Trees can do it!

“Deforestation threatens ecological stability and food production in Malawi” and the solution reduces Global warming
Life in rural Malawi depends on trees. Almost 100% of their total energy use is supplied by trees. Sometimes they use a little paraffin for lighting. Therefore firewood is the number one priority use for trees.
Unsustainable harvesting has contributed to severe deforestation, which causes environmental degradation and often desertification, destroying wildlife and habitats. For the people living in these areas, deforestation results in hunger, thirst and fuel shortages. The increased soil erosion and reduced retention of rainwater seriously damage subsistence farmers’ ability to grow enough food to eat and to sustain their livelihoods. And lack of firewood affects people’s health and nutrition because of the cost of cooking food.
If managed in a sustainable fashion, trees can provide long-term environmental and economic benefits for those willing grow them. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, fertilise soil, prevent erosion, and help to absorb rainwater, whilst at the same time providing fuel, food, fodder, compost, building materials and even medicines from their wood, leaves and fruit.
Wells for Zoe, in association with the University of Mzuzu are planning to put a high priority on sustainable tree planting in the coming year, planting a wide variety of appropriate trees. For the past year we have been researching Moringa, a multi purpose variety, sometimes called a miracle tree. We are examining a wide range which can de used as a food or fodder source, as a source of traditional medicines, as well as providing wood for energy. Others like the Neem tree can be used as insecticides and medicines.
Trees also contribute significantly to soil and water conservation, and have the potential to change local microclimates
It is possible to reverse the trend towards deforestation. The communities working with Wells for Zoe are doing this work already. Last year they planted 20,000 trees and we have great plans for the future.
I haven’t mentioned removal of Carbon Dioxide, but longterm tree planting schemes have the potential to take endless tons of Carbon from the atmosphere, in the form of CO2, and fix in the wood of trees. When we have established a verification technique with the University, we will be offering our services to the world.
It is amazing that this process can arrest desertification and reduce Global warming at the same time. Definitely a win-win scenario, and it doesn’t cost the earth

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Without Seeds we can’t solve World Starvation

The Malawi food security problem will not be solved with money , but with seeds for appropriate crops!
One out of two people in the world today live on less than €2 a day while 1 billion people live on less than €1 a day. Many of these people are hungry and do not have enough money to buy the food they need. I agree that food aid is essential in famine situations, but is not a good long term solution to hunger.
Part of a better long term solution to hunger is to help people produce some of the food they consume. This strategy not only helps feed hungry people but increases their self-esteem, and self-sufficiency.
In a village, when I ask why they don’t sow a second crop each year, they tell me that they can’t get or can’t afford the seeds.
So we would like to beg, borrow (or dare I say it), steal some seeds. (loads of them)
When we get up and running we will set up a seed bank, so we can give seeds to others.

Malawi to test all sexually active adults for HIV

The Malawian government launched a campaign yesterday to test all sexually active adults for HIV to try to identify thousands of people infected with the virus.

An estimated 14% of Malawi’s 12 million population are HIV positive but most do not know their status, which prevents them from getting effective treatment and also hampers efforts to curb the spread of the disease.

Health officials say they hope to test 130,000 people this week. President Bingu wa Mutharika’s government has distributed 300,000 testing kits across the country.

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The testing drive will concentrate on Malawi’s rural areas, where more than 70% of people live and which are often out of reach of basic health care services.

“We want to encourage Malawians to go for the tests. We also want to take advantage to reach them with correct information on HIV prevention, treatment, care and support,” said Mtemwa Nyangulu, a health official.

About 6 million Malawians are in the sexually active age group but health officials say that only 1 million have been tested for HIV.

“This implies that the majority of Malawians do not know that they are carrying the virus because they have not gone for a test, a situation that poses a great threat to prevention effort,” said the health ministry in a statement, according to the South African Press Association.

More than 1 million Malawians have already died from Aids, leaving more than 900,000 children orphaned. The disease has strained the country’s basic health services and badly affected agriculture, the country’s economic mainstay.

Malawian health officials are struggling to establish a grassroots HIV-prevention campaign, especially in rural areas where HIV infection rates are still rising, in contrast to the declines seen in cities.

Nearly 30,000 newborn infants are infected with HIV every year because the government has not been able to provide the drugs that can greatly reduce mother-to-child transmission.

A small fraction of those with HIV are on the life-saving anti-retroviral drugs, according to officials.

More accurate statistics of the prevalence of HIV could help the Malawian government raise international funds for its programmes.

The World Health Organisation estimates that 80% of people with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa do not know they have the virus.

