By staff writer 24/1/18
When she took office in April 2012, Dr Joyce Banda founded the Mudzi Transformation Trust (MTT) with the sole purpose of alleviating accommodation, sanitation and nutrition problems for the poorest Malawians.
MTT was founded and launched in May 2013 by then President Dr Joyce Banda as a vehicle for development in constructing decent houses, portable water, accessible transport and nutrition for the country’s lowest earning bracket of the population.
The initiative aimed at transforming livelihoods of poor and marginalized Malawians so as to lift them out of abject poverty and set them on an emancipated footing to contribute meaningfully to the country’s development.
MTT – whose headquarters was in Zomba- operated as a fully fledged organization with a full secretariat run by a qualified chief executive officer. It had all financial systems in place with audited accounts from time to time.
The program was designed to transform in five years 20,000 villages across the country which translated to between 200,000 and 400,000 houses constructed within the given period.
The economic philosophy behind MTT was that poor people fail to focus on income generating endeavors because they are always busy fixing their dilapidated houses and searching for portable water with minimal success.
If they are supported to get proper habitation, portable water and good nutrition then their focus will shift to economic activities such as commercial farming which in turn will lift them out of abject poverty.
With that in mind, Dr Banda – who for decades has already applied this development model through her Joyce Banda Foundation International- was determined to see it being a success as a national agenda.
When she left office in 2014, every corner of the country had already witnessed transformation of pilot projects that saw an average of 30 houses constructed per selected villages. In total thousands of houses had been constructed by the time JB left office.
People who benefited from MTT have always commended the government of JB for initiating what could be said as the most pro-poor transformative program rarely seen on the continent of Africa.
More so, the program also targeted even people living in the country’s urban centres. JB realized that poverty is also rampant and worse in townships so she as the founder proposed that either full houses or extensive renovations be carried out for the poor constituency. In the sprawling townships of Makhetha, Ndirande, Chilobwe, Kawale, Chinsapo among others, grass thatched houses were de-roofed and replaced by shining iron sheets.
This kind of transformation of poor livelihoods has forever left an indelible mark on Malawians who in a space of two years saw what real pro-poor economic growth stands for.