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Archives July 2018

Chipunga Board Members in farm inspection tour
Chipunga Board Members in Farm Inspection Tour

By Stephano Nkhata

During the January 2018 meeting, Chipunga Farm Limited Board resolved to immediately start the farm operations. To this effect, a Farm Manager was sent to the farm and several farm labourers were recruited.

Seven months after the meeting, the Board Chairperson Mr Ben Longwe in the company of Mrs Kufasi Chawinga and the Board Secretary, Stephano Nkhata made an inspection tour to follow up on the activities that are currently being done on the farm.

Chipunga Board Members in farm inspection tour
Chipunga Board Members in farm inspection tour

During the tour, the board members inspected the following activities: timber making where close to 3500 planks have been produced, half of which has already been sold. Further, about 20 hectares of land has been cleared in preparation for the next coffee growing season. Stumping off of trees is still going and only 5 hectares remain. Mendling and trenching are also underway. At the time of the visit, 8 hectares of land is ready for the growing of coffee in December.

Coffee nursery at Chipunga Farm Limited
Coffee nursery at Chipunga Farm Limited

Nursery management is also in progress and so far 32,400 seedlings have been transplanted into tubes and other 48,000 have been directly sown into tubes.

In their remarks, the board members said there is substantial progress at the farm as they are now able to see that something is happening on the ground. The Board Chair was grateful for the commitment of the personnel working on the ground. Their general impression is that there is good progress at the farm.

The members recommended the expansion of income generating activities, especially horticultural produce.

Participants to the stakeholders planning meeting
Justice and Peace Desk Holds Planning Meeting with National Level Partners

By Deodatus Muriya (HoD M&E)

The Justice and Peace Desk of Karonga Diocese held a stakeholders’ planning meeting with its health governance project implementing partners at national level in Salima District on 25th July, 2018.

Participants to the stakeholders planning meeting
Participants to the stakeholders planning meeting

The Justice and Peace Desk called for this meeting to familiarize key implementation partners on the design and operational modalities of the health governance project. The third phase of the Promotion of High Quality, Accountable and Responsive Public Health Services Project links the local health and governance issues to national level advocacy.

According to the Justice and Peace Desk Officer Louis Nkhata, the Desk partnered with Malawi Health Equity Network and the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace National Office to take lead in organizing and implementing national level advocacy and engagement to influence policy change.

According to Nkhata, these national level organisations are supposed to be facilitating engagement meetings with players at national level. These include Ministry of Information, Ministry of Health, Human rights Commission and Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA Malawi) to influence the speedy gazetting and implementation of Access to Information (ATI) Act by highlighting health sector transparency concerns.

The Justice and Peace Desk of Karonga is the key implementing agency of the project responsible for coordinating and implementing all the project activities.

The meeting, which took place at Gannat Executive Lodge, was attended by CCJP National Coordinator Boniface Chibwana; Director of Social Development at the Catholic Secretariat Casterns Mulume; MHEN Executive Director George Jobe. A team from Karonga Diocese which comprised of Justice and Peace and Health Desk officers and Monitoring and Evaluation Officer.

According to Casterns Mulumbe, the meeting achieved its intended purpose as at the end of it partners had a deep understanding of the project and produced a detailed implementation plan for the coming quarter.

The health governance project is funded by Open Society Initiatives for Southern Africa (OSISA). The goal of the project is to promote transparency, accountability and responsiveness in health service delivery.

Imposition of hands: Part of the Ordination Rite
Bishop Mtumbuka Ordains Deacon Kamanga to Priesthood as Father Mwale Celebrates 25 Years in Priesthood

By Brian Kachitete and Innocent Nazombe

There was a double celebration at St Joseph the Worker Cathedral on Saturday, 28th July when Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka of led priests and faithful of Karonga in celebrating God’s gift of ministerial priesthood.

Imposition of hands: Part of the Ordination Rite
Imposition of hands: Part of the Ordination Rite

During the Eucharistic celebration which took place at St Joseph the Worker Cathedral in Karonga District, Bishop Mtumbuka ordained Deacon Edward Kamanga to priesthood and Father Joachim Mwale celebrated 25 years in priesthood.

In his homily, which focused on the centrality of the Eucharist in the life of a priest in particular and the faithful in general, the Bishop urged the newly ordained priest to be a humble and obedient of the Lord after the heart of Jesus.

Father Joachim Mwale Renews His Commitment to Service
Father Joachim Mwale Renews His Commitment to Service

The Bishop emphasised that priestly vocation is a call to holiness. He further said that much as priests lead in economic and development work, their ultimate call is a call to lead the people entrusted to their care to meet the Lord. The Bishop observed that Christians look for nothing other than holiness from their priests.

