June 29th - 30th
This weekend was filled with lots of fun activities! On Saturday, we went to a special market that is only put on once a month. There was a collection of hand-made crafts, clothing, and locally-grown produce. It was amazing to see people’s creativity and talent shine through their work. Later in the afternoon we attended a Malawian wedding. It was unlike any other wedding I’ve ever attended. The bride and groom stood at the front of the event with an MC next to them. The MC would shout out amounts of money and if guests wanted to give this amount they would do so by showering the bride and groom with bills while dancing with them. People generally give money, but they can also give other items that would be useful for the household (we saw a mattress being hoisted up and danced with). To end our weekend, we hiked up Nkhoma Mountain. There were beautiful views of Malawi all along the way. At some point during the hike we lost the trail and had to have a local lead us back in the right direction!
July 1st - 5th
During our third week of work, our team from Illinois was split into our respective groups. We travelled into several different villages and began tackling any issues that came our way. Some things we all seemed to encounter included technology malfunctions, errors in communication, and a lack of resources within the buildings provided to us for our showings. With any of these situations, it is important that we come prepared with backup solutions and that we collaborate with one another to share our ideas.
Overall, this week has been very successful in terms of work and cultural immersion. I am excited to see what more is to come!
This summer, the Office of International Programs is sponsoring three undergraduate Food Security Fellows who are participating in experiential learning experiences related to global food security. These ACES students are based in Malawi and will be blogging regularly during their experience.
Specifically the students will be working with the ACES-based and USAID-funded Strengthening Agriculture and Nutrition Extension activity to deliver a video-extension campaign to smallholder farmers. Working with counterparts from Malawi, our students will provide technical support for the video work and collect data to evaluate the success of the campaign. They will gain on-ground appreciation for how rural development actually works and how a development project functions.
The ACES undergraduate Food Security Fellows are:
- Christina Fernandez, senior in natural resources and environmental sciences
- Kristin Iverson, senior in agricultural leadership and education
- Anoosha Memon, senior in agricultural and consumer economics