1 (a): material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes and to furnish energy; also : such food together with supplementary substances (as minerals, vitamins, and condiments)
1 (b): inorganic substances absorbed by plants in gaseous form or in water solution
2: nutriment in solid form.
3: something that nourishes, sustains, or supplies….
We first met Andiseni (pictured with Ben Blanchard) in 2005. He was brought to Mtendere Village severely malnourished and close to death. Like many children in Malawi, he was a victim of the severe drought that destroyed vital crops throughout the country.
To Andiseni, food represented survival.
There has been a lot of discussion about food shortages and famine in recent months—images of children in the Horn of Africa, where more than 30,000 of them have died in last three months, have flooded the airwaves. When I see them, I think of Andiseni.
This is Andiseni today. He is a healthy, active six year old boy who loves to sing and play with galimotos (toy cars made out of wire). He also has a great imagination, and can often be found building and “driving” cars made out of straw and whatever other materials he can find around Mtendere Village. We were able to reach Andiseni in time, but we know there were many more children that we were not able to help.
The development sector often operates under a strategy of reaction instead of preemption, which inevitably means that lives will be shattered before an appropriate intervention is in place. At 100X, we want to intervene before a crisis peaks.
In Malawi, fish is a vital protein resource; however, the current per capita fish supply is far below WHO recommendations. Translation? There are not enough fish for everyone—a deficit that greatly contributes to protein deficiency and malnutrition. Which, according to the World Food Program, leads to reduced physical and mental development during childhood, greater risk during pregnancy, difficulty resisting disease, and diminished capacity to learn and do physical work.
Since food is so important, and fish is one of two primary sources of protein in Malawi, we have teamed up with fish experts. Yes, there really are fish experts—not just people who fish well. Our team is made up of the who’s who of aquaculture.
Auburn University’s Department of Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures: The international experts in building fish farms—an entire department of incredibly smart people, who know what it takes to get the fishing industry in Malawi up and running.
Chief Napoleon Dzombe: Chief Napoleon is a fish farming entrepreneur (and a highly respected chief in Malawi) who will be helping us connect new fishing techniques with the hundreds of farmers that he knows.
Maldeco: This nonprofit corporation has been a major player in seeking to save the native fish, the Chambo, and they manufacture fish food. We will be working with them to improve and expand the fish food they make to help farmers grow more fish.
Our role? We are going to build state of the art fish ponds that are connected to farms. The fish will live in water that will also be used for irrigation—that means that the stuff we normally filter out of the fish tank (enough said) will enrich the water used to water crops.
Sound Interesting? Have you ever caught a fish with teeth? Or scuba dived in a lake with 400 species of tropical fish? You might need to take a trip to Malawi to visit the 100X work there, or perhaps you would like to just meet with our fish team to see what you can do. Visit our website to see how you can help us help children like Andiseni!
—Lindy Blanchard, Co-Founder and President