While stressing that the Sacrament of Holy Orders (ministerial priesthood) is necessary for the celebration of the Eucharist, the Bishop said the priest is not its centre. He urged priests to realise in humility that they work in the name of Jesus.

During the same Mass, Father Joachim Mwale renewed him commitment to continue serving the Lord and the Church as a priest. Father Mwale is currently the Vocations Director of the Diocese of Karonga, Curate at St Mary’s Parish and a member of the College of Consultors.

The Bishop thanked Father Mwale for serving God’s people with dedication and humility. The Bishop singled out Father Mwale’s humility and simplicity as worthy commending and emulating.

In his speech before the final blessing, the Bishop exhorted the faithful to guard their faith jealously.

“Do not let anyone take you away from Christ. You will hear many things about your faith, about your Church, that are negative, don’t listen to this. Be strong in your faith. Enemies of your Church, are enemies of your faith. Enemies of your faith are enemies of your salvation. Enemies of your salvation are forces of the devil.” The Bishop said.

The ceremony was attended by people from all walks of life ranging from priests, religious sisters and brothers, and faithful from across the Diocese and beyond. Notable were priests and religious from the Diocese of Njombe, Fathers Singini and Sakala from Zambia, Former Vice President of Malawi, Khumbo Kachali, and the District Commissioner of Karonga District, Richard Hara.

Father Edward Kamanga comes from Katete Parish in Mzimba District. He did his priestly studies at St Augustine’s Peramiho Major Seminary in Tanzania. He has since been appointed Curate of St Michael’s Parish in Chitipa.

Participants during the review meeting
The Pastoral Commission Conducts a Review Meeting on Small Christian Communities

By Benjamin Msowoya

On 16th July 2018, the Pastoral Commission of the Diocese of Karonga conducted a review meeting on the initiatives, taken by the Diocese, towards strengthening Small Christian Communities.

Participants during the review meeting
Participants during the review meeting

The meeting took place at St Kizito Conference Centre of St Michael’s Parish in Chitipa.  The meeting, which was led by the Pastoral Secretary Fr. Joseph Sikwese and the Diocesan Monitoring and Evaluation Officer Mr. Deodatus Muriya, attracted all priests, Catechetical Methodology Advisors and members of staff working with the Pastoral Commission at Curia Offices.

This year’s diocesan liturgical theme is “Year of Our Small Christian Community”. Catholics in the Diocese are this year reflecting on the significance of Small Christian Community (SCC); and taking action to strengthen SCCs and encourage meaningful participation in their SCC.

According to the evidence from the participants, some of the visible fruits of the initiatives taken so far are: increased number of active SCCs; increased numbers of people attending SCC gatherings; more knowledge on a variety of ways in conducting SCC meetings and quality of SCC discussions.

However, the review meeting revealed some challenges such as low attendance of men during SCC meetings, some faithful still do not respect the geographic boundaries of their SCC. It was further noted that some still consider SCC more as fundraising gatherings rather than gatherings centred on the sharing of the Word of God or spiritual nourishment.

Members resolved, among other initiatives, to continue with faith formation to all the faithful in the Diocese on proper understanding and conduct of SCC.

This was a second review meeting since the Diocese started special initiatives on strengthening SCCs in this “Year of Our Small Christian Community”.

Mr Louis NKhata addressing Chitipa DEC Members
Chitipa DEC Commends Justice and Peace CALGA Project

By Vincent Bwinga

The District Executive Committee (DEC) for Chitipa has approved the Citizen Action for Local Government Accountability (CALGA) project of the Justice and Peace Desk, as a worthwhile project, to be implemented in the district.

The Justice and Peace facilitated the DEC meeting to brief the members on the Desk’s new, Danish Church Aid funded, three-year local governance accountability project and seek their technical appraisal.

Mr Louis NKhata addressing Chitipa DEC Members
Mr Louis NKhata addressing Chitipa DEC Members

The project aims at promoting transparency and accountability in the management of local government resources in selected district councils of Malawi. This project is premised by issues of ineffective systems to safeguard locally generated revenues; mismanagement and abuse of development resources; and politicization of development resources such as Constituency Development Fund (CDF), Local Development Focus (LDF), District Development Fund (DDF) and local revenues.

The Desk Officer for Justice and Peace Desk Mr Louis NKhata assured DEC members that the project seeks to build communities’ capacity, through Community Action Groups (CAGs), to track allocation and utilization of development resources. This dispelled fears that the project is meant to witch hunt members of the local assembly.

