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Archives December 2017

CCJP Improves Relationships between Health Workers and Communities

By Deodatus Muriya (Monitoring and Evaluation Desk Officer)

The Justice and Peace Desk of Karonga Diocese has contributed to the improvement of relationships between health workers and communities in Karonga and Chitipa through the Health Governance Project funded by the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA).

This was revealed during the Review and Planning meeting the Desk held at Viphya in Chilumba from 26th to 28th December, 2017. The meeting reviewed the progress made in the implementation of the ‘Promotion of High Quality, Accountable and Responsive Public Health Service Delivery’ project. The meeting also reviewed the Detailed Implementation Plan of the project.

The Justice and Peace Desk Officer, Mr Louis Nkhata, said he was impressed with the progress the project is making against the indicators as presented in the report from the Monitoring and Evaluation Desk. He further said that through capacity building of community structures, community awareness and engagement with duty bearers, the project has strengthened collaboration between health workers and people from the communities.

Mr Nkhata said that the main focus now would be to engage the Central Government to reveal the drug budget as allocated to different health facilities since drugs are purchased centrally from the Central Medical Stores and supplied directly to health facilities. He even district hospitals are not aware of the funds allocated them in terms of drugs and the quantity of drugs they are supposed to receive.

Bishop Mtumbuka Challenges Christians to Maintain Peace in their Societies

By Ignatius Mvula

Bishop Martin Mtumbuka has challenged Catholic Christians in Karonga Diocese to keep peace in their families and in turn their societies. The Bishop made these remarks at Lughali Zone under St Marys Parish after the Eucharistic Celebration marking the Nativity of the Lord on 25th December, 2017.

Bishop Mtumbuka reminded the congregation that the Solemnity of Incarnation is in itself a call to peace. He highlighted that Jesus humbled himself to share in our humanity to reconcile us to God and that we ourselves must learn to reconcile with one another.

“It is a real sign of bad leadership when husbands beat their wives, this must be stopped by all means.” Said Bishop Mtumbuka.

Turning to traditional leaders, the Bishop reminded them that their primary responsibility is to promote peace among their subjects and within their jurisdiction. He noted that it is sad that the people who are already under the veil of suffering because of so many challenges they face like hunger must at the same time suffer due to the effects of violent conflicts.

“As a Diocese we will do all that we can within our means to ensure that there is peace and tranquillity in this area” he added.

He called upon political leaders to help the people to maintain peace especially during the coming elections. He hinted that during last elections most of the people in Lughali area suffered because there was no peace during the elections.

Speaking at an earlier function which was also attended by the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Bishop called on Parliament to review the Chiefs Act in order to set order in the institution which is at the root of violent conflicts and suffering in the area.

He asked parliament to make it mandatory that all traditional leaders have well laid down succession plans to prevent chieftaincy wrangles. He bemoaned the tendency to resort to courts to obtain injunctions to resolve traditional matters.

The Bishop finally wished all the faithful a Happy Christmas.

Bishop Mtumbuka Opens the 2017 Catholic Teacher’s Conference

“Calls on Delegates to Engage in a Candid Discussion on Issues Affecting Education in the Diocese”

Bishop Martin Mtumbuka of the Diocese of Karonga, on 28th December, 2017, officially opened the 2017 Catholic Teachers Conference at Miracle Technical Institute in Karonga .  This two-day conference runs from 28th to 29th December, 2017.

The conference, which has attracted over 60 participants,  started with a Holy Mass at 8 am followed by an official opening ceremony. In his opening remarks, Bishop Mtumbuka welcomed and thanked all the teachers for coming to the conference. He urged the delegates to use the conference as an opportunity to grow in faith, personality and profession.

He also called on participants to discuss how the Diocese could better run its educational institutions considering that some of the schools she owns, both primary and secondary, are not doing very well. The Bishop lamented that it is always difficult for the Diocese to identify suitable people who could run the education institutions. To this effect, the Bishop challenged the teachers to propose people among themselves who could be appointed as head teachers of some Catholic primary and secondary schools.

On her part, Mrs Martha Chizumila, chairperson for the Catholic Teachers Association highlighted that the conference has given the teachers an opportunity to interact and contribute to the improvement of education standards. She also thanked the Bishop for his presence and continuous support to the association.

