SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE LEAD FARMER PROGRAMME (SALFP) SALFP is a five year project that will run till 2018 and is funded by Royal Norwegian Embassy. The goal of the project is to improve sustainable food security and adaptative capacity to climate change for 100,000 rural households by the end of the project. The project is being implemented in Lilongwe, Dowa, Ntchisi, Mzimba and Nkhatabay. The project is expected to target 12000 (6000 girls and 6000Boys) rural youth during its implementation period. Network for Youth Development works with the youth in clubs popularly known as Youth in Sustainable Agriculture (YOISA). These clubs are formed both in schools and in the communities. The community clubs work under the direct supervision of a lead farmer who offers the group extension services relating to sustainable agriculture in conjunction with project staff responsible for implementation of sustainable agriculture technologies. The school based clubs work under the direct supervision of matrons or patrons and each school club is attached to a lead farmer closest to the school.
Network for youth Development offers training in climate change mitigation and adaptation to enable the youth have adequate knowledge on climate change and ways of mitigating and adapting to it. In addition to this, motivation talks on career guidance and life skills training specifically targeting rural girls in order to help them realise the potential that they have, opportunities that lie ahead of them and how to overcome challenges in life. NfYD also lobbies local communities for the inclusion of women and youth in local decision making structures in order to accelerate development and have youth and women’s voice heard in decisions that are being made. In order to facilitate effective youth participation, these youth undergo leadership and gender trainings. NfYD also connects the youth groups to other partner organisations who offer them trainings in vocational and entrepreneurship and VSLAs.
Currently, NfYD has mobilized 4562 (2492girls and 2612 boys) youth who are actively participating in sustainable agriculture in various SALFP impact areas and a total of 657 (330boys and 327girls) youth lead farmers have been trained in Sustainable Agriculture technologies and these are offering these extension services to others within their locality.
The initiative has helped more youth in rural areas be food secure as they are able to still harvest enough food due to the use of these technologies. It has also led to the establishment of businesses run by the youth in groups. These businesses include piggery, goat production, bee keeping, bakery, selling of agriculture produce just to mention a few. Interestingly, all the resources for starting these businesses are sourced locally from farming and village savings and loans that the group members are involved in. This is unlike the traditional practice of getting loans from other institutions who have a lot of restrictions and offer high interest rates.
The project is implemented by a consortium of seven organisations namely Network for Youth Development (NfYD), African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (AICC), Malawi Union of Savings and Credit Cooperatives (MUSCCO), Heifer International, Trustees of Agriculture Promotion Programme (TAPP), Find Your Feet (FYF) and Mzuzu ADD.