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Gate City students fundraise for irrigation project in Malawi

Staff Report • Dec 9, 2019 at 2:02 PM

GATE CITY — Earth science students at Gate City High School are working to establish a more sustainable water source in Malawi, Africa.

Students in the Earth Science II class have been studying water quality in the U.S. and the world and researching alternative energy resources for areas of drought and starvation. Their instructor, Dawn Williams, recently invited Roger and Earline Lane to share experiences from their mission trips to Malawi with the class.

Life in Malawi

Through the presentation, students experienced a culture in one of the poorest countries in the world. They learned that 80% of the people in Malawi live in rural areas and depend on farming for a living. They also depend on one rainy season to water their crops.

If there is no rain, the crops fail, and the only crops to survive are those that are watered by hand. As a result, villages experience famine until the next harvest season.

In times of drought, which has occurred four of the last five years in this community, villagers may be forced to survive on one meal of a pasty maize diet, if they have even one meal. Children suffer along with the adults.

Making an impact

The Lanes are members of the Rotary Club of Scott County, which is applying for a Rotary International matching grant to fund an irrigation system powered by solar energy for the Kaziwo community in Malawi.

The system will provide a reliable source of water for crops and extend the growing season from one to three times per year. It will also provide an additional source of water for daily use, which will supplement the two wells that serve the four villages in the community.

The Earth Science II class, along with Lake Fleming Ecology Club, recently began an irrigation fundraising project to benefit that Malawi community. The project will assist the Rotary Club of Scott County in its efforts to raise $65,000 for the irrigation system.

How to help

Along with the Rotary Club’s fundraising efforts, the class will hold bake sales and hot chocolate sales on Dec. 11 and 18 at the Gate City High/Middle School complex. The class’ goal is to earn money to contribute to a community that has little and works very hard to raise crops for the food it does have.

“It is the hope of the Earth science class and Lake Fleming Ecology Club to earn funds to assist in the building of this irrigation system to help these people raise food, even in times of drought,” Williams said. “It is the hope of our class to help other students understand that available water is a commodity in this community, as in many other villages.

“In our effort to help another human being, we are willing to work to raise any funding that we can to contribute to this worthwhile project. Every dollar to us will be worth many more to Malawi!”