The Justice and Peace Desk of the Diocese of Karonga, through the MISEREOR funded Women and Children’s Rights Project provided support to Chitipa Magistrate Court to conduct Court circuits within the district.
A court circuit is a court sitting in which a judge or magistrate and team as well as police prosecutors move from their usual settings to prosecute cases in the rural/ remote setting. This activity is being carried out in the areas of traditional authorities Mwenemisuku, Mwabulambia and Senior Chief Kameme.
Due to limited funding to courts, magistrates fail to prosecute cases in rural localities a thing which denies justice to people in rural areas. This is so because many cases stay long before they are concluded. This activity aims at ensuring that long overdue cases are tried.
Limited access to justice has been blamed for the rise in cases of violence against women and girls as perpetrators go scot free. This also encourages a culture of silence as victims of abuse choose to remain silent rather than reporting to authorities as they feel nothing will happen at all. The courts circuits will in the long run break the culture of silence.
In reaction to this support, First Grade Magistrate Julius Kalambo of Chitipa, thanked CCJP for providing the support to conduct court circuits in the three areas saying cases that are solved in the localities help victims to bring many witnesses.
“Court sittings in rural areas gives an opportunity for many witnesses to be paraded to provide evidence as compared to cases tried at the Chitipa Court where many witnesses fail to come due to long distances and lack of transport hence cases take long to be concluded. The court circuits run up to the 27 June, 2018.
Through the “Investing for impact against TB/HIV’’ project, the Health Desk of the Diocese of Karonga held health facility quarterly review meetings in a number of facilities from 15 to 23 June, 2018.
The aim of these meeting was to review progress of community TB activities in the revamped and established community sputum collection points (CSCP) in Chitipa and Karonga districts. The review meetings took place at the following health facilities: Wenya, Kameme, Kapenda, Misuku and Kapoka in Chitipa; Iponga, Kasoba, Kaporo, Atupere and Nthora in Karonga.
Specifically, the review focused on progress of activities of volunteers and health workers in target health facilities including successes and challenges faced during the first and second quarters.
A representative of volunteers from each CSCP presented a report highlighting number of households visited, presumptive cases found, and number of sputum samples collected, number of positive and negative cases found and number of cases referred to the health facility.
Further to this, the team discussed at length and suggested solutions to the identified challenges faced by both volunteers and health workers. Finally the members framed an action plan stipulating roles to be taken by each stakeholder i.e. health workers and volunteers. The District TB officer, In-charge of each facility, TB focal person, Microscopist and volunteers from Community Sputum Collection Point (CSCP) attended the meetings.
The activity was a success in that all planned meetings were conducted. It is expected that the discussions and action plan drawn during these review meetings will result in identification of many TB cases and high treatment success rate in communities.
On Saturday 16 June 2018 Karonga Diocese Affiliates Blantyre Chapter was launched during the Mass which was celebrated by Father Joseph Sikwese, who doubles as Bishop’s and Pastoral Secretary.
The launching ceremony took place at Chigumula in Blantyre at the residence of Justice Dustin Mwawungulu and was attended by more than 100 members.
The Vice President of Karonga Diocese Affiliates Blantyre Chapter, Mr Kalowekamo thanked Fr Sikwese for traveling all the way from Karonga to Blantyre to officially launch the grouping and assured of total commitment to support the Diocese of Karonga.
Karonga Diocese Affiliates aims at supporting pastoral and social programmes of the Diocese of Karonga. The grouping is made up of Catholics who originally come from the area within the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Karonga and those who are just interested in supporting the Diocese of Karonga.
Apart from Blantyre, Karonga Diocese Affiliates has chapters in Mzuzu and Lilongwe. In addition of supporting the 2018 Diocesan budget, Karonga Diocese Affiliates will this year also pay annual tuition fees for one major seminarian of the Diocese of Karonga.
Fr. Joseph Sikwese in his speech explained some of the Pastoral and social projects that are taking place in the Diocese of Karonga and thanked the Affiliates for the commitment they have shown in supporting the Diocese of Karonga. ” the Diocese of Karonga is very young Diocese with so many challenges ranging from few Pastoral personnel to little resources to enable it to carry out its pastoral and social Programmes, we therefore don’t take your support for granted.” explained Fr. Sikwese.
Chitipa Magistrate Court on Thursday convicted three people on witchcraft related cases. The three are 34 year old Elisha Msukwa who is Village Headman Mwambeta, 25 year old Kebbie Kuyokwa of Mwambeta II Village and 31 year old Lufeyo Muyira of Chipwera village.
