Sunday, 16 November 2008

CTI Volunteer Visits Malawi

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Over the past two years the Northwest Wisconsin Synod of the ELCA, in conjunction with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Malawi (ELCM), has shipped over 30 Omega VI grinders to Malawi. During the month of August, CTI volunteer Hans Zoerb visited Malawi to evaluate the impact that these grinders were having on the lives of those who were being served.

Hans reports that the distribution of the grinders is under the supervision of a nutritionist employed by the Lutheran Development Services of Malawi (LDSM). The primary emphasis of the LDSM is food security.  More specifically, their emphasis is on maximizing commodity production, storage, and conversion to value added food, food products and food ingredients. Since conversion is part of CTI’s core competency, this objective fits well with CTI. The LDSM is very interested in the grinders and supports the training and use of the machines for the production of peanut butter and flours from soy and maize. They also support the use of these machines in emerging micro businesses based at the village level.

The ELCM has placed a very high priority on organizing and developing successful women’s enterprise groups at the village level in order to: elevate the role of women in their societies, make women more effective in combating hunger, and recognizing women as a point of introduction of new ideas and techniques to the communities. The added importance of women’s groups in villages is their connection to the feeding centers. In many of these villages, peanut butter is the primary product because the Omega grinder can produce relatively large quantities of product.  Ground, roasted soy was also a significant part of their production. Both peanut butter and roasted soy bean flour are packaged and sold in 250 gram jars; or, in the case of the feeding stations, carried home by the children.

The program has been so successful that the ELCM is targeting to introduce an additional 15 grinders in the near future so that every outreach point will have their own grinder.

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