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Archives November 2019

The catechist stressing on data collection strategy
Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish Holds Sunday School Review Conference

By Paul Mwandira

The office of the Catechetical Methodology Advisor of Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish organized 2019 Sunday school evaluation conference. The meeting was organized with the support from the Sunday School Desk which is implanting the Sunday School Project with financial support from the Coppel Family.

The conference attracted 41 Sunday school instructors from three outstations under the parish and was held under the theme, “Starting 2020 with new ideas”. The conference aimed at improving delivery standards of instructors in the parish.

Instructors after receiving gifts
Instructors after receiving gifts

Opening the conference, Father Lorent Dziko of the Parish urges Sunday school instructors to grasp the fully attend to what the facilitators were to deliver in order to grasp the content properly.

“It is a privilege for us here at Immaculate Heart of Mary to have this meeting. Our aim is not to pass time or just to fulfil an obligation for formality’s sake. We have to keep in mind that the goal of this, our ministry, is to see the face of God at the end of this life,” said Father Dziko.

The conference brought together facilitators with expertise in different fields to help instructors improve their delivery methods and also content to deliver. Among the facilitators were Rev, Fr Lorent Dziko, Methodology Advisor Paul Mwandira, Mr Mbale from Lusubilo, and the local catechist Mr Elias Kalagho.

During the gathering, instructors went away with prizes for being more dedicated in the year 2019. A total of 38 instructors were give solar radios and solar bulbs. 7 prayer centres were selected to be outstanding and went away with assorted gifts.

Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish was raised to be Sub-Parish on 01st January, 2019 and was elevated to parish status on 11th October, 2019 by Right Rev Martin Anwel Mtumbuka, Bishop of the Diocese of Karonga. Currently, the parish has 72 instructors for both junior and senior Sunday school. Fathers of the Congregation of Immaculate Conception of Mary, who visited the Diocese recently, are expected to open a mission station at the parish in the year 2020.

Bishop Mtumbuka with CICM fathers and Christians
Congregation of Immaculate Conception of Mary Fathers Visit Karonga Diocese

By Chimwemwe Chisi

The Diocese of Karonga recently received members of the Congregation of Immaculate Conception of Mary (CICM) led by their Superior General, the Very Reverend Father Charles Phukuta, who came on a familiarisation tour of the Diocese.

The congregation is set to open a mission in the Diocese of Karonga in 2020, and will open Immaculate Heart of Mary (Chisankhwa) Parish and will also be responsible for the establishment and running of the spirituality centre of the Diocese.

Their weeklong visit is of great importance to the Diocese as it is one way of strengthening the relationship between the priests of the congregation and the Diocese of Karonga. During their visit, the CICM Fathers visited several places in the Diocese of Karonga as one way of learning and getting to know the environment and the people prior to their stay in the Diocese next year.

The CICM Fathers were met welcomed in the Diocese of Karonga, by Right Reverend Martin Anwel Mtumbuka, on the 6th of November and went straight to their first leg of their tour of the Diocese. The visitors were taken to Wovwe, then to Matinkhula in Nyungwe where there is a proposed site for a new parish, where they also interacted with Christians. Lastly, they visited Ngala at the proposed site for a pastoral centre where they were received with warm welcome full of joy and songs.

CICM were given some presents which symbolised the culture and economic activities taking place in the area such as weaver’s baskets, and tomatoes.

In his speech, one of the fathers, Rev Aubrey Sumbukeni said he was overwhelmed with the warm welcome from the people and was looking forward to working with the people in proclaiming the Word of God. He further urged Christians to pray for one another so as to bear fruits in proclaiming the gospel.

The Bishop of the Diocese of Karonga Right Reverend Martin Anwel Mtumbuka, expressed his gratitude towards the visitors since their visit is not an ordinary one rather enriching to the diocese since it is all about to share experience and knowledge.

The Very Rev. Fr Charles Phukuta the Superior General of CICM has led his confreres in this journey.

Vincent Bwinga of Justice and Peace Desk giving welcoming remarks
Ulambiya-Kaseye ADC Meeting Expectations of ECM and DCA

By Lestina Sanga

The Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) and Danish Church Aid (DCA) are impressed with the Community Action Groups (CAGs), Community Journalists (CJs) and Area Development Committee (ADC) of Ulambiya-Kaseye ADC.

This transpired during the recent monitoring visit, conducted by DCA and ECM, to some of the project sites for the DCA funded Citizen Action in Local Governance Accountability (CALGA) project. The Justice and Peace Desk of the Diocese of Karonga is implementing the project in Karonga and Chitipa districts.