The three have since been sentenced to 18, 36 and 9 months imprisonment with hard labour for employing a witch finder in the village, representing himself as a wizard and for being present on trial by ordeal respectively which is contrary to Section 6 of the Witchcraft Act.
The court heard through Police Prosecutor Inspector Evans Mtepuka, that Kebbie Kuyokwa had been going by his statement or actions presenting himself to be a wizard and possessing the power of witchcraft . He also claimed that he and eight other friends were behind the suspicious death of a 21-year-old Form 2 student, Late Tobias Kayuni.
The news made Village Headman Mwambeta II to invite a witch finder for purposes of cleansing the village. The witch finder and his team went to Mwambeta II Village and charged eight people with witchcraft and ordered them to pay a cow and a goat or money amount to K118, 000.
The eight were also ordered to pay a goat each to the Village Headman so that the whole village should eat to celebrating the same. When the police were informed of the matter by CCJP Officer in Misuku, they followed the matter and managed to arrest three people and recovered seven cows from the herbalist Mr Waluza Musopole, who is at large.
Before passing his judgement, First Grade Magistrate Julius Kalambo applauded CCJP for assisting his office to hold a court circuit at Sokola Clinic in Misuku.
“Before I delivery my judgement, let me thank CCJP for providing financial support for the court to move from Chitipa and sit here to prosecute this case. This place is very far from Chitipa District court,” said Kalambo
“It would not have been easy for the state to transport 9 witnesses from Mwambeta II Village to Chitipa. This would have taken us months to conclude the case. It is imperative for courts to move and sit right away here so that the community is able to hear for themselves the language of the law with regard to witchcraft,” said Kalambo.
Delivering his judgement, Magistrate Kalambo said his duty is not to make laws but rather to interpret. Our duty is to ensure that conflicts are resolved within the framework of the law, without people taking the law into their own hands and committing crimes against suspected witches.
“The evidence before us is overwhelming that indeed the suspect acted outside the armpit of the law as such I convict them accordingly,” reads part of the judgement.
Malawi has a 1911 Witchcraft Act which was enacted on May 12, 1911 and premised on the belief that witchcraft allegations cannot be proven in a court of law. The Witchcraft Act forbids any trial by ordeal that involves poison, fire, boiling water, or any ordeal which is likely or directly to result in the death of or bodily injury to any person.
The Act also forbids accusing anyone of being a witch or practicing witchcraft, employing a witch finder to identify the perpetrators of any alleged crime or other acts complained of and representing oneself as a wizard or witch or as having or exercising the power of witchcraft
CCJP has since 2016 been supporting circuit courts by magistrate sittings in remote areas to speed up cases especially those involving women and children with support from Misereor- Germany.
The Education Desk of the Diocese of Karonga held a review and planning meeting of ‘The Promotion of English Speaking among Sunday School Children’ project on 15th June, 2018 at Bambo Zutu House to evaluate the progress made in the first year of implementation. The project targets early grade learners with the aim of improving their mastery of English language.
The meeting attracted the following key stakeholders in the implementation of the project; priests and catechetical methodology advisors (CMAs) from parishes taking part in the project namely St Michael’s, St Steven’s and St Joseph the Worker Cathedral. Other participants were the Caritas Secretary, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, Tuntufye FM Radio Director and the host, Education Desk Officer.
The discussion focused on lessons learnt in the first year of implementation in terms of what went on very well and what did not go well. Priests and Catechetical Methodology Advisors reported on the progress of the project in their areas and possible challenges.
Participants then reflected on possible models for implementing the interventions of the project and settled for an approach which does not overburden primary school teachers and Sunday school instructors by using the expertise of retired Catholic teachers to pass on English speaking skills to children in a more systematic and consistent way. These will directly report to the CMA’s.
In two groups, participants brainstormed on activities that would add value to the implementation of the project in the second year of implementation. Thus the second year will encourage activities such as capacity building of all stakeholders, competitions and exchange visits, classification of learners according to age, provision of teaching and learning materials among others.
English speaking project is a five year project, which is being implemented with support of the Coppel Family of Mexico who also support the Sunday School Project and Lusubilo Orphan Care.
The Education Desk of the Diocese of Karonga administered the 2018 Catholic National Examinations on the Saturday, 26th of May, 2018 in all its respective parishes. A total of 412 candidates sat for the examinations.
Two primary school teachers and one secondary teacher were deployed to administer the examinations as invigilator and supervisor respectively. The exercise went on well in all centres and answer sheets were collected and sent to the Education Desk office.
