As one way of uplifting education standards in community day secondary schools (CDSSs) under the Diocese of Karonga, the diocese’s partners from Germany, through the Umoza na Malawi Project has donated 8 and seven desktop computers to St Annie’s and Ngala CDSSs, respectively.
Speaking during the handover ceremony, the Director of Umoza na Malawi, Madam Elisabeth Maasjost, says she is impressed by the students inspiration.
“It was nice to be here with them. I am very much impressed since they look much motivated and I believe they will make good use of these computers and they will succeed in their education.” Said Madam Maasjost.
She added that computers simplify things as most of them can be done by computers hence saving time and resources.
The partners promised to continue supporting the diocese in the education sector.
On his part, the Education Desk Officer for the Diocese of Karonga, Mr Remmie Kamanga says the aid will help to reduce the challenges the schools are facing.
According to him, the schools are having shortages of books and other learning resources which retard progress.
Mr Kamanga says the insufficient support from the government suppresses the effectiveness of the schools.
“These schools depend on the community for its operations since it receives very little support from the government,” said Mr Kamanga.
On the other hand, both head teachers of St Annie’s and Ngala CDSSs are appreciative of the partners through, Father Dr Steve Bulambo and the diocese for choosing their schools. They appeal for other well-wishers to come and appealing to all well-wishers to come into their aid.
The students of both schools enthusiastically thank for the donations and promise to use the computers effectively towards their education.
Not only shall the students use the computers efficiently but also take good care of them to avoid compromising the needs of the future generation.
The event was also attend by group village headmen led by the Principal Village Group Headman Mponera.
Poems, dialogues and Traditional dances performed by both students and villagers spiced up the ceremony.
Umoza na Malawi Project aims at supporting the needy students from Kasantha in their secondary and tertiary education. However, it also reaches out if opportunities arise.
Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka of the Diocese of Karonga, on 17th October, officially welcomed the congregation of Missionaries of St Francis de Sales to the Diocese of Karonga at the function which took place at St Mary’s Parish in Karonga.
During the same function, the Bishop welcomed the first three missionary priests of the congregation who are set to continue their missionary work at Livingstonia Parish (which has just been dedicated to the intercession of St Francis de Sales). The three are Fathers Joseph MSFS, Nelson MSFS and Anathargy MSFS, all from India.
The three were accompanied to Karonga by the Provincial Superior for South East India, Father Ignaci Muthu MSFS and the Provincial for Eastern Africa, Father Matthews MSFS. Speaking during the function, Father Matthews said they were very grateful for the opportunity to establish their mission in Karonga, Malawi.
“As a congregation, we are very much grateful for the invitation to come and serve the people of God in Malawi under the guidance and leadership of Bishop Martin Mtumbuka. We sincerely thank the Bishop for inviting us to serve in the diocese,” said Father Matthews.
In his remarks, Bishop Mtumbuka thanked the Missionaries of St Francis De Sales for responding positively to the invitation to serve in the diocese. Addressing the three priests, the Bishop said they now belong to the family of the Diocese of Karonga and that they are free to visit every part, and institution, of the diocese.
The Bishop urged all the Catholic faithful to support the news priests in every way possible so that they serve with ease. He further assured the delegates that accompanied the priests that, the safety and wellbeing of the three missionary priests if his priority.
The welcoming ceremony at St Mary’s Parish was graced by Christians from St Mary’s Parish, representatives from Livingstonia and a number of priest including the Vicar General Monsignor Denis Chitete, the Parish Priest for St Mary’s Parish Fr. Joseph Sikwese, Fr. Dziko from St Steven’s, Fr. Ngoma from St Anne’s, Fr Silwamba and Fr. Mwale.
Before the three priests begin their missionary work at St Francis De Sales Parish, they will be at St Mary’s Parish to learn and get familiarized with Tumbuka language, which is the ordinary language used during the Mass in the diocese. They will later be sent to various parishes to get accustomed with the people of Karonga.
A team of Missionaries of St Francis de Sales, led by Father Ignaci Muthu MSFC, visited Karonga Diocese early this year to assess the prospects of establishing a mission in Malawi. The former Provincial for Eastern Africa Province, Father Johnson Kallidukil MSFS, initiated contact with the Diocese of Karonga in 2012.