The conference has lined up a number of topics and presentations which include Catholic Social Teaching, Catholic Education Policy, Family life and the Teaching profession, Professionalism in Teaching Career, Personal Finance Management, Management and Performance of Catholic Schools, and Mission and Identify of Catholic Teachers in Small Christian Community.

Picture of a cross section of participants during a youth and women conference in Karonga
CCJP Empowers Youth and Women to Demand Quality Health Services

By Norbert Mzembe

The Justice and Peace Desk of Karonga Diocese has empowered the youth and women to demand quality health services from public health facilities in Karonga District.

Moses Mwakisalu, one of the facilitators from the Justice and Peace Desk, said the organization has learnt that women and youth in the district face challenges to access quality health services in various health facilities. He further said, the youth and women do not demand for these services due to lack of capacity.

Mwakisalu mentioned that the population of this country largely comprises of the youth who contribute much to the development of the nation hence the need for them to participate in decision making processes that would help improve their health standards.

“It is for this reason that we have empowered the youth in Karonga District to accessibility of high quality health services for all regardless of their age,” said Mwakisalu.

He said, “We are training these youths and women to be knowledgeable in health issues because they are the heaviest users of health services. In most cases they are deprived of their right to health services by duty bearers due to ignorance.”

He further expressed optimism that following the training, youth and women in Karonga District will now be able to enjoy health services being offered in the district by demanding accountability from duty bearers where necessary.

Karonga District Youth Officer (DYO), Jessie Mwansambo, commended the initiative by the CCJP saying it will really transform the living standards of the youths.

“We as the DYO, we are behind the initiative and my office will negotiate with the district council to give room for the youths to address their concerns pertaining to the challenges they are facing when accessing health services,” said Mwansambo.

She emphasized that being the leaders of today and tomorrow, youths deserve quality health services so that they can contribute effectively to the development of the nation.

Commenting on the matter, chairperson of the Health Service Committee for Karonga District Council, McDonald Tengamowa Munthali, urged the participants to collaborate with Health Advisory Committees in their areas. He also urged them to channel their complaints on health service delivery to the District Council.

The CCJP is empowering the youths and women to participate in the management of public health services through its Osisa funded health governance project. The project is being implemented in Karonga and Chitipa districts.

Picture of Participants captured during the planning and review meeting
Education Desk Mobilizing Parents to Help Their Children Acquire Reading Skills

By Deodatus Muriya (Monitoring and Evaluation Desk Officer)

The Education Desk of the Diocese of Karonga held a planning meeting at Vipya Lodge in Chilumba from 21st to 22nd December, 2017. This is part of the 18 month National Reading Programme, which the Education Desk is implementing with funding from USAID through RTI.

According to the Education Desk Officer, Mr Remmie Kamanga, the aim of the meeting is to orient the project team on the details of the project design and to develop a detailed implementation plan of the.

Further, Mr Kamanga said the project will help communities understand their responsibility in helping their children to read and write which are essential skills in the teaching and learning process.

The project will directly benefit the school children in the attainment of learning outcomes. This will help the children to pursue their education which is a springboard for personal and community development.

As an implementing agency, the Diocese of Karonga is facilitating in community mobilization for communities to take part in in helping their children to read and write. The project will be implemented in the entire districts of Chitipa and Karonga.

Bishop Mtumbuka Ordains Edward Kamanga to Diaconate

Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka of Karonga Diocese on Saturday 23rd December 2017 ordained Edward Kamanga to diaconate as a transitory step towards priesthood. The ceremony will go into the annals of the Diocese as it is the first time for St Joseph the Worker Cathedral to host an ordination since its inauguration in November, 2016.

In his homily, which centred on the theme of ‘Centrality of Salvation of Souls’ to the mission of the Church, Bishop Mtumbuka stressed that the number one priority of the Church is to help people to know God, to be saved, and to grow in holiness and faith. He further stressed that the Church is there to prepare people and sanctify them to stand in the presence of God.

“We cannot be a Diocese if we stop at delivering on charity work and social development. As a Diocese we are doing a lot to alleviate the suffering of the people through charity work, education and health services. But if you stop at initiating development work, then you are turning a holy ministry into mere social work. And that is not acceptable. As priests we are supposed to pray and bless Christians who are placed into our care. ” Said Bishop Mtumbuka.