The exams were distributed to parishes on 24 May for all parishes in Karonga Deanery and on 25th for all parishes in Chitipa Deanery. For Karonga Deanery the exams were distributed by Philip Chisi and Solomon Manda whereas in Chitipa Deanery the exams were distributed by Thomas Chauzuka Nyondo and Solomon Manda. The distribution exercise was successful, no inconvenience was encountered. The examinations were under the custodian of the parish priests.
On the 2nd of June, 2018, the marking exercise commenced at St Mary’s Girls Primary School. Each parish sent two markers identified by Methodology Advisors in their respective parishes. By 9am the marking exercise was in progress. Despite the pressure on the markers, by 6pm the marking and entering of results had come to its completion.
The final standardized results will be announced in due course.
10th June, 2018 will go into annals of Juma Catholic Community and the Diocese of Karonga as a day of historic significance. In keeping with the Diocesan motto “We Shall Go to Them”, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Karonga, Monsignor Denis Chitete, celebrated first Mass at Juma on this day.
Juma Catholic community is one of the fruits of visiting un-evangelized areas that was done about two years ago (in 2016). The small Catholic community at Juma has continued to grow since its establishment during the first visit.
This encouraged the Pastoral Team of St Joseph the Worker Cathedral, headed by the Vicar General, who is also the Administrator of St Joseph the Worker Cathedral, to visit and celebrate first Mass at Juma.
Juma is located in the hilly forest that is to the south-east of Kayerekera Uranium Mine site. It is extremely difficult to reach the community by vehicle, since only special four-wheel drive vehicles can make it on the difficult terrain and undeveloped paths to Juma.
The Vicar General went to Juma accompanied by some Catholic Christians of Sere Kayuni Prayer Centre, to which Juma Catholic Community is attached as a small Christian community. Travelling to Juma was not all smooth as the 4×4 vehicle still got stuck in one of the running rivers that is full of sand. The rest of the journey, one hour walk, was done on foot using different shortcuts that cut through the hills and forest to Juma.
The Juma Community, led by their Group Village Headman, Mr Juma Kaira, warmly welcomed the Vicar General and all Christians that accompanied him. The Group Village Headman, though not a Catholic, assured the Vicar General that he was welcome to their community and shared with him the joys and sorrows of his community. Afterwards, the Vicar General and the traditional leaders, together with the community of Catholics and many non-Catholics celebrated Mass.
In his homily, the Vicar General cautioned the Christians of the cost of faithfully following Christ. He said that just as Christ their Master was called Beelzebul, they too will be called names but that should not weaken their stance on following the way of Christ. He also encouraged the Catholic community of Juma and Sere Kayuni to be more united, support each other, as they grow into strong prayer centres.
Juma Catholic Community still meets as a small Christian community and are closely accompanied with support from Sere Kayuni Prayer Centre that is about 10 kilometres away. They still do not have a proper Church building for their prayers. They have elected a simple grass thatched shelter for this purpose. They are a small Catholic community broken down as follows:
Not Receiving Communion
Sunday School Children
Acknowledging the need to support the Juma Catholic community to grow, the Vicar General gave some gifts, mostly catechetical materials, after the Eucharistic Celebration. He gave a Tumbuka bible, Tumbuka hymn book, catechisms and liturgical calendars. He also gave footballs, netballs and rosaries to Sunday school children of Juma.
The Vicar General has promised the Juma Catholic community another visit before the end of this year. His next visit will be preceded with several visits by officers in the Pastoral Commission and the Christians of Sere Kayuni Prayer Centre as a way of continued support and monitoring of the growth of this young Catholic community.
The Health Desk of Karonga Diocese has embarked on Phase II of TB Project entitled “Invest for Impact against TB/HIV”. The goal of this second phase of the project is, like the first phase, to reduce TB related morbidity and mortality.
Specifically, the project has 2 objectives namely to increase TB case notification to one hundred and ninety one per one hundred thousand general population of people and to increase treatment success rate of bacteriologically confirmed TB cases to 88%.
Activities in the project include supervision of health facilities, conducting health facility and district level review meetings and supporting health facilities with fuel to collect sputum in hard to reach areas. Karonga Diocese is implementing the project in Karonga and Chitipa districts. This project will run for 3 years (January, 2018 –December, 2020).
The project has 2 components namely; biological and non-biological. The biological component is carried out by the Ministry of Health, which includes training of health workers, procurement of TB equipment, testing of sputum and provision of treatment. On the other hand, the non- biological component deals with community involvement in case finding. This project is shifting from passive to active case finding paradigm where all stakeholders are combating the TB disease.
