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10-28-2008 Nkhotakota Self Help Project

Nkhotakota Self Help Project

Ice cuts ribbon with the help of a receipient

U.S. Embassy inaugurates a $9500 (MK 1.4 million) timber-deck bridge under Ambassador's Self Help Fund

Ambassador’s Self-Help Project Links Two Villages

Communities of Mbewa and Ungwe Villages in Nkhotakota District were full of smiles following the inauguration of a $9500 (MK 1.4 million) timber-deck bridge by Political Officer John Ice. The bridge was built with funding from the Ambassador's Special Self-Help Fund.

Before constructing the bridge, the communities were in rainy season unable to cross the ravine that separates the two villages because it would fill up with running water. 

Since the project’s inception, the communities worked tirelessly to construct the bridge using local labor and resources resulting in easy access to the villages in rainy season.

In his remarks, Ice congratulated the community for assessing its own problem and taking steps to address it. He said “the American people, through the Embassy's Self-Help Fund, are happy to help people who help themselves.  We are pleased that we can help Malawians who are working to make their lives better to meet their goals and achieve a better tomorrow.” 

Traditional Authority Malengachanzi applauded the American Government saying “with this bridge, primary school pupils from Ungwe Village who attend school in Mbewa Village will not miss classes anymore when it rains, when the ravine fills with water.”
He pledged his community’s commitment to take ownership and care of the bridge so that it lasts long.

In October 2008, the Ambassador's Special Self-Help Fund granted $6,000 (MK912 000) to the project grantees for construction of the bridge while the community contributed stones, sand and labor amounting to $3,500(MK532 000).

Active in Malawi since 1966, the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund strives to address urgent development needs at the local community level and to demonstrate U.S. interest in the welfare and self-help endeavors of local communities throughout the country.  Categories of projects funded are water, environment, health, construction, equipment and income generating activities.  The fund has provided over US$5 million (MK760 million) since 1966.

The Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund selects programs that 1) improve basic economic or social conditions at the village level; 2) have high impact and can be quickly implemented and benefit a large number of people; 3) involve a significant local contribution in labor, material or cash; 4) are within the ability of the local community to operate and maintain; 5) are a direct response to the initiative and aspirations of the local community; and, 6) contribute to income-generating activities whenever possible.