The Bishop further exhorted priests to grow in the spirit of service since they are servants of God and instruments of the Church. He reminded them that they are meant to serve the Christians entrusted to their care and not to be served. The Bishop said problems arise between Christians and priests when priests have forgotten that they are servants.

“The understanding of a priest as a servant does not undermine his leadership role. He has to lead and guide Christians and not to be led. There is a tendency among some Christians to take over the responsibility of priests and take themselves superior of priests.” The Bishop further advised.

In his address to the newly ordained, Bishop Mtumbuka urged him to be modest and faithful and grow in prayer. He stressed that the first step of Holy Orders, Diaconate, is meant to help the deacon to grow in service. He urged him to pray always citing there is no important engagement for a priest than prayer.

The occasion was graced by people from all walks of life including priests, religious sisters and brothers and among them was Right Honourable Richard Msowoya, Speaker of the National Assembly of Malawi.

Deacon Edward Kamanga’s is expected to be ordained priest in July. He hails from Ehehleni, TA Mzukuola in Mzimba District. He is undergoing formation at St Augustine’s Peramiho Major Seminary in Tanzania.

Health Desk of Karonga Diocese Improves Access to Medical Care for People Suffering from TB in Karonga and Chitipa

By Deodatus Muriya (Monitoring and Evaluation Desk Officer)

The Health Desk of Karonga has improved access to medical care for people suffering from chronic cough through the work of volunteers who encourage people to within their catchment area to get diagnosed for Tuberculosis (TB), start treatment immediately if found TB positive and following up patients on treatment.

This was disclosed at the biannual review of TB Project organized by the Episcopal Conference of Malawi Health Desk. The Karonga Diocese Health Desk Officer, Mr. Vincent Shaba said through TB project, communities have been assisted to be aware of TB infection and also reduce stigma.

“The project has helped to clear out misconceptions. For instance, people in the community believe that if have TB, then you are automatically HIV positive. They also believe that HIV can be tested in sputum hence fear to submit sputum.” Said Mr. Shaba.

According to Gilbert Banda, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for ECM, the aim of the biannual review meeting is to assess the financial and programmatic progress of the project. He further said that this biannual review has given implementing agencies an opportunity to review the overall grant performance being the final month on the current project.

The Review meeting, which was held at Red Zebra in Salima from 18th to 21st December, 2017, gave an opportunity to implementing partners to share experiences, challenges encountered ways of mitigating them, lessons learned and best ways for improving the implementation of the project activities.

The Episcopal conference of Malawi (ECM) Health Department is implementing a TB Project in Karonga and Mzuzu Dioceses and Lilongwe Archdiocese with funding from Action Aid. The project is being implemented in Karonga, Chitipa, Likoma, Mzimba, Nkhatabay, Rumphi, Ntchisi, Dowa, Kasungu and Lilongwe Districts with the National Office coordinating.

Picture of Karonga Diocese Donates Maize and Farm Inputs to Victims of Internal Displacement in Mpata
Karonga Diocese Donates Maize and Farm Inputs to Victims of Internal Displacement in Mpata

By Wezi Mwangonde

The Catholic Diocese of Karonga has donated maize and farm inputs to residents of Mwenitete, Mwawembe and Mwankenja Mwangonde villages in Mpata in the area of Paramount Chief Kyungu in Karonga district.

The donation follows the return of the internally displaced, Mwankenja Mwangonde villagers, who left their land in February as a result of a protracted land dispute which turned violent. The returnees had lost their means of livelihood and could not prepare for farming this year hence the donation of farm inputs.

During the exercise, each of the 69 households from Mwankenja Mwangonde received a 50 kilogram bag of maize for food, two bags of fertilizer (Urea and NPK) and a 10 kilograms package of maize seeds including a 50 kilogram bag of maize for household consumption.

The donation was extended to 120 other equally vulnerable villagers from Mwabwembe and Mwenitete villages received a 50 kilogram bag of maize each to carry them through the lean period.

Speaking on behalf of Bishop Martin Mtumbuka of Karonga Diocese, Father Joseph Moloka Sikwese the Bishop’s and Pastoral Secretary, said this goodwill gesture follows the resolution of a long standing land disputes that led to the displacement of Mwankenja Mwangonde villagers.