From 12 to 14 October, 2018, the Vicar General of the Diocese of Karonga, Monsignor Denis Chitete, made his pastoral visits to Wenya, Thumbo and Thelele zones of St Ignatius of Loyola Parish. The aim of the pastoral visits was to establish closer contact between the Bishop’s office and the people (both Catholics and non-Catholics) of the visited areas.
On Friday, 12th October, the Vicar General first visited Wenya Zone, where people from both Wenya and Chisenga areas congregated and celebrated Mass together. The following day, Saturday, the Vicar General visited Thumbo Zone, where people of Thumbo and Mwenje met him and had Mass together. On Sunday, 14th October, the Vicar General completed his visits by meeting Church leaders and celebrating Mass with the people of Thelele Zone where Catholics from Nthalire were also present.
Some of the successes shared among the Catholics in these areas were good progress of catechism lessons among children of 5-13 years of age called Junior Sunday School. It was also pleasing to see that more Small Christian Communities have gained more strength than before. This is due to several initiatives taken by the Pastoral Commission during this special, “Year of Our Small Christian Community”.
Some of the many challenges which the people of these areas also shared with the Vicar General include: poor leadership (at Zone, Local Pastoral Council and Small Christian Community levels); inadequate trained and committed instructors for all categories, especially for the youth and catechumens; long distances (up to 15 km) between some prayer centres and small Christian communities – posing a challenge to many forms of frequent gatherings among the faithful.
People from all the three visited places of Wenya, Thumbo and Thelele unanimously requested for faith formation and training of leaders including instructors of children, the youth and catechumens so that their churches do not constantly produce half-baked Christians and leaders.
The Vicar General said that the pastoral visits had helped him to have a better picture of how the Catholic faithful and people in the visited areas live their Christian vocation as seen from their shared their joys and sorrows, successes and challenges. The Diocese hopes to refine its strategies on how best to accompany the people of these areas on their journey of faith as well as their socio-economic needs.
During the visits, the Vicar General met both local Church leaders and traditional leaders. The Parish Priest of St Ignatius Parish, Father John Moyo and Curate, Father Matthews Simwela accompanied the Vicar General in all the three places visited. Also accompanying the Vicar General were some pastoral officers and an officer from the Diocesan Tuntufye Radio.
13 October, 2018 will go into the annals of the people of Tcharo, in the newly created Livingstonia Parish, when they welcomed Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka of the Diocese of Karonga in the area.
This was the first time for a Catholic Bishop to visit the area, since the coming of the Catholic Church in Malawi, on an evangelization mission to the area, which is yet to embrace Catholicism. The Bishop and his entourage had to endure three hours of sailing on Lake Malawi to reach the otherwise, until then, forgotten area “the periphery”. This is also because the area is hard to reach.
The Bishop’s visit to Tcharo is in line with the motto of the Diocese of Karonga, “We shall go to them” which reflects the missionary nature of the Church; a Church that “goes out”. Like the first missionaries, Bishop Mtumbuka and the Diocesan team received a cordial welcome and well taken care of by well-wishers; non-Catholics.
Upon arrival, he was welcomed by traditional leaders and Catholic Christians and people of goodwill of Tcharo. During the visit, the Bishop engaged with traditional leaders including Sub Traditional Authority Chapinduka, Area Development Committee members, Catholic Christians and other groups on developmental and spiritual issues affecting the area.
The tour reached its climax on Sunday when Bishop Martin Mtumbuka led the Christians in Solemn Eucharistic celebration, which was also attended by followers of other denominations like Church of Central African Presbyterian and Emmanuel Church.
In his homily, Bishop Mtumbuka reminded the gathering that all people are called to love and witness to Jesus.
“Jesus was incarnated to save us. He died on the cross out of love. It is this love that we must take to others as well,” said Bishop Mtumbuka.
“Those who have received the faith are obliged by the same faith to share it with others. There is no Christianity without love and service,” added the Bishop.
Taking his turn, Fr. Steven Bulambo, the Parish Moderator thanked the Bishop for the gesture of love and commitment to serving the people of Tcharo.