The Desk officer stressed that there is limited action by the community members to monitor reports and hold duty bearers accountable in the allocation and utilization of local development resources.

“There is also limited access to information on local development resources and poor coordination and organization of citizens to collectively engage duty bearers due to limited knowledge and capacity at community level,” said Nkhata.

Appraising the project, DEC members advised the Justice and Peace Desk to conduct interviews in identification of Community Action Group (CAG) and Community Journalists (CJs) so that the project identifies right people to achieve the project’s goal.

DEC members also advised the Justice and Peace Desk on the need for gender consideration in the identification  of volunteers. Further, they also felt the need for local governance structures such as Area Development Committees and Village Development Committees and also build capacity of councilors on how they can create other avenues of collecting local resources.

Chairperson for Chitipa Civil Societies Organizations (CSOs) Sydney Simwaka,  stressed that despite limited capacity of some councillors in understanding budgets, district councils rarely grant access to itemized budgets, as well as information on the allocation and utilization of development.

The Justice and Peace will be implement in six traditional authorities of Kameme, Mwenemisuku and Mwaulambia in Chitipa District and Wasambo, Kyungu and Kilupula in Karonga District.

Moses Mwakisalu making a presentation
Justice and Peace Desk Drills Methodology Advisors on Elections

By Wezi Mwangonde

The Justice and Peace Desk of the Diocese of Karonga has called on journalists to exercise professionalism in their reporting on elections in the run up to the 2019 Tripartite Elections.

Addressing Catechetical Methodology Advisors (CMAs), from all parishes under the Diocese of Karonga during a meeting at St Mary’s Parish in Karonga District, the Desk Officer for Justice and Peace Mr Louis Nkhata said journalists have a crucial role to play to prepare the general public for free, fair and transparent 2019 elections.

Moses Mwakisalu making a presentation
Moses Mwakisalu making a presentation

Nkhata further urged CMAs to take a leading role in raising awareness on elections and electoral processes to people under their care and also promote violent free campaign among followers of rival candidates.

“We believe in collaboration with different departments in the diocese as well as the media to achieve the objectives of the project therefore. It is sad that some contestants are little known in their areas because journalists, media, sometimes, favour the rich and powerful,” Nkhata explained.

Concurring with Nkhata, CMA for St Ignatius of Loyola Parish in Nthalire (Chitipa) Lino Nyirenda said they disseminate information on elections to prepare people to make informed choices come next year.

Nyirenda highlighted that the meeting has been an eye opener to all Methodology Advisors.

“We will make sure the people are aware of the objectives of this project in collaboration with CCJP structures which are already helping in the implementation of other projects,” said Nyirenda.

The Justice and Peace Desk is implementing Free, Fair and Transparent 2019 Tripartite Elections in all areas under the Diocese of Karonga with financial support from the Diocese of Munster in Germany.

Grateful for the support: Magistrate Kalambo
Justice and Peace Desk Support Court Circuits to Rural Areas

By Leah Nyondo

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.

Touching lives: Bishop Mtumbuka interacts with beneficiaries of SORT project
Bishop Mtumbuka Commends Lusubilo’s Efforts to Transform Lives

By Wezi Mwangonde

Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka of the Catholic Diocese of Karonga has commended the work being carried out by Lusubilo Orphan Care Organisation in Karonga and Chitipa districts.

The Bishop said this during his visit to some of the sites where Lusubilo Orphan Care Organisation is implementing projects. Lusubilo is implementing Orphan and Vulnerable Children project where young people are equipped with vocational skills such as carpentry and joinery to lead independent lives.

Touching lives: Bishop Mtumbuka interacts with beneficiaries of SORT project
Touching lives: Bishop Mtumbuka interacts with beneficiaries of SORT project

As one way of economically empowering communities Lusubilo is also implementing Sustainable Options Recommended for Testing (SORT), which gives farm inputs to farmers to engage in irrigation farming. Lusubilo also trains women in hand sewing (dress making) and bakery.

In his remarks, Right Reverend Martin Anwel Mtumbuka said he appreciates he appreciates the help being given to the needy and orphans by this organization. He further described Lusubilo as a relevant institution with the positive impact it has on the community it is serving because it responds to their problems.

Bishop Mtumbuka interacts with children under the Lusubilo Orphan Care
Bishop Mtumbuka interacts with children under the Lusubilo Orphan Care

He further observed that through Lusubilo, the Diocese of Karonga lives Matthew 25: 35: “for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave drink, I was a stranger you welcomed me.”

