Malawi + 2 more

Southern Africa: Situation report Feb - Mar 2004


C-SAFE Quarterly Review
Consortium members attended a C-SAFE Quarterly Review in Lusaka, Zambia in March, which was a valuable opportunity for C-SAFE members and the Steering Committee to evaluate progress and challenges in the previous three months and plan for the next three. Presentations from the Food and Resource Management Working Group, Monitoring and Evaluation Working Group and Program Direction Working Group examined issues on improving commodity management, beneficiary targeting and reporting, and the desire for more learning and information sharing opportunities across the three country consortia. The meeting took time to appraise the "value-added" of working as a consortium, with examples cited of increased coordination with government agencies in Malawi, achieving standardisation of ration sizes across partner agencies in Zimbabwe and improvements in farming techniques, water conservation and seed multiplication through collaboration in Zambia. Issues around beneficiary graduation/discharge criteria, the expansion of C-SAFE's successful MAPP program in Zimbabwe, interest in the new Learning Centre based out of the Johannesburg office, and strategic statements produced by each country consortia were discussed. The next C-SAFE Quarterly Review will be held in June in Malawi.

COMMODITIES

During the reporting period, Ivica Stankovic replaced Krishnaswamy Gopalan, and with the aim to improve overall commodities management, significant changes were made in staffing and structure of RPU Commodities Management Unit.


From Oct '03 - March '04, a total of 27,850.925 MTs of commodities were received.
SHIPMENT
COMMODITY
MT
DELIVERY
Tugela Pinto Beans
3,351.200
Zimbabwe
Algoa Bay Sorghum
12,480.000
Zimbabwe
Crystal CSB
Bulgur
3,332.900
2,336.550
Zimbabwe
Zambia
Zrin CSB
Bulgur
Bulgur
1,831.450
1,159.450
851.000
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Zambia
Zambezi Bulgur
CSB
Pinto Beans
2,148.850
184.525
175.000
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Total received: 27,850.925 MT

Below table indicates commodities distributed (MT) per country during second quarter of FY04:
Malawi
Zambia
Zimbabwe
TOTAL
Jan - March
7,339
4,200
26,253
37,792MT

Beneficiary Figures - Jan-March '04.
Malawi
Zambia
Zimbabwe
TOTAL
January
39,903
108,117
569,112
717,132
February
45,673
133,230
861,944
1,040,847
March
40,360
160,595
820,920
1,021,875

HIV/AIDS

February and March saw active engagement in training by many C-SAFE partners.

In February, the Positive Living Training Workshop held in Nelspruit, South Africa was well attended by representatives of the Consortium. A wealth of information was shared and discussed at this ten-day training, and participants identified several strategies that could be fused into current and future programming. The delegation from Malawi assigned a design team that has since been busy developing a curriculum suitable for their rollout, which will run for 10 days beginning June 19. This curriculum will be shared with members in Zambia and Zimbabwe for further adaptation and use.

The first of the C-SAFE HIV/AIDS training workshops, 'HIV and AIDS: Opportunities for Food Security Programming' was held in Zambia March 24-26 with 26 participants.

This three-day workshop drew on local resource people to present topics including TB, Mother-to-Child Transmission, Positive Living and Antiretroviral Therapy. Issues such as stigma, staff management in a high prevalence context and personal leadership were also discussed. Workshop notes are available on www.c-safe.org. Similar workshops are planned for Malawi (April 20-22) and Zimbabwe (May 11-13).

C-SAFE's HIV/AIDS and Nutrition Technical Advisor, Kate Greenaway, continued to work closely with members, providing support to programming and workplace policy development through visits to Zimbabwe and Malawi. With the TB - HIV co-infection rate pegged at around 70% in this region, significant effort has been devoted to refining the targeting of TB patients for food aid, as well as the development of appropriate 'graduation' strategies for this sub-group. Kate has also been helping partners identify and strengthen linkages between existing HIV/AIDS and food security (C-SAFE) programming.

The fourth edition of the C-SAFE HIV/AIDS Newsletter was produced in March and distributed to an ever-growing readership.