In May the World Health Organisation issued new guidelines, saying that in countries where HIV is prevalent health officials should test all those seeking medical treatment, unless they specifically chose against the test.

However, WHO said that no test should be done against a person’s wishes or without their knowledge.

The drive of your life, AKA Mayo to Malawi

The drive of your life
Achill to Africa or Mayo to Malawi
There has always been a sense that Irish people are partly mad at least, although some of us are much madder than others.
I use the word mad instead of the more polite, different, strange, unique, alternatively challenged, differently abled or wild: (and what I like about us: we don’t like being told what to do or what can’t be done.) Horray for us!
Imagine trying to drive from Achill to Africa in a jeep, or three jeeps to be more precise. Well that’s what the people at Wells for Zoe are planning to do later this year.
The project is at the planning stage, and any ideas, offers of help,(be they physical, intellectual, monetary, logistic or other) from mad people preferably, would be greatly appreciated.
The story began, when Irish times Journalist and Author, John Waters, took a trip to Malawi, in April last, to report on a water project in some of the most remote and poorest areas on the globe.
The project funded and driven by fellow Rossies had intrigued him, and he wanted to see if two people could made any perceptible difference in a place with such obvious need. His, Irish Times article relates what he found in this almost forgotten backwood of our global community.
On his return he got in touch with the Irish Army and within a flash they had agreed, with the consent of the Department of Defence to donate 3 Army Jeeps to the project, granted 1997 models with zillions of miles on the clock.
If we had got them from the Air Corps, maybe the transport issue may be solved!!, but now we have to get them to Malawi, where they will be given a whole new lease of life. So, now, the real fun begins.
There are many options and this is where the mad people come in.
We could drive to Southampton, get a ferry to Durban and do a little toddle through, South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique and then just another little run of 1000Km up by lake Malawi.
We could do UK, France, Italy and cross to Tunis, then through Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Ethiopia, Tanzania and a little downhill through Northern Malawi and have real fun and frolics
We could send them all the way to Dar Es Salaam and freewheel the 1200 km to Mzuzu, but where would be the fun in that.
Maybe the seriously mad people would skip Tunisia and head for Turkey, Syria, Jordan and back to Egypt.
It Looks like we will opt for the first, and “reasonably mad” route.

The only offer of help we have so far is from an English Shipping group, SAF.
They have given us a great rate for the transport from Southampton to Durban.

Of course, any help from perfectly sane people would be welcomed with open arms. Madness has its moments!!

There are a number of reasons for getting involved in this apparent madness:

• Raise awareness of how little it takes to get some of the world’s poorest on the way to self sufficiency
• Promote the idea that we are all, every one, involved here, get our act together and do something, other than giving money only when we are made to feel guilty
• Promote the Wells for Zoe philosophy , that a Hand Up without Handouts works in restoring dignity to a proud people
• Show the benefit of very focused, targeted and personal neighbourliness.
• Get a feel for Africa
• Bring the jeeps
• Raise money, even though the African problem is not about money.

The Good News or the Bad News

The good news first is that we finally managed to buy a second hand jeep and as of June 12 Harisen Amin has beed appointed Wells for Zoe’s, Man in Malawi.

His previous post was, as a driver, with St John of God Services in Mzuzu. Over the next few posts you will all discover that he is no ordinary driver, even though he is excellent and treats the jeep like it was the only one in the world.
He is married to Charity and has one 5 year old daughter Fatima.
A quick look at www.blipfoto.com/wellsforzoe, will also show that he is an excellent, self taught, photographer, which we feel is a vital part of our operation. We need to be able to show our donors what we are doing on almost a daily basis

He will be in charge of all day to day operations:
He has already started the micro credit scheme, in the villages of Eciweni, with the first delivery of chickens arriving on July 7.
He brought the co op leaders to see his own chickens and tought them how to look after them.
Funding is also in place for many and varied horticultural and forestry projects.
In Sonda he has introduced fish forming for the first time, releasing 400 chambo into the irrigation dam. The email tells the story

John,
I went to the Fisheries and bought 400 fish which I put in Sonda’s dam. The guys are very happy of the development.
Fish has a good market here in Mzuzu and we can as well try it. We are going to harvest them after 6 months.
Find attached pictures.
Regards to Mary and the family.
Harisen.

An e-mail brought the sad news as well:

John,
Just some pictures from Sonda and Doroba.
People are in desperate need of clean water.
Harisen.

http://www.blipfoto.com/view.php?id=41999&month=7&year=2007 tells the story

And this one is the response

http://www.blipfoto.com/view.php?id=42604&month=7&year=2007

Harisen will make a significant difference to the lives of all those he serves, because he cares.

Everyone loves him, and so will you