The Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) has offered to improve the living standards of vulnerable women and youths in Karonga district.
According to the organisation’s Right to Food Project Officer, Tunsume Mweyibasa, a good number of women in the district especially in the area of Traditional Authority Kilupula are victims of backward cultural practices.
These hinder them from accessing land especially when they get divorced by their husbands or widowed resulting to food insecurity.
Mweyibasa said through the goat-pass extension project, about 50 families in T/A Kilupula and 50 others in T/A Mwirang’ombe will receive five goats each which they will be passing on to other families as they multiply.
“This is to ensure that women are able to sustain their lives without relying much on men and we believe that these goats will help them address some of their challenges socially and economically,” she explained.
Mweyibasa further said the project expects to reach out to 700 plus people with the goats and since it is a pass-on project, it will be done in three phases until all the targeted groups benefit from the same.
“Women and youths are targeted in this project because they are considered vulnerable groups in the society in terms of access to social services,” she added.
Apart from that, the EAM is training them in village saving loans and conservative agriculture in partnership with the agriculture office and empowering them to form cooperatives while on the other hand giving them resources to support their interface meetings.
The EAM is implementing this three year project with financial support from Danish Church Aid.
The minister of gender, children and elderly, Jean Kalirani has commended the role being played by the Lusubilo Community Based Orphan Care under the Karonga diocese of the Catholic Church in taking care of the orphans and other vulnerable children and promoting development projects like agriculture and others.
“We came to appreciate the activities that the organisation is implementing in the district to support vulnerable groups and we have realised that they are really doing what the government is up to,” said the minister.
Although the organisation is working without being registered which curtails its noble tasks, the minister added that government through her ministry will do all it can to ensure that it is registered as a nongovernmental organisation for efficient execution of its activities.
Therefore, Kalirani advised the leadership of the organisation to follow the right protocols through the Karonga District Council to get registered in order to nature its roles and responsibilities.
She said, “We want to advise the leadership of this institution to liaise with the office of the district commissioner so that it gets registered.”
The organisation which takes care of about 75 and 100 vulnerable children every year was established in 2003.
Founder of the orphanage, Beatrice Chipeta told Capital FM that she doesn’t know why government is failing to recommend it.
“As we know there are different organisations providing such noble work to vulnerable groups but still there is a gap because the number of vulnerable groups in communities is increasing at a very fast rate so there is need for mutual support with individuals,” said Chipeta.
She added that the organisation’s main duty is to encourage community members to find resources that would be used to support sex workers in the country so that they should find proper methods of earning a living to reduce cases of orphan hood.
According to Chipeta, the organisation is currently taking care of over 90 children.
The Malawi government in collaboration with Hamla Holdings Limited an oil exploration company is set to commence the geological survey on the offshore sedimentary rocks for oil exploration in Karonga district.
According to the team leader of the exploration company, Grain Malunga, the survey will start this month and the findings are expected to be revealed to the mass by December this year.
Malunga said the survey will be done in a professional way such that Malawians will not be denied any information pertaining to the matter.
He further assured Malawians that they should not worry that their lives and natural resources like aquatic life will be put in danger as the activity will not take place in the lake but offshore.
“This is a very safe activity which will be conducted in a transparent manner where all community members will be notified of the findings of the survey and above all the oil exploration will not only benefit Karonga residents but the whole nation,” said Malunga.
He added that although Lake Malawi is very small it is very costly to do the oil exploration on it as it may require huge drilling machines because it is very deep.
“Our lake is about 600 meters deep. Every company that may wish to invest in oil exploration in it will have to spend more than the value of the oil to be extracted”.
Research is still in progress but he pleaded with government to be transparent enough to update the public on the progress of the geological and geophysical mapping.
He said oil survey usually takes about 10 to 40 years to complete depending on the environment and the company which is assigned to do the job as it is not a short term thing.
He explained that, “As for Malawi we are talking about 30 years and we are remaining with about 10 years. The samples will not be tested in Malawi because we have no laboratory so they will be taken to overseas for analysis but not in large quantity- at least 40 kilograms or so.”
Malunga further said that for this reason, the project may not actually benefit the present generation.
The Volunteers Service Overseas Organisation has donated exercise books and iPads to Ipyana full primary school in Karonga district.
This is in a quest to improve reading and writing skills among school going children.
Through the Unlocking Talent Project, the project seeks to enable youths in the country to learn mathematics, computing and English so that they are able to grasp Information Communication Technology (ICT) quickly thereby improving quality of education in the country.
According to Education Specialist for the VSO Tonas Kalumika said, “Pupils can adopt this system quickly because they are still young and that is why the organisation is targeting learners in standard one, two and three, so that when they get into standard 4 they are able to read and write through the use of modern technology.”
The specialist went on adding that they initiated the project to unlock the hidden talents among learners while on the other hand improving the quality of education.
He further told Capital FM that the project is also in support of the ministry of education in its national reading program as it also aims at achieving the same.
In his words, Karonga district education manager, Scorch Kondowe the support has come at a time when schools recently reopened and they were in need of support to procure teaching and learning materials.
“The project intends to support the beginners in schools particularly in standard 1 with skills where they can develop writing and reading skills at their own pace and what we have noticed is that in ten schools where this project is being implemented has generated an interest among learners to enroll into schools and gains among those that are participating in it,” said Kondowe.
The project is being supported by the VSO in partnership with One Billion London based charity organisation together with Malawi’s ministry of education science and technology.
With financial support from Royal Norwegian Embassy and the Scottish government, it is targeting ten public full primary schools across Karonga district.
Fifty people have been awarded certificates of attendance in early childhood development.
They were awarded with certificates after successfully going through a 14-day basic course on a Malawi Early Childhood Development (ECD) training manual.
The training, arranged by the Evangelical association of Malawi (EAM) was funded by the Norwegian Church Aid.
According to officials from the association, through such trainings service delivery in areas of early childhood development in Malawi can greatly improve.
They believe that although there are nearly 20,000 child caregivers and over 300 Community Based Child Care Centres (CBCCCs) in the country, the 50 that have recently graduated will have a huge impact wherever they go.
Speaking to Capital FM Atupele Mwalweni, who is an ECD Trainer, said that sometimes it is difficult to improve the early childhood sector due to a lack of transparency by some organisations which fail to be transparent when they receive funding from various donors.
The trainer stressed that this is one of the things that is making donors to shun Malawian organisations in terms of funding.
Speaking during the presentation ceremony Director of Planning and Development for Karonga District Council, David Kayiwonanga Gondwe disclosed that there is a need for nongovernmental organisations to utilise funds they receive from donors so that Malawians benefit as well.
The Director further revealed that the Council is planning on joining forces with the EAM through the office of the district social welfare to provide expertise on the same.
Training modules consisted of child development, working with physically challenged children, child milestones assessment, child rights protection, nutrition, food security, hygiene.
To add on that it also consisted of psychosocial support, making care resource mobilisation, community development, creating a learning community and gender mainstreaming in ECD services.