MONITORING AND EVALUATION

A report produced from the C-SAFE M&E external review is now available and a summary will soon be posted on the C-SAFE website. The review was conducted in February by a Catholic Relief Services technical advisory team. Among other accomplishments, the report commends C-SAFE for making significant advances in M&E for developmental relief worldwide, through the investigation and formulation of much-needed operational criteria and guidance, the design of new tools, and the innovative application of existing ones. Examples of these include standardizing definitions of basic types of vulnerable groups; applying portions of the Coping Strategies Index (CSI) in a new way to conduct food security surveys covering thousands of households; using a Asset Wealth Ranking variable to help refine targeting into already targeted groups; and adopting an astute mix of quantitative and qualitative approaches to data collection, instrument design, and reporting.

Recommendations were made by the review team that C-SAFE create a global flow chart or diagram to illustrate C-SAFE's M&E tools and systems. The document will enable C-SAFE to share and disseminate progress in M&E with the many interested stakeholders.

Since October 2003, C-SAFE and its partner WFP have completed two Community and Household Surveillance (CHS) rounds. Two categories of reports have been produced as a result of the monitoring and evaluation exercise. The first, an Outcome Report, analyses the effects of WFP and C-SAFE (Zimbabwe) food aid interventions on households in the six EMOP countries. The second, an In-depth Report, analyses food and livelihood security trends in the three C-SAFE countries according to vulnerable groupings. These two reports will be available beginning of May.

Z I M B A B W E

Market Assistance Pilot Program

Shops were stocked full of maize meal in February, which was good timing for residents of low-income suburbs of Bulawayo. Household incomes in these areas rose dramatically over the previous 3 months and, since the prices of both maize meal and sorghum meal remained the same, this meant that they had a choice of cereal products they could afford.

In January, roughly 10% of MAPP sorghum was being resold in markets outside the low-income suburbs of Bulawayo and also in the informal markets within Bulawayo at a higher price than allowed by the program. To curb this, the official price of the product was increased from Z$4,000 to Z$6,000 per 10-KG.

The intended effect took hold in February, as very few incidents of reselling were observed, which was most likely the consequence of reducing the profit margin in the resale market.

Some stores ran out of sorghum meal in January because individuals intending to resell the product somewhere else made runs on inventories. In February, however, because these individuals were not competing with the intended beneficiaries for MAPP sorghum, less of our product left the target area and a higher percentage of the product went to intended beneficiaries.

Milled (tons)
Produced (tons)
Extraction
Rate
Sold
(tons)
September 1/
28
22
77.10%
22
October
1,000
533
53.30%
531
November
2,053
1,364
66.40%
1,361
December
2,722
1,775
65.21%
1,369
January 2/
403
289
71.71%
711
February
2,157
1,537
71.26%
1,092
March
1,011
779
77.08%
631
Totals
9,374
6,299
Average
5,717
Average
1,704
1,145
67.2%
1,039
1/ Includes only 2 days of production
2/ Warehouse closed for 2 weeks of January for the holidays and then fumigation of grain stock.
February gross revenue: Z$545,603,950 - March gross revenue: Z$321,978,300 - Total program gross revenue: Z$2,213,345,430


MARCH: The Bulawayo market remained relatively unchanged from the previous month. Household incomes in the low-income suburbs of Bulawayo increased only slightly in March (.9%). Both maize meal and sorghum meal prices remained unchanged and both were in plentiful supply throughout the low-income suburbs.

The one significant change in the market in March was in purchases of bread made from wheat flour. Back in November (2003), only 41.4% of low-income households were able to purchase bread at any point in the month and those who did were only able to buy one loaf per month at most. In short supply, the bread available was expensive and sold out rapidly.

The GMB recently began releasing large quantities of wheat onto the local market and, with the rise in household incomes; bread is now very affordable for low-income households. In March, over 87% of low-income households purchased bread and the average low-income household now purchases 4 loaves per month.

Low-income households in Bulawayo bought and ate about as much maize meal as they did in February. MAPP sorghum meal sales, however, declined in March from previous months. The most likely contributor to this decrease in sales was bread, as bread made from wheat flour (as opposed to sorghum flour, for example) is preferred by consumers in the Bulawayo market to sorghum meal.