Ulambiya-Kaseye ADC has been hailed as a perfect example for all the ADCs is all the districts where CALGA project is being implemented. George Usiwa, Governance Programme Manager for Justice and Peace National Office, stated that members of this ADC should be taken to national level to showcase their success.

The Ulambia-Kaseye team outlined all efforts they have collectively done in order to enhance transparency and accountability in the allocation and utilization of local development financial resources.

Speaking during the event, Chairperson for CAGs thanked the Justice and Peace Desk for imparting knowledge and empowering communities to be holding their leaders accountable.

The unwillingness of council officials to address community demands is prevalent as such, the CJs from this ADC write stories and coordinate with the professional journalists on crucial and problematic issues of social accountability.

This attracts attention of stakeholders on the problem at national level. The CAGs in collaboration with the ADC have engagement meetings with councilors on the allocation and utilization of District Development Fund (DDF) and MPs on Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

In the spirit of ‘nothing for us without us’ some development projects have been put to a halt by communities demanding inclusion or participation in the allocation and utilization of resources.

Several times the ADC, in collaboration with the CAGs and CJs, drafted petitions to the council several times and when there is no response, petitions are channeled to the ministry. Funds being Tracked at Ulambia-Kaseye, are DDF, Local Development Fund (LDF), Community Managed Social Economic Development Fund (COMSEF), CDF and Malata Cement Subsidy Programe. This is not the case in most areas where the main focus is on DDF and CDF.

In general, the DCA and ECM has been impressed with the coordination among CAGs, ADCs and CJs in Chitipa and Karonga where the project is being implemented by the Justice and Peace Desk of the Diocese of Karonga. The coordination lead to good performance and it is good for sustainability of the project.

Mwamphashi during one of his test ride trips
Farmers in Chitipa Hail Collective Marketing Introduced by Karonga Diocese

By Saloom Longwe

Ownex Mwamphashi aged 38, living with a family of 7 members including his wife and 5 children, hails from Mugalure Village, T/A Mwabulambia in Chitipa district.

Mwamphashi is one among several farmers enjoying the fruits of joining Farmer’s Club which later turn to operate in Collective Marketing with many other farmer clubs.     

In September 2019, Karonga Diocese through its Development Desk initiated collective marketing which aimed at bringing farmers together for collective bargaining power when buying agricultural inputs and selling agricultural produce.

In October 2019, Mwamphashi managed to buy a motorbike from the proceeds of crop sales. With the aid of collective marketing, he sold about 2,800 kilograms of surplus maize at a price of MK270 per kilogram against a prevailing market price of which is below MK200 per kilogram. The total revenue he realized was MK756,000 to which he added some money raised from livestock sales to get MK800,000, which was the cost price of the motorbike.

Mwamphashi is now living a happily life having acquired a means of transport which will ease mobility as he is comes from a typical remote area where transport is one of their major challenges.

The family of Mwamphashi applauds to the initiative by the Karonga Diocese saying, “It has come to empower the community economically” unlike in the past when they could carry their produce to a bordering country Tanzania with no say on the price offered by traders.       

Collective marketing has proved its goodness to farmers in T/A Mwabulambia who for the past years have suffered a lot when accessing agro-markets such that their only choice was Isongole in Tanzania.

Many farmers have been victimized with tricky traders where most available markets are marred with intermediate traders who offer below standard agricultural inputs and low prices for farm produce.

With support from MISEREOR the Diocese of Karonga through its Development Desk is implementing a 3 year Integrated Rural Development Project in Karonga and Chitipa districts. Improving household economic level is one of the operational objectives, of which Farmers Collective Markets is a leading indicator. The project is targeting a population of 2,400 households in 4 traditional areas of Kyungu in Karonga, Mwenemisuku, Mwabulambia, and Mwenewenya in Chitipa.

Moses Nyondo captured at one of the construction sites
Community Based Vocational Skills Project Begins to Bear Fruits Among Trainees: The Case of Moses Nyondo of Chakwela Village T/A Kilupula in Karonga.

By Elijah Banda

Moses Nyondo is a third born son in the family of Mr & Mrs Clifton Nyondo of Chakwela Village T/A Kilupula in Karonga District. He has 5 siblings, all ladies. His father died in 2013, when he was only 18 years old.

His mother, now 45, depends on cultivation of cassava and rice as a source of income to support the family. However, with dwindling production, due to climate change effects such as flooding and dry spells, she has not been able to produce enough to raise enough money for the household to adequately meet the needs of her children including school requirements.

When asked during the monitoring exercise for the vocation skills project under Karonga Diocese’s Education Desk, for which Moses Nyondo is a beneficiary of Brick laying, he had this to say.