“My Lord Bishop, on behalf of Christians of Livingstonia Parish and all people of goodwill within this jurisdiction. I thank you very much that you counted it worthy to come here to pray with us and experience the spiritual, social and economic life that we experience here at Tcharo. It is evidently clear that you have walked the talk ‘we shall go to them’, the motto of this diocese,” Said Fr. Bulambo.
“We hope that in your pastoral plans you will consider to come to Tcharo again and many other places in our parish. It is always a joy to see you within the frontiers of this parish, which has just being newly established,” he added.
The Bishop made a number of commitments in response to the issues raised. He assured the people of Tcharo that they are dear to the diocese, just like all other Christians and people of goodwill in this diocese. The pastoral and socio-economic interventions that the diocese engages in must reach all frontiers of this diocese amidst various challenges that each parish has.
On the pastoral front, the Bishop assured the community of Tcharo that the diocese will build a church there on a plot that the community has given to the diocese. The diocese will also, in liaison with Lusubiro, put up a community based childcare center.
The Bishop has since appointed Mr. Mwale, a Catholic school teacher, to be the caretaker of Sunday school affairs. Mr. Mwale will work together with the Catechetical Methodology Advisor of Livingstonia Parish. The Bishop also indicated that the place needs a full time catechist. The Bishop further instructed the Pastoral Commission to consider introducing the Likuni Phala (a feeding program tailored by the Sunday school apostolate) program immediately.
Regarding interventions championed by the Caritas Commission, the Bishop said the diocese will do everything within its mandate and capacity to help the people of Tcharo. For Instance, he asked the Caritas Secretary, Mr Mwawi Shaba present at the meeting, to design a way of selecting the youth of Tcharo to Catholic schools although they are non-Catholics. The Bishop also declared that Tcharo area should be prioritized in this year’s food relief project being implemented by the Development Desk.
To effectively respond to developmental issues, the Bishop advised the Caritas Commission to find ways of deploying a fuul time Development officer to be based in Tchalo. Furthermore, the diocese will open a Vocational Skills Training Center to equip school leavers with skills in trades such as carpentry, brick laying, Tailoring and home economics.
Bishop Mtumbuka was accompanied by several officers from the Curia, to have a holistic perspective of the place. Some of them were: Mr. Mwai Shawa, Diocesan Caritas Secretary; Franklin Msiska, Desk Officer for Development and Livelihood; Vitumbiko Ngwira, Deputy Director of Lusubiro Orphan Care Organization; Ignatius Mvula the Catechetical Material Production Coordinator and staff from Tuntufye FM Radio Station, Matthews Moyo and Paul Malata.
The function was attended by many people including Sub-Traditional Authority Chapinduka and many local traditional leaders, the ward councilor for the area, Catechists of Mlowe Zone and other well-wishers. The month of October is Missionary Month in the Catholic Church.
Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka of the Diocese of Karonga has cautioned medical personnel in Chitipa and Karonga districts particularly those in health facilities that are under the Catholic Church to improve their services or they risk losing their jobs.
The Bishop made the call on Tuesday at Kaseye Community Hospital in Chitipa during the handover ceremony of ambulances to the hospital. The ambulances have been donated by Professor Thomas Han Gartner from CPPS Heritage Mission Fund of the Sisters of the Previous Blood Dayton Ohio in the United States of America.
“I am very disappointed in the hospital personnel who take hours to help the sick in a Christian hospital like this (referring to Kaseye Community Hospital). This is very bad and uncalled for,” the Bishop emphasized.
The Bishop further made it clear that he will be sending some officers, and even himself, to pretend as if they are common villagers dressed in tatters seeking for medical support from these hospitals just to see how they welcome the sick.
“I know most of you are paid by government, while others by us, but once you are found not attending to them in a good manner, you will be sent back to government. But if you were employed by us, we will send you parking,” stressed the Bishop.
He then urged community members and medical stuff to work in harmony to ensure that the vehicles are well taken care of and that they are used for their intended purposes.
On his part, Professor Thomas Han Garner, a retired medic concurred with the Bishop that indeed people in rural areas deserve good health services, like any other person, regardless of their status. Professor Gartner said through the Heritage Mission Fund, they realized the hardship that people in Chitipa are encountering to access medical services due to poor road networks and shortage of ambulances in rural hospitals hence the donation.
