Nyankhombo is a Sena word that means Mpulumutsi in Chichewa and Rescuer in English.
HIV and AIDS has proved devastating in undermining traditional support structures that sustain many families in Nsanje district including FAST catchment area of Traditional Authorities (TA) Ndamera and Ngabu respectively. Reversing the expectations that parents will be looked after by their adult children as they become older. Instead, older people, primarily women, are confronted with the task of a sick adult child, coping with their eventual death, and finally looking after a surviving child or children.
Nyankhombo project is the oldest project for Friends of AIDS Support Trust (FAST) it has been in existence for more than 12 years since its inception. Under Nyankhombo, over 500 grandmothers within Traditional Authorities Ngabu and Ndamera have benefitted respectively.
Through this project which is entirely funded by The Stephen Lewis Foundation in Canada, grandmothers have for the first time seen recognized and respected in the community. Under this project, grannies are supported with both food and non-food items almost every year as they are the most vulnerable population in the community.
120 grannies were selected as volunteers and have been grouped into 12, they were trained in psychosocial support because one of their roles is to provide psychosocial support to fellow grandmothers and orphans who in one way or another have been affected by different challenges including climate shocks, FAST staff conduct weekly technical support visits, nutritional support – 320 grandmothers were supported with 20 kilograms of flour each, 50 were provided with plastic sheets to cover roofs which were blown off by heavy winds.
Currently, the organization is supporting 30 (15 girls & 15 boys) orphans and other vulnerable children (OVCs) who are in different secondary schools within Nsanje district. They are provided with tuition fees, examination fees and school uniforms. Orphans who are being raised by the grandmothers we support are targeted.
Review meetings for our volunteers are done at least three times a year as one way of monitoring and evaluating our project.
- To promote sustainable involvement of grandmothers and orphans and other vulnerable children in community development interventions and increased understanding of the roles and responsibilities of communities in TAs Ndamera and Ngabu in Nsanje district in the provision of care and support to grannies, orphans and vulnerable children who are under the grannies care.
- To strengthen systems and capacity of FAST to effectively implement the project.
- To mitigate the impact of climate shocks through the dissemination of disaster preparedness messages