Sunday, February 22, 2015

Malawi and CAUSES Sign Food and Water Security MOU

Continuing its mission to combat food security, the College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) of the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Republic of Malawi. The Ambassador of Malawi, Stephen D. Matenje, was present to help commemorate the occasion February 6, 2015, and accompanied by the Deputy Ambassador, Jane Nankwenya, President Lyons of the University of the District of Columbia, and UDC CAUSES Dean Sabine O'Hara. The MOU was signed by the President of the Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources back Malawi, and delivered personally by the Ambassador to President Lyons to formalize the agreement.

"Over the years, our fish stock has been dwindling and sometimes we have to import fish from countries such as Namibia to supplement the stocks we have. And for this reason, that's why I was so moved by the aquaponics project and the potential it has to help us improve food security; as well as nutrition security," explained the Ambassador, referencing his visit to the UDC farm in June 2014. 

According to the United Nations, Malawi is in a state of fragile food security combined with nutrition insecurity. The small, primarily agricultural, landlocked country borders Zambia, Tanzania, and Mozambique. The country was ranked 45 of 79 on the 2012 Global Hunger Index, where over 40 percent of the country’s 14 million people live on less than $1.00 per day, according to the 2012 Government of Malawi MDG Report. The 2013-14 National Food Security Forecast projected that 1.4 million Malawian people would be food insecure, representing 9.5 per cent of the population.

"Mr. Ambassador, we are very pleased to celebrate this important step of improving food and water security in Malawi. Hopefully, we will be able to make a contribution to that effect," commented Dean Sabine O'Hara. "We are privileged to be part of the mission your country has of improving food and water security."

Ambassador Matenje visiting the UDC Farm in 2014. 

CAUSES is home to UDC's landgrant programs. As such, the College is part of a rich history and national network of universities that focus on agriculture, applied technology, nutrition, and health. What sets CAUSES apart is that its programs focus on urban sustainability, and on innovative ways to produce food on small areas of land, similar to nations such as Malawi. 

CAUSES is playing a major role in helping Washington, D.C. to become more sustainable and its residents to be healthier and more food secure. Food security refers to having access to a steady, dependable supply of nutritious food that supports a healthy and active lifestyle. CAUSES has launched a number of community and global partnerships that connect the dots between locally grown food, nutritional health and economic empowerment. 

Last fall, UDC signed a similar MOU with the Island Nation of ArubaFor more information on CAUSES visit

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