“I expect improvement in the health service delivery now as we have donated these vehicles. The land cruiser ambulance costs about US$30,000 and the motor bike ambulance costs about US$15,000,” he said.
The Director of Health and Social Services in the district, Dr Ted Bandawe commended the kind gesture showcased by the diocese and its partners for their continued support towards improving health services in Chitipa and Karonga.
He, however, said the ambulances donated are meant to help save lives hence community members should not be surprised to see the vehicle ferrying patients from other areas in the district where necessary though it has been donated to serve the people at Kaseye.
“We believe in saving lives, so in as far as we know that the ambulance has been donated to Kaseye community Hospital, it will also be used to save other patients within Chitipa District who may need referrals,” he stressed. He stressed this when responding to queries which some people raise when the ambulances given to their health centers serve the same purpose in other areas, where there is need.
The Diocese of Karonga sent 5 delegates to Zambia to attend the launch of the School of the Faith in Zambia. The School of the Faith offers a learning environment that connects the core message of Catholic faith with its significance for the whole of life. It has its international headquarters in Mexico and Nigeria is the headquarters for the African region. Its central aim is to give participants a chance to explore what it means to address contemporary issues through the lens of Catholic faith.
According to the African Coordinator of the School of the Faith, Father Robert Havens, we are living in a world full of incompatible and confusing social, cultural and political ideas that restrain Christians from practicing their esteemed Catholic faith.
“There is little coordination among the faith formators to check on and revamp the faith of both the Catechumen and Christians. As a result catechetical lessons, and its intended “faith building” that, learned in the church are not always practically consistent with the way people live their faith. An important way to strengthen their faith is therefore through consistent catechetical lessons for all at all the time,” said Father Havens.
The School of the Faith is intended to benefit both Catechumen and baptized Catholic Christians all through an open exchange of ideas, knowledge, coaching and sound doctrinal practices.
This trip to Zambia is one of the initiatives, of Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka of the Diocese of Karonga, aimed at fostering deep faith formation in the diocese. The participants were introduced to catechetical formation and teaching (pedagogical) skills, which they will in turn impart on catechetical instructors to improve the quality of faith formation and its effectiveness among the parishioners in the Diocese of Karonga.
The school will provide a rigorous catechetical curriculum to prepare Catholics in Karonga Diocese to live in the 21st Century world. The School of the Faith will also depend on the participation of parents, as first educators and primary instructors of the Catholic faith and small Christian communities.
Delegates to the meeting were drawn from all dioceses of Zambia, Karonga Diocese and Zimbabwe. The Diocese of Karonga was represented by Fr. Edward Kamanga (President), Ignatius Mvula (Academic Director) Phillip Chisi (Promotions Director), Wallace Nyirongo (Outreach Ministry Director) and Agnes Mbale (Administrator).
Heavenly Choir became bigger and louder on Saturday, 6 October, 2018 as it was joined by the earthly choir of scores of Christians from near and far when they gathered to thank God for the gift of a magnificent church building at St Mary’s Parish in Karonga.
Chief Shepherd of the Diocese of Karonga, Rt. Rev. Martin Anwel Mtumbuka, led the multitude in the inaugural Mass where he exhorted the Christians, as he has always done, to take care of the church building and give it its most deserving respect as a House of God.
“This church building, like all others, should never be used for any other gathering apart from worship. Even the kind of liturgical dancing in here should reflect the fact that it is the House of God. If you have any zeal of dancing to attract attention towards yourself, find another venue, not here,” said Bishop Mtumbuka.
Among other guests, who graced the occasion, were Fr. Adorable Castillo and Fr. Filincien Ntabue of the Congregation of the Immaculate Conception of Mary (CICM) from Italy, Christians from Njombe Diocese in Tanzania led by Fr. Haugastino Mbiche, Priests and Christians from Mzuzu Diocese, Marianist Brothers and Sister, Sisters of Anglican Church and representatives of Christians from all corners of Diocese of Karonga.
The Church building, which has taken over four years to be completed, has the capacity to take about 1200 people and over fifty million Kwacha has been spent on construction most of which came from Propanda Fide, Church in Need, Missio Aachen, Diocese of Des Moines in USA and Sisters of St. Peter Claver. The local Christians also contributed a lot to the project.
