The formation of various committees at the school and village levels to manage the activities of the project awoke the community to their own strengths. Village Child Labour Committees (VCLCs) and Community Based Child Care Centres (CBCCs) were established at the initiative of the communities. The committees were an excellent indication of a change of attitudes towards child labour. The VCLCs set up counselling and monitoring activities about child labour at the village level. CBCCs looked after young children when the members of the community were on the farms. This arrangement was particularly useful for tenant families who would normally have taken their children to the fields.
- 92.4% of school-age children in Ngala and over 93.4% in Dwangwa area were enrolled in school by the end of the project, from a base of 75%.
- 93.3% of pupils in Ngala Area and 85.7% of pupils in Dwangwa area were studying in a conducive learning environment. At the beginning of the project, it was just 39.2% in Ngala and 47.7% in Dwangwa.
- 93.8% of teachers in Ngala and 81.6% of teachers in Dwangwa lived in appropriate and decent accommodation. This represents 31 out of 38 teachers in Dwangwa, and 30 out of 32 teachers in Ngala, who lived in houses roofed with iron sheets and built with baked bricks.
- Communities demonstrated a positive change in attitude towards child labour. These included community contributions in cash towards project activities amounting to US$18,105; the creation and administration of child labour committees; initiating new educational opportunities for their children.
- 60 permanent pit latrines were constructed.
- Six two-roomed school blocks were constructed and eight two-roomed school blocks were rehabilitated.
- One secondary school administration block was built. This consisted of a staff room, a head teacher’s and deputy head teacher’s office, a library, a store room, a cash office and a bursar’s office.
- 11 teachers’ houses were constructed; and 14 kitchens in teachers’ houses were constructed; six teachers’ houses were rehabilitated; two head teachers’ offices were rehabilitated.
- 564 desks were procured.
- 692 pupils’ textbooks were procured, along with 14 teachers’ guides.
- 31 bursaries were awarded to secondary school students.
- Nine school gardens were established; all nine schools received fruit trees and vegetable seeds.
- 73 out of a target of 56 teachers were given further training.
- 169 community leaders, 128 school committee members, 110 estate and farm management personnel and 128 field workers were all trained in child labour awareness. The estate owners and managers supported the CBCCs that were based on their farms by providing food and ensured that tenants with school age children enrolled them in school. The estate owners formed their own committee that inspected the estates for child labour.
- The CBCCs, CCLCs and the estate management committee made a direct impact on child labour because they focused on the children who were already working on the farms and those who were potential recruits for work in the farms.
- 102 sensitisation and mobilisation training sessions took place.
Similarly, the community initiative to set up a junior primary school and kindergartens also indicated a change in attitudes toward child labour and a recognition of the importance of education for children.
The project strengthened community structures. The office of the chief from the village to the traditional authority (TA) was utilised for the project. The chiefs participated in capacity-building activities and steered all the other project activities. Successful community organisation was particularly important for construction activities where the community provided the bricks, sand, stones and water.
Before the project was established, the Ministry of Labour in Dowa received on average 58 complaints per year about child labour in the project area: by the close of the project this was down to zero.
The Church of Central Africa, Presbyterian (CCAP) through its Livingstonia and Nkhoma Synods facilitated the implementation of the water and sanitation programmess of this project. The Church is dedicated to addressing health and education needs, and to assist with development issues of all people, regardless of faith.
The CCAP Protected Water Programme addressed this issue by asking communities to claim responsibility for their protected water by choosing people themselves to be responsible for the functioning of the programme and for maintaining well pumps. In order to ensure that the system would be self-sustaining, communities paid an annual contribution for maintenance, as well as providing support for maintenance personnel when repairs were carried out.
Key achievements included:
- 22,284 people were reached with safe water, based on a target of just 15,000. This means the project provided 100% access to safe water within 500m of all villages.
- There was zero incidence of cholera outbreaks and diarrhoea following implementation of the safe water interventions.
- Children, especially girls, were no longer late for school while fetching water.
- School children’s level of cleanliness greatly improved.
- With the exception of shallow wells, protected water points were repaired no later than 24 hours after breakdown.
- 82 shallow wells were dug.
- 11 boreholes were drilled, out of a target of 12. One borehole was not successful as the water table was too low.
- 110 water committees – which included water maintenance teams – were created and were fully functioning.
- 32 people were trained as members of Well Committees.
- Training also took place in water sanitation, bookkeeping, and sanitation promotion.
- The 677 irrigation farmers yielded on average 152 bags of 50Kg maize per winter cropping season. A standard household should have 30 bags of 50Kg maize for it to be classified as food secure.
- External wood sources were reduced by 100%. The target of 60% reduction entailed planting 840,000 trees but 2,292,554 trees were planted by 16,936 households.
- Farmers managed to increase mixed crop yields as follows:
- Maize 2000kg per farmer
- Tomato 320kg per farmer
- Beans 450kg per farmer
- Contour ridging took place over 399 hectares, which allowed for greater irrigation.
- 104 gullies were controlled. This reduced the loss of top soil and other soil nutrients, as well as preventing a reduction in the amount of land to be cultivated.
- 179 hectares of vetiver hedgerows were cultivated.
- 297 nurseries were established, 2,351,722 tree seedlings were planted, and 2,292,554 trees were planted at homesteads, roadsides, woodlots and boundaries. Farmers recycled project material such as polythene tubes.
- 677 households were provided with treadle pumps, covering 80 villages. Treadle pump irrigation provides immediate gains to farmers and 131 more hectares were irrigated. The increase in hectarage was commensurate with the increased number of treadle pumps issued and the fact that the community was attempting to maximise the yields from irrigated farming following three years of chronic drought.
- 80 hectares or 2.5 km of stream waters were diverted, which benefited three villages and 25 households.
- 3,025 mudstoves were constructed which benefited 2,601 households. This energy saving technology reduced household labour requirements, especially children fetching firewood, and meant that more children were able to go to school.