This project, which started in May, utilises structures already established in Phase I, specifically Ministry of Health (MoH) staff i.e. Health Surveillance Assistants (HSAs) working in communities and at facility level and trained TB community volunteers. Volunteers have been trained in conducting health education on TB, collection of sputum, carrying of sputum to health facilities and deliver results to suspects in the communities.
For suspects found positive, Volunteers support them in taking medication and counselling during the course of treatment. These Volunteers cover the whole Chitipa District and north and central Karonga District. 720 volunteers were trained during Phase I of the project.
The project is financed by Global Fund through Actionaid and National Secretariat of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi. This phase covers all the districts of Malawi, hence all eight Catholic dioceses are participating in the project. Coordination of the project is done by the Health Desk and District Health Office (DHO).
Early this week, the Health Desk started health facility level review meetings in the district of Karonga. The meetings took place at Iponga, Kaporo and Kasoba and involved volunteers and health workers. During the same week, Drama groups trained by The Story Workshop in the previous phase of the project started drama shows in selected communities.
Volunteers in the community having drama shows were informed to be present during drama performance. The project will help communities to easily access health services as far as TB is concerned.
The Managing Agency for Primary Justice Programme, Lilongwe Archdiocese, organized capacity building workshop for the Northern Region implementing partners from the 12th to 13th of June, 2018 at Illala Crest Lodge in Mzuzu.
According to Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace of Lilongwe Archdiocese, Mr Enock Kamundi said the training aimed at addressing the gaps identified in the due diligence assessment report which showed that District Implementing Agencies were not following the guidelines which were provided when implementing the project. He expressed optimism that will see the impact of the training be reflected in the next implementation quarter.
Among the partners which attended the workshop were Karonga Diocese Justice and Peace Desk, Mzuzu Diocese CCJP, Social Welfare Departments for the following district councils; Chitipa, Rumphi, Nkhatabay, and Anglican Diocese of Lake Malawi which is implementing the project in Likoma.
The Justice and Peace Desk of Karonga Diocese was represented by Monitoring and Evaluation Officer Mr Deodatus Muriya who also implements the Primary Justice Project in Karonga District.
The general impression of the participants was that the training was enlightening in various aspects such as reporting on value for money section in the report, effective project monitoring and effective awareness raising.
The Primary Justice Programme aims at reducing violence against women and children with financial assistance from Department for International Development (DFID). The project is being implemented countrywide.
St Mathias Parish, under the Diocese of Karonga, has trained seventy-six (76) Sunday school instructors for both Junior and Senior Sunday school in order to improve their teaching skills and quality of catechetical lessons.
Speaking during the training, Parish Priest for St Mathias Parish, Father Bernard Silungwe encouraged instructors to be dedicated in the work God has called them for.
“As instructors, you have been given the sacred responsibility to fulfil the purpose of Sunday school in our Parish. Let everyone learn their duty and perform the duties of the office they have been appointed to with all diligence.” Said Father Silungwe.
“You have been called by inspiration to lead. Because you are a representative of the Saviour, it is important to radiate the manner of His leadership in the way you lead Sunday school learners. Jesus’ leadership was not only correct but also constant. The church has invested a lot in your training. It becomes frustrating when people quit without even informing us,” he said.
The Parish Priest further said the solution to skin deep faith among parishioners is to invest much into Sunday school ministry.
“The Church has lost many young people as they entered college life simply because they were not given the opportunity to grow in a disciple-making journey during their childhood and teen years. They were not encouraged or given the chance to serve others and help others grow into the image of Christ. The only way to save this generation is to engage them in the disciple-making process, and accompany them in ministering within their communities,” Said Father Silungwe.
During the training, Methodology Adviser under St Mathias, Paul Sesa advised instructors to be cautious in handling their lessons, saying teaching Sunday school children is different from most teaching.
“How we engage and nurture our children on Sunday morning is vitally important. The space which we create for our children will shape how they experience and connect with faith as they grow,” said Paul Sesa.
“Children are active and curious, and so teaching them about God’s love needs to be done in a way that enables each one to understand and then live out the Christian values that we teach. As teachers, you need to be prepared. You must maintain adequate emphasis on both scripture and children involvement. You must set aims for lessons and plan your lessons to achieve those aims,” said Sesa.
Participants were drawn from the Parish’s two zones of Menge and Mughese, which have 8 and 14 substations respectively. In an interview, one participant Mathias Makondo Masebo from Mughese Zone expressed gratitude for having undergone the training. He pledged to be more committed in his role of teaching the children, leading their liturgy and record keeping for accurate data as well as monthly reporting.
The trainings were an initiative of the Pastoral Commission, under the Sunday School Project with support from the Coppel Family.