This study and resulting information contained in this blog is made possible by
the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency
for International Development (USAID) under Award No. EPP-A-00-09-00004.
The contents are the responsibility of the Malawi Project and do not necessarily
reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government. Please contact Dr.
Darcy Boellstorff ( for more information.

GIS Training

World Relief Staff were trained by Dr. Darcy Boellstorff and Zaine Venter during the June trip in how to use GIS.  The training manuals led participants through the process of using their survey data to answer questions about the location of special demographic groups (i.e. women-headed households with orphans) and to answer questions about spatial relationships between natural and man-made features of interest (i.e. road buffers, proximity to irrigation water, proximity to storage facilities, etc.). After completion of the three-day course, participants were given a certificate of completion.

Relative humdity and Precipitation

A HOBO relative humidity/temperature and a precipitation gauge were added to the World Relief Office weather station.

Makeshift sun shield for the temperature recording device developed ad hoc
by Dr. Darcy Boellstorff and Zaine Venter

Collaborator Meetings

During the June trip, Dr. Darcy Boellstorff, Zaine Venter and WR team met with potential collaborators including:
·          Mr. P. Chikapa, the Assistant District Agriculture Development Officer in Mzimba
·          Mr. Mkinda, the Mbawa Extension Planning Area (EPA) Team Leader
·          Dr. Benesi, Government Plant Breeder at the Chitedze Agricultural Research Station in Lilongwe
·          The technical assistants of Dr. Chipungu at the Bvumbwe Agricultural Research Station in Bvumbwe
·          Melody McNeil – Agricultural Officer at USAID Malawi Mission
·          Faculty from Bunda College of Agriculture

Solar Irrigation Pump Installation

The first irrigation pump was presented to farmers from three villages who were collectively working on an irrigation scheme along a stretch of the Kakoma River (Dr. Darcy Boellstorff and WR Team).

Solar Irrigation Pump Installation

Training Materials

A training manual for using Quantum GIS and the survey database was developed for training World Relief staff in June. The manual exercises are geared to both introduce the user to GIS and to help understand the relationship and utility of the survey data in planning. Each exercise culminated in a finished-product map that were exported to a pdf format.

The exercises include:
  • Adding Vector/Raster Layers
  • Map Composition Using Malawi Districts, Roads, Water Bodies/Rivers
  • Compare Image Resolutions – New Shp, Digitizing And Editing Layers
  • Find Widowed-Female-Headed Households That Have Dependents
  • Find Female-Headed Households That Earn 50,000 Mwk Or Less Per Year
  • Find Women-Headed Households That Earn Less Than 50,000 Mkw, That Are Not Within A 20 Minute Walk Of A Storage Facility
  • Farm Area - Rainfed Land
  • Root Growing Rainfed Farms Near River Irrigation Source

A final map output from the GIS training.

Survey Database Building

The data from the farmer surveys were coded and organized into 13 relational tables which can be joined to their spatial location using a common item called “Survey_ID”. The tables were stored as Excel files and also as .dbf files for joining in Quantum GIS.  Metadata attribute tables were written that allow users to look up attribute definition and value codes.