Z I M B A B W E

WORLD VISION

World Vision continued with general food distributions in Bulilimamangwe, Beitbridge, Gwanda and Bubi in February/March. Meetings were convened with the local leadership in the four C-SAFE districts to discuss the new nutrition implementation strategy. The idea of targeted feeding was accepted in all the four districts. Starting in April, WV will be distributing 10kg dry rations of CSB to under fives whose weight for height is 80% of the median or below. World Vision reports that the Child Supplementary Feeding Program will be phasing out in all Area Development Programmes following a recent rapid nutrition assessment of over 17,000 children. The survey revealed levels of wasting below the thresholds, which necessitates blanket wet feeding. Gwanda is preparing for the implementation of Food-For-Work (FFW), scheduled to start in April, as well as nutrition operations under the new Targeted Child Supplementary Feeding Program. World Vision reports that the second round of Community and Household Surveillance surveys are underway and are anticipated to finish early April. In the reporting period, the US Ambassador and USAID directorate visited Bubi's Ntobi primary school where C-SAFE conducts a school-feeding program.

CARE

House-to-house verification of beneficiaries were carried out in Gweru, Chirumanzu, and Gutu as part of the planned beneficiary scale up for food distributions in Chirumanzu and Gutu. Monthly End Use Monitoring continues, and CARE reports that data capture clerks are being used instead of food distribution officers to improve the quality of the data and reduce the workload for distribution officers. An assessment exercise was carried out with the participation of WV and CRS of a small dam, foot bridge, nutrition garden and two bridges in the three CARE districts. This collaboration demonstrates that cross-organization coordination is an effective method of enhancing learning.

HIV/AIDS coordination with local institutions (clinics, local NGOs) at ward level continued with the intention of identifying more vulnerable households. HIV and AIDS point persons were appointed for each district, to ensure that messages on HIV and AIDS are disseminated during food distributions. CARE reports that HIV and AIDS infected and affected persons account for 20% of total beneficiaries that received food during the month. Plans to implement HIV and AIDS activities throughout the three districts were discussed with various organizations and community members for implementation from April onwards. Communities have been encouraged to utilize FFW nutrition gardens to grow recommended vegetables highlighted in the nutrition guide for people living with HIV and AIDS, through HIV/AIDS education in Chirumanzu.

CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES

Distributions of cereals, beans and vegetable oil continued in Chegutu and Kadoma in February and March. The Monitoring and Evaluation team is planning to conduct a coping strategy and crop assessment in these two districts to gain an overview of potential crop production. The nutrition program manager and the M&E officer attended a one day monitoring and evaluation meeting in Bulawayo, hosted by World Vision. The members shared the different ways feeding programs are being managed and recommendations were made in order to standardize the programs across C-SAFE areas. Scaling up of nutrition program activities is ongoing and two new hospitals are to be included in the C-SAFE areas, with plans to increase the number of hospitals for the program to 100. CRS reports that the US Ambassador in Zimbabwe visited a CRS hospital feeding program and launched the fitting of a much-needed drip kit. Logistical and Warehouse Training was held for teachers and headmasters of 32 Primary Schools and 26 Early Childhood Education Centres (ECEC) in March at Norton and Chegutu, as part of the School Nutrition Assistance Project (SNAP).

Z A M B I A

In February the C-SAFE Zambia Consortium embarked on its first joint activity with the introduction of Post Distribution Monitoring (PDM), modeled on Zimbabwe's End Use Monitoring. Training involved staff from each C-SAFE member, which gave end use monitors from each organization the opportunity to meet and share experiences. The first PDM has shown that food is well used and appreciated by the beneficiaries and that the beneficiaries have a good understanding of the registration and distribution systems in place. Training for the second round of Community Household Surveillance (CHS) data collection took place in Monze in Feb-March, which was a joint collaboration between C-SAFE and WFP.

CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES

CRS food distributions continued in Ndola and Zambezi. Despite the floods in certain areas of Shang'ombo, food aid distributions were conducted.

A joint commodity management workshop and HIV/AIDS training workshop was held in February in Ndola, attended by CRS and C-SAFE Diocesan staff from Catholic Dioceses of Ndola and Solwezi. Zambezi district carried out C-SAFE community sensitisation activities through a drama group performance, and received positive feedback from community members. In February, CRS began the "Listen Project" in Livingston District, which addresses community resilience issues. The re-verification of the nutritional status of children under five has been completed. The March 2004 survey revealed that 60% of the children that were not removed from the program in November 2003 are still below the normal range of weight for age, while 39% are just within the normal range and 1% are satisfactory. A workshop on commodity management with over 100 participant caregivers, covering 122 FDPs was conducted during March.