“Diocese is very impressed with the three villages for reconciling on the long time feud through the initiative of the CCJP in conjunction with the District Peace Committee under Karonga District Council.” Said Father Sikwese.

He further pledged that through the Justice and Peace Desk, Karonga Diocese will continue fighting for Justice and peace in the area. He urged the people to utilize the village tribunals being championed by Justice and Peace Desk as one way of making Karonga free from wrangles.

Concurring with the Bishop’s secretary, the representative of the Principle Group Village Headman Kalambo said the area is behind in terms of development due to prolonged violent conflicts.

Picture of Louis Nkhata, Justice and Peace Desk Officer urging community members to speak out
Karonga CCJP Calls for the Provision of Essential Drugs and Medical Equipment to Sere Clinic

By Ephraim Nyirenda – TFM

The Justice and Peace Desk of Karonga Diocese has called on government to ensure that essential drugs and medical equipment are provided to Sere Clinic in Kayerekera to make it fully functional.

Speaking at an interface meeting held at Kayerekera, Justice and Peace Desk Officer for Karonga Diocese said communities in Kayerekera have a right to timely appropriate health care. This he said, entails availability of well supplied health facilities.

He further urged communities to use every means possible to engage duty bearers to fulfil their health rights.

“You need to utilize every means at your disposal to make your voices heard. You need to make noise through different platforms like media, panel discussion, interface meetings to make the duty bearers act on your plight.

During the meeting, community members of Kayerekera lamented that Sere Clinic is not functional months after it was handed over to Karonga District Council by Paladin Africa a part of corporate social responsibility. The facility was handed over without essential drugs, furniture and medical equipment

“We are struggling to get medical services for us and our children yet we have a health facility in our area. The nearest health facility is at Wiliro, fifteen kilometres away. Due to transport challenges in our area, we walk on foot to reach the facility which is also poorly stocked.” Said one community member.

She asked the government to equip Sere Clinic to be providing maternity and outpatient services to Kayerekera community to ease their challenges.

Speaking in solidarity with his subjects, Paramount Chief Kyungu expressed dissatisfaction with the clinic which was handed over without drugs, chairs and medical equipment.

“When I was invited to grace the handover ceremony, I did not turn up because I did not want to receive an incomplete thing.” He said. “I will be available during the official handover when the government will be handing over the clinic with all equipment available.”

Answering on behalf of Karonga District Council, Isaac Mkandawire who is the Council’s Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, said the council was engaging the Ministry of Health to provide necessary support to the clinic by January, 2018.


CCJP Hailed for the Decline in Child Marriage Cases in Kameme

By Deodatus Muriya (Monitoring and Evaluation Officer)

Senior Traditional Authority Kameme has hailed the Justice and Peace Desk of Karonga Diocese for the decline in child marriage cases in his area.

The traditional leader said this during the field monitoring exercise conducted by the Monitoring and Evaluation Desk of Karonga Diocese from 14th to 15th December, 2017.

“We have seen a tremendous reduction in child marriage cases. Between July and December, 2017 my area has registered only one case as compared to the many cases reported in the same period last year.” Said STA Kameme. He attributed this to the village awareness meetings conducted CCJP volunteers in the area.

Now that the fight against child marriages is being won, the traditional leader said there was need for more capacity building sessions for traditional leaders in justice delivery systems. These, he said, will help them address other social justice problems communities are facing.

In his remarks, CC Chavula, who is Police Officer In-Charge for Soperera Police Unit, said there is good working relationship between the police and CCJP volunteers. He said they collaborate in conducting community awareness meetings.

Mr Deodatus Muriya, who is the Diocesan Monitoring and Evaluation Desk Officer, said the aim of the visit was to assess the progress of Promotion of Enjoyment of Women and Children’s Rights in Chitipa District Project which CCJP is implementing with support from Misereor.

“So far the project is progressing well and there is good coordination among CCJP staff, volunteers and other relevant stakeholders.” Said Mr Muriya. He further said the project will meet its targets by May 2019 is the current trend continues.

The monitoring team interacted with key stakeholders in the areas of traditional authorities Mwenemisuku, Mwaulambiya and Kameme in Chitipa District.