“Am very happy with the work being carried out by Lusubilo Orphan Care as well as the collaboration between the staff and community members including the traditional leaders,” said Bishop Mtumbuka.

In an interview, the Director for Lusubilo Orphan Care Sister Beatrice Chipeta urged the beneficiaries of these projects to show ownership of the resources such as farm inputs which include maize seeds and fertilizer so as to sustain the objectives of the projects.

Sister Beatrice said despite the organization facing financial challenges, it is doing its best to meet people’s needs.

“This visit will help the Bishop to witness what our organisation is implementing on the ground,” explained Sister Beatrice.

Lusubilo Orphan Care Organisation is an institution under the Diocese of Karonga founded in 1997 by Sister Beatrice Chipeta. The organization is implementing these projects with the financial support from the Coppel Family in Mexico.

One of the graduating students
Miracle Technical Institute Holds 17th Graduation Ceremony

By Maureen Soko

The 105 graduating students from Miracle Technical Institute in Karonga District have been advised to utilize the skills they have gained in order to make a difference.

The board chairperson for Miracle Technical Institute Father Mike Jun made the call on Thursday at the 17th graduation ceremony.

Director of Miracle Technical Institute, Bro Pacharo Mfune, captured during the ceremony
Director of Miracle Technical Institute, Bro Pacharo Mfune, captured during the ceremony

Father Jun said acquisition of the certificate alone is not the end of road but the impact they will make.

Father Jun advised the graduating students to be resilient when they face challenges, to be creative and be of high integrity since they are coming from an institution which emphasizes Christian values.

Furthermore, he advised the graduates not to wait for someone to help them but start using entrepreneurial skills they have acquired to develop their own businesses.

Mr Richard Hara (R) receives a token of appreciation from Bro Mfune
Mr Richard Hara (R) receives a token of appreciation from Bro Mfune

Concurring with Father Jun, District Commissioner of Karonga Mr. Richard Hara, who was the guest of honour at the function, said the students should consider going into entrepreneurship.

“We are advising you to consider going into entrepreneurship so that you can help in creating jobs for the jobless. We want you to demonstrate the skills you have acquired in your companies,” said Hara

Most of the trades you have trained in do not require intensive capital. What is needed is to change mindset. You need to change the mentality that when you have finished school you have to be employed,” added Hara.

Richard Hara also hailed the school’s initiative in training the youth in vocational skills, saying it is in line with government’s development plans that seek to equip the youth with various skills to develop the country.

In his remarks, the Director of Miracle Technical Institute, Bro Pacharo Mfune hailed the cordial relationship which exists between the college and TEVETA which dates back to 2005, when the institute was accredited.

Miracle Technical Institute Choir
Miracle Technical Institute Choir

Out of the 105 graduates, 51 have attained qualifications in technical courses while 54 underwent training in commercial courses.


Caritas Board Members Undergo Refresher Training in Corporate Governance
Caritas Board Members during the training

By Mwawi Shaba

Members of the Caritas Commission Board of the Diocese of Karonga have undergone a refresher training to enhance their performance. The Caritas Commission Board is the governance and policy organ that guide the activities of all the 4 desks in the Caritas Commission namely; Justice and Peace, Education, Development and Health. The Board is composed of 5 voting members, 3 ex-officio members and a secretary of the Board who heads the management of Caritas Commission.

The training was organised in order to remind the board members of their corporate governance, policy making and monitoring responsibilities. The training also involve and field learning visit in which board members interacted with field staff and beneficiaries of the activities by Caritas Commission Desks. In particular, the members visited Chinunkha where they interacted with staff, stakeholders and beneficiaries of the women and children rights project. They also visited Kaseye Community Hospital where they interacted with management and staff as well as touring the facility.

The training was conducted at St. Kizito Conference Centre in Chitipa Boma and took 3 full days, from 3rd to 5th July, 2018. The training was facilitated by a consultant who is an expert in the areas of corporate governance and board functionality.  The training has therefore reminded board members of their role and gave them new impetus regarding the duty they have to perform to make Caritas Commission an active and accountable player in development work. The chairperson of the Board; Fr Dr Mark Mkandawire describe the training as timely and that it has reminded them of their core mandate and has given them the opportunity to reflect on how they have been delivering on their core roles. ‘For sure we expect a more improved performance from our side and that there will be an enhanced linkage with management’ said Fr Dr Mkandawire.

The training has been financed by Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) as part of a project under the Justice and Peace Desk called Promotion of High Quality, Accountable and Responsive Public Health Services