U.S. African Development Foundation Receives $4.5 Million Grant from Helmsley Charitable Trust to improve livelihoods through agriculture and livestock production in Malawi

The U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) was awarded a US$4.5 million grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to implement a Livelihood Improvement Program (LIP) in southern Malawi. Over the course of three years, the initiative will address the nutritional, food security, and income needs of people living with chronic illness and their communities.

People who are chronically ill often require long-term medical attention, limiting their income-generating activities and placing social and economic burdens on their caretakers and communities. To improve the lives and livelihoods of these individuals and their families, USADF will establish integrated farming systems and skills transfer through training.

In 14 health facilities in Neno District, the LIP will provide technical demonstrations and training on food production, processing, and preservation, as well as crop and livestock diversification. These 14 demonstration units will be part of the Package of Essential Noncommunicable Disease Interventions Plus (PEN-plus) network of health clinics supported by Partners in Health in Neno District. USADF will also work closely with the Malawi Ministry of Agriculture and the Malawi Non-Communicable Disease Alliance.

Through the LIP, participants will be sensitized on the importance of consuming nutritious foods and cultivating crops necessary to diversify their diets. Environmental conservation and climate-change mitigation in Malawi are another focus, as the training sessions will instruct participants on the use of climate-smart technologies and grazing techniques and limiting the use of toxic chemicals and industrial livestock feed on individual household farm plots. The program will also emphasize the importance of creating farming networks to strengthen community connections and create sustainable mutual growth.

“The empowerment of these chronically ill individuals and their families is essential to promoting not only income growth, but food security and climate resiliency,” said Acting USADF President and CEO Elisabeth Feleke. “With the Helmsley Charitable Trust, we look forward to building healthier and more prosperous communities in Malawi and expanding our partnership over the next three years.”

At least 500 people living with chronic illness will receive training and livelihood support under LIP, and 140 community members will receive training as lead farmers to provide ongoing extension services in their communities. The program will build fully functional greenhouses with drip irrigation, kitchen garden demonstration units, livestock production units, and cold storage facilities.

“Social and economic challenges imposed by chronic conditions like type 1 diabetes can make it impossible to manage diseases that are already difficult without these added burdens,” said Gina Agiostratidou, PhD, Program Director of Helmsley’s Type 1 Diabetes Program. “At Helmsley, we believe in the importance of a holistic approach to health, and this multi-faceted effort to help vulnerable individuals thrive aligns with this belief.”

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