CARE

The current number of households registered for C-SAFE food distributions is approximately 1,150 households in Livingstone district, 1,750 households in Kazungula district and 6,100 households in Kalomo district for a total of 9,000 households - close to the project's target. Verification of patients exiting TB treatment has moved ahead with participating clinics. A revised list of beneficiaries is now provided that displays dates of treatment; so that distribution can be phased out once a patient completes treatment. CARE are pleased with clinic interest and cooperation in helping CARE to obtain better records on beneficiaries. Clinics are conducting improved TB treatment and patients are supported to take medication regularly. CARE's careful targeting has resulted in the accumulation of enough food to expand activities in Zambia's Eastern and Central Provinces. The TIPEC project will target around 5,300 TB affected households in five districts with household rations. TB patients who are registered with health clinics where there is not a sufficient supply of food to support TB treatment will benefit. CARE has conducted cooking demonstration training for Neighbourhood Health Committee members, including segments on health, nutrition and HIV-AIDS. The demonstrators will attend food distributions and in addition to cooking demonstrations, will also be involved in disseminating health and nutrition messages.

WORLD VISION

World Vision participated in Sphere Standards training facilitated by Norwegian Church Aid in February, which was especially targeted to operational humanitarian workers. A FFW workshop was conducted in February attended by key field staff from the districts as well as programmes and commodity staff. The workshop objectives were to understand the reasons for FFW implementation, types of projects and targeted persons; understand various FFW forms; understand the partnership between WVZ, communities and the District Management Committees; and understand the use of food as a resource in community infrastructure development/rehabilitation. Training in vegetable gardening was conducted to Nutrition Groups and CI households in Monze. The exercise sought to promote dietary diversification in order to improve the nutritional status of beneficiaries. 101 beneficiaries were trained - 24 have prepared individual gardens while 12 groups have prepared community gardens.

M A L A W I

CARE conducted a Community Household Survey (CHS) during February in all districts implementing C-SAFE projects. Also in February, 700 beneficiaries were sensitized in risk reduction strategies in TA Chiwere. At community and district level, CARE educated communities on FFW activities for FY04. CARE also updated communities on C-SAFE interventions and the role of communities. Time was taken to solicit communities' perceptions regarding progress on C-SAFE activities. CARE conducted project review meetings in Mazengera, Mtema, Chitekwere and Chakhadza. CARE trained community mobilizers in HIV/AIDS, nutrition and behaviour change communication strategies. A nutritional surveillance system has also been designed and will be implemented in April. All Food Distribution Points hosted commodity handling, security, and CI targeting training for Chronically Ill committee members in March.

CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES in partnership with Catholic Development Commission (CADECOM) in Malawi continue to work in Zomba, Phalombe and Chikwawa conducting food distributions to the chronically ill and orphans. CRS partners continued to conduct beneficiary verification exercises in Zomba as they strive to comply with the chronically ill targeting criteria. CRS partners have identified three new Food Distribution Points, including Thondwe, St. Pius and Chipini. Collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Works will continue to be strengthened in all three C-SAFE districts to assist in the September phase-out of C-SAFE in Malawi. The chronically ill program will work closely with the Ministry of Health and Population to strive for continuity of service beyond C-SAFE. FFW trenching of Phalombe River has been a success, with March floods failing to seriously impact crops in the area.

MALAWI RED CROSS reports that more non-beneficiaries are asking field staff during chronically ill and orphan programme food distributions whether they can be enrolled. It was found that most of these people are TB patients who are undergoing treatment. MRC participated in a Rapid Malnutrition Assessment exercise to assist with screening of areas for targeting in the Supplementary Feeding Programme. Results reveal that Ntchisi and Nkhotakota have higher malnutrition levels than Rumphi. In the reporting period, MRC participated in a Knowledge Attitudes and Practices (KAP) survey data collection exercise. MRC field staff has been working with District Officials and communities to identify and verify road projects for C-SAFE FFW. MRC headquarters staff conducted a field visit to two FDPs in each of the three programme districts with the intention of improving programme quality. Discussions were held on reporting, food rations and targeting. MRC are also working on a revised commodity plan for the last six months of C-SAFE in Malawi.

