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[Malawi] Women's bearing brunt of poverty.
Women bear the brunt of poverty (IRIN)

Much needed seed kits, income-generating projects and vital deliveries of emergency food are among the projects Oxfam has introduced in response to the Southern African food crisis.

In Zimbabwe, where controversial land reform has ordered 2,800 commercial farmers off the land, Oxfam has devised a series of programmes to provide relief for the estimated six million Zimbabweans at risk of starvation.

Next week, Oxfam Great Britain (Oxfam-GB) will begin a pilot distribution of food kits of maize, oil and sugar beans in the Zvishavane district in the Midlands for about 11,000 people, an Oxfam statement said.

Larger distributions of World Food Programme (WFP) supplied food are planned for September to 110,000 people in three other Midlands districts.

From September, Oxfam-Canada would provide supplementary feeding to 71,000 children under five, 21,000 pregnant or breast feeding women, 116,000 school children and 5,500 elderly people.

Oxfam-GB has planned summer cropping projects for five districts which would involve the distribution of equipment and water management schemes. Existing livelihood programmes would be expanded in three of the districts to help people develop different coping mechanisms for the drought. This would include purchasing livestock, replacing lost stock and also fish farming.

To help women supplement their farming income, Oxfam's American partner The Association of Women Clubs (AWC) has set up income generating schemes including candle making, tie-dye fabric design and peanut butter making. This is supported by a revolving micro-credit scheme where women can borrow small amounts to start income-generating projects.

In Zambia, where the government has also declared a food disaster, Oxfam-supplied seeds would be planted next week as part of a winter cropping programme. This also involves the distribution of tools, and plans are also being finalised for cash-for-work schemes to build facilities like dip tanks, water tanks for livestock and to clear canals.

In Malawi, Oxfam-GB has become the co-coordinating agency for distributing WFP-supplied food in the Mulanje district and would distribute to up to 42,800 beneficiaries by September. Oxfam would continue distributing food until April.

To decrease households' reliance on food aid, 90,000 households in three districts would receive seeds and cuttings consisting of maize, soya beans, cassava, groundnuts, sweet potato and vegetables, as well as fertiliser. Top help optimise production 450 water pumps and 7,500 watering cans would be distributed.

In Mozambique, Oxfam-Canada has planned to supply drought resistant varieties of sweet potato and cassava to 15,000 people in the Gaza and Maputo provinces, through local partner Action for Rural Development and Environment. This programme would also include HIV/AIDS awareness activities.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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