This new Church building replaces an old one, which was damaged by an earthquake in 2009. Since then, for 9 years, St. Mary Parish Centre Christians congregated in a structure that was initially a podium.
As the Justice and Peace Desk of the Diocese of Karonga, through the Malawi Electoral Cycle Support (MECS) Project, held a meeting with political party leaders, from Karonga South Constituency, to win their support towards women aspiring to contest in the 2019 Tripartite Elections.
The political party leaders at constituency level, have been encouraged to support women who are willing to contest under the banner of their respective political parties. The party leaders have been urged to create an enabling environment for women to compete favourably and win the political party primary elections (nominations).
The MECS project seeks to increase women representation in decision making positions against the background that women are underrepresented hence the need for support from their parties.
Political party leaders were targeted because they are gatekeepers and they can either pave the way or block it for women aspirants. Thus the leaders were urged not to support candidates, especially male, because of their economic or social status but rather support women candidates’ development agenda for the good of their constituents.
Through the MECS project, female aspirants who make it past the political party nomination phase will be supported to mount decisive campaign through capacity building. The project will train these women and give them the platform to sell their manifestos. The project will, however, not help political parties to campaign for their respective female candidates since it will work with all women irrespective of their party affiliation.
“The idea of supporting women for political positions, as promoted by the Justice and Peace Desk, is something worthy supporting. As political parties, we are ready to support our female politicians both within and outside our party, said Austin Kayuni Constituency Campaign Director for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Reacting to Kayuni’s sentiments, Selina Mwafulirwa, representing United Transformation Movement, said mostly political partied are male dominated. She felt that men have misconceptions that they can lead better than women. She therefore called for more support towards female candidate.
At the end of the meeting, political party leaders represented during the meeting made a commitment to support women to assume leadership positions at party level and beyond.
The MECS project is being implemented by the Justice and Peace Desk in partnership with UN Women.
Vulnerable households in rural areas, who mainly depend on agriculture, face many challenges including declining soil fertility, erratic rains and limited access to extension services. With limited access to credit and farm inputs, these vulnerable households struggle to support their families.
The involvement of Lusubilo community based programs, in the promotion of sustainable agriculture in Karonga and Chitipa districts, has had positive impact on its beneficiaries on multiple dimensions. For example, from economic perspective, improvements in technical efficiency has ensured the viability of farming as an economic activity.
In Kasikizi, a remote area of Karonga, Edna Chihana, who was once a Sustainable Options Recommended for Testing (SORT) beneficiary tells her story on how the project helped her household to achieve food and income security through farm inputs and better extension services.
Edna, who hails from Wiscot Village under Group Village Headman Mwenenguwe in Karonga District, was selected to benefit from the SORT project in 2014 due to her vulnerability status. Now 42, and a mother of five, Chihana admits that it was difficult for her to take care of her children as a single mother after being divorced by her husband and had no any future hope.
Supported by Lusubilo Community Based Programs with farm inputs such as fertilizer, improved maize and pigeon peas seed and extension services to grow maize and other crops on a land she farms for her household, Edna says her yields have been good and the income she earns has allowed her to do things for her children.
Edna said that she received a 50kg bag of top dressing fertilizer, 50kg bag of basal dressing fertilizer, 10kg packet of maize seed and 5kg packet of pigeon peas. With the these farm inputs and better extension services from Lusubilo staff, her maize crop yield increased from 200kg per acre to 3500kg per acre.
She continued with pigeon pea production which, according to her, is her main source of income besides making her farm fertile. The profit she makes from selling pigeon peas has helped her to acquire livestock and other assets which significantly reduced her vulnerability.
Lusubilo introduced SILC in Kasikizi to allow people save their money and also have access to credit/ loans. According to Edna, SILC has helped a lot of people in the including herself. She said people in her community are now able to start small businesses because they have easy access to loans. Through the businesses, people have been able to acquire assets which have enhanced their resilience to natural shocks.
“I am also a member of village savings and loans group and have borrowed money to generate extra income through small scale businesses. I buy rice that I sell at a higher price in the village. Today, I have hens and other poultry”.
“I thank people at Lusubilo whose mentorship and support has significantly contributed to my well-being.”