WORLD VISION distributed all received commodities for Feb/March to chronically ill, orphans and FFW participants in Chikwawa, Mwanza and Nsanje districts. FYO4 project activities are mainly centred on feeder road rehabilitation. Rehabilitation of 177kms of road, which began in November in Mwanza, Thyolo, Chikwawa and Nsanje district, is progressing well. Under the HIV/AIDS component, WV continued training of village headmen, chronically ill guardians and HBC groups on HIV/AIDS prevention, stigma and discrimination, mode of HIV transmission, plus chronically ill patient care. Participants were also encouraged to undergo voluntary blood tests. Nineteen sites for irrigation canals have been identified for April FFW projects. World Vision also reports that the crop situation in the four districts is not favorable, but the FFW program has created employment and the food being distributed every month is greatly appreciated by the targeted households.

SAVE THE CHILDREN US participated in the Community and Household Surveillance assessments carried out jointly by C-SAFE and WFP in February. 14,566 beneficiary families (chronically ill/orphans) received rations in that month, and SC-US report that deliveries have improved tremendously. FFW feeder road rehabilitation activities are now complete. The construction of culverts and drifts in Balaka continues and will soon be completed. SC-US is currently conducting sensitisation meetings with District Assembly staff on the second phase of FFW activities to be implemented until C-SAFE phases out of Malawi in September.

SAVE THE CHILDREN UK organised training for CBOs in home-based care and counselling to enhance CBO support of C-SAFE beneficiaries infected and affected by chronic illness. Also in February, as a means of ensuring observance of child rights and prevention of exploitation of children and women in food aid, Save the Children UK conducted training for all partners at district and area level on child rights and prevention of abuse in the programme, which was carried out in Salima district. In conjunction with selected CBOs, SC-UK took the time to assess and document the benefits of C-SAFE food distributions as perceived by beneficiary households. SC-UK continues with community sensitisation on targeting criteria.

AFRICARE report that in Nkhatabay, road rehabilitation is close to completion in traditional authorities Mkumbila and Mankhambila. Emphasis is on the construction of dams and culverts.

Also in Nkhatabay, delivery of ration cards to chronically ill beneficiaries has been completed, which will improve the verification process. Pallets have been delivered to nine C-SAFE FDPs in the district, which are expected to increase the shelf life of commodities. Road supervisors have attended training on road rehabilitation aimed at facilitating the quality of FFW outputs. AFRICARE state that in Likoma Island, 300 chronically ill beneficiaries have received rations for the first time. In Mzimba, under the C-SAFE Chronically Ill/Orphan Project, the distribution of food aid was conducted in Katete, Kamwe, Mzambazi, Tikoleraneko, Vibangalala, Tipone, Emfeni Edingeni, Ehehleni and Tovwirane.

EMMANUEL INTERNATIONAL held a commodities workshop for all C-SAFE staff. Time was spent reviewing the registration of beneficiaries for each Traditional Authority, as well as commodity and activity reporting. Also addressed were issues on HIV/AIDS, gender and disaster preparedness. Principles of growth monitoring were reviewed, as well as the need to include tracking of TB patients through the Chronically Ill program. Results of surveys completed by C-SAFE in the last 5 months were presented. FFW lessons learned were reviewed from the Oct- Jan FFW activities. The general evaluation was that more time should be spent in the planning and initial community sensitization/discussion. In anticipation of upcoming FFW activities, staff at all levels have been involved with identifying roads and small-scale irrigation sites. EI field monitors have participated in another round of the Vulnerability Asset Survey for C-SAFE.

SALVATION ARMY distributions to 1000 chronically ill affected households of beans, oil and CSB continued in March. FFW road rehabilitation has included the provision of basic tools to beneficiaries to complete projects. The Salvation Army (TSA) held a commodities workshop in Blantyre to review all systems, forms, reports and warehousing procedures. TSA and Ministry of Health & Population Health Education Unit have been accepted to present at the XV International AIDS Conference in Bangkok, Thailand 11-16 July, 2004. TSA will give an oral presentation on the modification of high-risk cultural practices within Malawi. The presentation will focus on cultural and religious factors influencing HIV vulnerability and prevention based on TSA's earlier work with traditional healers and initiators within the C-SAFE programme area.

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For more info contact: Kristy Allen-Shirley : kristy_allen@c-safe.org or Kara Greenblott, program section manager: kara_greenblott@c-safe.org