i.e. Bulawayo, Harare and Gweru. On completion of this exercise, the milling loss is now estimated at around 1.4%.
  • Sorghum: The dispatch of sorghum from Dar-es-Salaam port continues to be problematic with wagons not being made available. This situation is being followed-up with the C&F agent.
  • Bulgur Wheat: Against an allocation of 9,983.650 mts for Zimbabwe and 9,990.200 mts for Zambia, a quantity of 9,942 mts and 9,858 mts respectively have been dispatched.
  • Pinto Beans - Durban Discharge: The re-sleeving / re-bagging operations at the port of Durban has concluded. There is no balance at the port of Durban for onward transportation.
  • Corn Meal - Zimbabwe: Against a total B/L quantity of 14,516.525 mts of corn meal which arrived on m.v. Lark, a quantity of 3,672.100 mts is currently available at the port of Durban, awaiting dispatch to the various locations in Zimbabwe. Gweru has been experiencing problems with regard to warehousing and this has slowed down the dispatch to a certain extent.
  • The short-loading of maize meal on m.v. Lark finally arrived in the port of Durban on m.v. Aristotelis in 20 containers - a total of 393.375 metric tons. During de-stuffing of these containers, a total quantity of 1,085 bags (or 27.125) metric tons was rejected and was destroyed on April 24 in Durban, with the authorization of USAID/FFP and under the supervision of authorities from the Customs department and the Department of Agriculture. The Surveyor and the C&F agent were present during the destruction process.
  • Corn Meal - Malawi: The m.v. Lark also carried a quantity of 5,000 mts of corn meal for the Malawi C-SAFE program. The entire quantity has been loaned to WFP for their program in Mozambique. Against this quantity, WFP/Malawi will release a mixed quantity of whole maize and maize meal, which they currently hold at their warehouses in Malawi. The MOU for this transaction is yet to be finalized with WFP.
  • Corn Soy Blend (CSB): A quantity of 3,400 mts of CSB for Zimbabwe is due to arrive in the port of Durban on m.v. Cleveland on/around the first week of June, 2003. This vessel is also carrying a quantity of 1,600 mts of CSB for the Malawi program and is scheduled to arrive in the port of Durban approximately 7-10 days later.
C-SAFE STAFF:

C-SAFE welcomes Clare Mbizule, a consultant from Joburg who is heading up the Zambia baseline for 8 wks; and Jamo Huddle Zimbabwe's new C-SAFE M&E officer. Orhan Morina also joins CRS Zambia as the Emergency Coordinator and overall focal point for the Zambia consortium. Additionally, Simunza Muyangana, Thulani Wilson and Villem De Lang joined the RPU in April. Simunza is the new Program Assistant and will assist with the M&E function and general support to the programming; Thulani joins the Admin/Finance section as IT Support Officer; and Willem joins the RPU's commodity section as Logistics Officer. The RPU is in the final stage of hiring a HIV/AIDS & Nutrition Advisor. We hope to make an offer to one of three short-listed candidates by the end of May.

If you have questions or comments on any of the topics in this sitrep, please contact Kara Greenblott, C-SAFE ProgramOfficer at kara_greenblott@c-safe.org / mobile 27 725 329 256. Steve Goudswaard, RPU Manager, can be reached at steve_goudswaard@c-safe.org / mobile: 27 829 091 498.