Skills for Resilience (SRP) is a project designed to protect the livelihoods of young smallholder farmers in rural Malawi from climate change induced natural hazards.
The agriculture sector in Malawi employs more than 80 percent of the country´s workforce, accounting for 36 percent of Malawi’s GDP and 90 percent of its export earnings.
In recent years, the sector has become increasingly threatened by climate change induced hazards. Hazards in Malawi include violent floods, hurricanes, disease and pests, high temperatures, soil infertility and unpredictable extensive droughts. Smallholder farmers, who constitute the far majority of people involved with agriculture in Malawi, are particularly vulnerable in this context.
The Skills for Resilience Project brings together some of the best national and international experts in the field of vocational training, social inclusion and climate-smart agriculture, including private sector, local government and local associations.
The project contributes to more climate-smart agriculture competence and expertise in Malawi, through setting up a certificate programme on the topic at the LUANAR University under the Natural Resources College. The Skills for Resilience Project also contributes to climate-smart agriculture competence in the districts through the smallholder farmer training conducted by vocational training centres.
By educating 5000 young smallholder famers in climate-smart agriculture, they will become more resilient toward the natural hazards and see greater potential of making a living through farming.
The Skills for Resilience Project is an inclusive project that focuses on the right of all members of a community to equally be included in the project.
All training activities, information about the project and recruitment of candidates are implemented in a way that is accessible and inclusive to all smallholder farmers in Malawi.
Women and persons with disabilities are traditionally excluded from education and employment in Malawi. In the recruitment process we therefore set a goal to enrol 60% women and 10% persons with disabilities.
We are also rehabilitating the training facilities during the project period (2017-2021) to ensure accessibility for persons with disabilities, and equipping trainers and facilitators with inclusive facilitation skills through the Training of Trainers programme.
Main achievements in Malawi
Some of the main achievements of the Skills for Resilience Project are:
- As of March 2021, the project had trained more than 3000 smallholder farmers in practical climate-smart agriculture whereas 65% women and 10,3% persons with disability participating in the training for the last cohort of farmers to be trained.
- SRP has educated 94 academic students in climate-smart agriculture at the LUANAR university whereas more than 5% were persons with disabilities and more than 60% were women.
- The climate-smart agriculture curriculum and its implementation was approved by the University Senate and Council and was taken up as part of their special programmes. The Senate and Expert Advisory Committee additionally recommended that the curriculum should be scaled up to Diploma level.
- The Trainers Manual was harmonised and updated with comments from the Department of Land Resource Conservation under the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development and then validated by the same institution. It has been printed and distributed to all trainers.
- In 2021 COMSIP a cooperative union will teach and follow up the farmers when trained in saving, loans and investment strategy and provide access to markets for their products.
- As of March 2021, four training facilities have been accessibility rehabilitated and we plan to rehabilitate one more by the end of 2021.
- 12 trainers and 6 training centre facilitators were trained in inclusive facilitation skills as part of their Training of Trainers programme.