In the mid 1990s, a group of Malawian nationals with an interest in animal health and production met informally to address a number of significant issues of concern about livestock production at a smallholder level in Malawi. These discussions led to the initiation of a program of support for smallholders based on the ideas of the group members whose experience included animal production not only in Malawi but also in several neighbouring African countries. The idea was to promote amongst vulnerable rural communities appropriate technological skills for the production and usage of livestock.
SSLLP was established in 1996 and registered under the Trustee Incorporation Act 1962. It is also registered with the Council for Non-Government Organisations in Malawi (CONGOMA) and with the NGO Board.
Today, SSLLP is one of the few local NGOs dealing exclusively with livestock. It works with local communities either directly or through partner institutions whose work spans other aspects of economic and social development.
The vision of SSLLP is:
Sustainable livelihoods for the resource poor.
The mission of SSLLP is:
To empower resource poor and vulnerable families, through interventions targetting poverty reduction, food and nutrition security, and environmental sustainability.
Its overall goal is:
To contribute to socio-economic empowerment of resource poor and vulnerable families so as to achieve sustainable livelihoods through livestock, water and sanitation, environmental and related interventions.
Its core values include:
Respect for and empowerment of livestock beneficiaries
Transparency and accountability in service delivery
Competency, efficiency and effectiveness in executing assignments
Integrity and independence
Recognition and respect for other stakeholders in the livestock industries
Through its work in promoting livestock production, SSLLP can and does assist, directly and indirectly, to offset the disruptions which exist in terms of gender issues, environmental strains, and the impact of HIV/AIDS on Malawian communities.
At all levels, SSLLP promotes the inclusion of women, for instance as direct beneficiaries or recipients of training. SSLLP experience is that women are excellent handlers of livestock, a fact generally accepted throughout the communities we deal with. Some time back, it was estimated that 67% of all SSLLP beneficiaries were women.
The use of animal manure as a highly successful substitute for chemical fertilisers is widely promoted by SSLLP and widely adopted by its beneficiary farmers.
SSLLP is also currently exploring its potential involvement in major environmental issues. The impact of global warming will have an important bearing on smallholder livestock producers. Water and sanitation are presenting increasingly important challenges as the pressure on land together with climate change affect people's lives.
Finally, the effects of SSLLP programs in terms of income generation and improvement of food security and nutritional status has an important bearing on the livelihoods of people living with AIDS.
SSLLP places a high value on having an open work environment where mutual respect and trust foster a spirit of enthusiasm and commitment. The organisation is thus committed to the principles of equal opportunity regardless of gender, religious beliefs, political opinion, disability, race, or other status.
In addition to diffused regional or national programs, SSLLP works at a number of specific locations scattered throughout Malawi. It currently has projects in the north, around Karonga and Mzimba, and in the centre, around Lilongwe, Kasungu, Nkhotakota and Ntchisi. Plans are currently under way involving prospective work in several other districts.
Through support from a number of donor agencies, SSLLP imports and distributes livestock to smallholder farmers in Malawi. As a necessary adjunct to this work, SSLLP gets involved in training in managerial and technological skills both for community based workers and for technicians who require further development in specific skills. Specific areas of training for community animal health workers include Newcastle disease vaccination and basic animal health training. For livestock technicians, SSLLP provides training in artificial insemination, nutrition, animal husbandry and animal health.
SSLLP has a head office in Lilongwe with eight permanent staff and in addition it employs nine field staff at a variety of locations around the country. The number of field staff fluctuates from time to time depending on the locations and intensity of project activities.
SSLLP is headed by its Executive Director, Mr Sute Mwakasungula, with support from a small group of senior staff whose expertise includes financial management, project management, training, monitoring and evaluation, and animal health and production.