STED Implementation Phase in Malawi

Web page | 13 June 2017
STED implementation phase in Malawi focuses on the following three areas: 

1. Work Integrated Learning (WIL)

In response to the STED recommendations in the horticulture sector for immediate interventions to address the identified skills gaps, the project initiated a dialogue with the Department of TVET in the Ministry of Labour, Youth Sport and Manpower Development (MLYSMD), the TEVET Authority and the Employers Consultative Association of Malawi (ECAM). As a result of this social dialogue,  a pilot work based and short term skills upgrading intervention - called WIL- was implemented.  
WIL is a value chain based skills upgrading training strategy designed to produce hands on graduates that meet industry competency.The WIL pilot was financed by jointly by the STED project and the Mastercard funded Work4Youth project. Activities under the WIL pilot included curriculum development, course design, training material development, Training of Trainers and Mentors, and training delivery. Forty young people underwent the value chain based covered cultivation training course. The review of the WIL pilot was conducted by the Malawi Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) in December 2016. One of the key outcomes of the review was that the WIL pilot should be mainstreamed into the Malawi TEVET system. A NORAD-funded ILO project is supporting the mainstreaming of the WIL pilot into the TEVET system.   

2. Enhancing the capacity of women smallholder farmers and farmworkers
Among the major capability gaps identified under the STED Analytic phase was the limited ability of primary producers to supply required quantities of quality agricultural produce, particularly among smallholder farmers and medium sized aggregating farmers who form the bulk of the suppliers in the two sectors. In the horticulture sector, the capability gaps include low productivity, poor produce quality, and weak supply chain logistics which often result in inability by the small holder farmers to access more lucrative markets on one hand, and limited access to quality supplies for retail, processing and exporting companies on the other hand.

In response to these capability challenges, the STED Project designed an intervention to strengthen horticulture production knowledge and skills among women farmers Bvumbwe, an areas with history of horticulture production and where horticulture production has potential to improve women’s economic empowerment whilst simultaneously increasing the Country’s overall production levels. The targeted women generally have low horticulture production levels and limited understanding of farming as a business. In addition, they have limited capacity to transform their agricultural activities into viable business ventures.

The Project is providing an integrated capacity building support package to the women farmers involving:
  • Technical training to enhance crop diversification, cultivation, disease and pest management skills with the view to improve productivity level and quality of produce.
  • Entrepreneurship and business management training to enhance their capacity to run their farming interventions as viable business ventures.
  • Facilitating access to more lucrative markets with the view to integrate the women farmers into the overall Malawi horticulture value chain.
  • Gender awareness and personal agency training to ensure that the women farmers are empowered to define their own goals and economic growth trajectory, and to sensitize the men in the community about the importance of women’s economic autonomy.
The Project interventions are being implemented in Chinkwende Village in Bvumbwe, where so far fifty farmers have been formed into groups of ten and have been linked to an aggregator farmer for market access. The Project is working with three partners to provide the capacity building and market access support, namely Bvumbwe Agriculture Research Station to provide agricultural training, a BDS Provider Tradeline Corporation to provide entrepreneurship, business management and gender training, and the aggregator, Roseberry Farms.

3. Support in institutionalizing the STED analytical skills anticipation approach 
The national and sectoral stakeholders are keen to develop/strengthen the country’s capacity to do STED and skills anticipation, and are very interested in institutionalizing this type of work (especially MoIT which is anticipating action towards a sustainable solution). This attracted considerable support at the STED training workshop in June 2016, and the last day of the workshop was devoted to working through how it could be implemented.