“I was forced to drop out of school because my mum could not afford to support us in school. At the same time, she needed support in the garden for us to produce enough food for the family.”

“Being the eldest child in a 7-member family, I took up the responsibility of my father. His responsibility was big on my shoulders and it often required me to be active hence I was with mum in the garden and searching for piece works in other people’s fields to supplement our income,” said Moses.

Moses, with a sad face told the monitoring team that despite all his efforts to see that his siblings have enough food and basic needs at home, the family was still experiencing food shortages. He calculated that their average monthly income through agricultural piece works was not more than MK 15,000 per month.

The story of Moses Nyondo started giving hope when he narrated that in March 2019, he was informed by the Village head that Karonga Diocese through the Education Desk would institute a community based vocational skills programme in the area targeting school dropouts, widows, orphaned kids and child headed families. He did not hesitate but immediately wrote an application letter to be enrolled for brick laying and he was picked and finished his training in July 2019.

Soon after training, Moses and his 3 other friends from brick laying trade formed a group and started looking for piece works in construction in the area and their efforts were not in vain.

“We formed a group of 3 and we work together on construction projects within the community. We have been given contracts to build houses, churches, tombstones, house repair works, house flooring and plastering. Every month, each member of the team gets an average of MK 45,000,” said Moses.  

The family of Moses has a happy story now as they supplement the MK15,000 they were getting from agriculture with MK45,000 from brick laying skills acquired through the project.

According to Moses, the family is now able to provide school requirements for his sisters and food in the house. He aims to go further with his brick laying skills by enrolling with Miracle Technical Institute in the years to come and later establish a construction company.

Moses thanked Karonga Diocese for the project which he described as transformational but asked the project team to further lobby for startup tools for the trainees as many struggle to pick themselves up from the ground based on their family background.

Abigail on the Path to Economic Independence: Thanks to Vocational Skills Programme

By Saloom Longwe*

Unemployment rate among graduates from formal and informal colleges is on the rise in the country. This is compounded by the tendency of most graduates is to sit on the knowledge and skills acquired and wait for the day when they will be hired.

Abigail Siyeni, a graduate from the vocational skills training programme of the Development Desk of the Diocese of Karonga defies all odds to rise above the common practice and employ herself. From her story, it is clear that she is on the path to greatness, with or without a further push.

Twenty-year-old Abigail, who hails from T/A Mwaulambia in Chitipa District, enrolled for a course in Tailoring and Designing at Nkhangwa Youth Vocational Training Centre established by the Diocese of Karonga.

She underwent a four-month long course where, together with her friends, she acquired basic tailoring skills such as fashion designing, sketching, measuring, cloth cutting and joining.

During training, the commitment of Abigail could not be missed as she could be seen sewing school uniforms, skirts and blouses, shorts and shirts, trousers, men’s and ladies’ suits and many more fashions. Most of the times, she could bring old clothes that required mending out of which she gained experience and competence.

After completing her training, Abigail negotiated with a community member to lend her a sewing machine. She was given after agreeing a monthly rental fee. She identified a place within her village and opened a tailoring shop at Kafora Trading Center where she plies her trade.

Through her dedication to duty and mastery of the art of sewing and designing, Abigail has gained a number of loyal customers who are never disappointed in what she produces for them.

Through her hard work and tailoring skills, and customer satisfaction, Abigail realizes good returns. Apart from waiting for people to bring their cloth or clothes, she also buys clothing materials out of which she produces new fashionable garments for sale.

In a good week, she buys clothing materials worth MK10,000. She produces new garments and realizes a profit of more than MK20,000 after selling. Abigail produces school uniforms which she sells at MK2,000 (blouse and skirt/ short and shirt), Safari shirts at MK3,000 and national wear at MK5,000 and ladies suits at MK8,000. 

Having laid her business foundation, Abigail still aims high. She is looking for possible opportunities to grow her business and own a big tailoring shop in one of the towns in the country.

With financial support from MISEREOR, Karonga Diocese through its Development Desk is implementing a three-year Integrated Rural Development Project in Karonga and Chitipa districts targeting 2,400 households.One 0f its objectives is to train 165youthin Vocational skills by July 2020.

*Saloom Longwe is Field Officer under the Development Desk based in Chitipa District

Communities in Chisankhwa Take Initiative to Construct Colbelt Pit Latrines for the Elderly

By Leah Nyondo

Communities of James and Ngulumbi villages in Chisankhwa have identified two vulnerable households whom they will assist in constructing a colbelt pit latrine, under the WASH project funded by Cross Catholic Outreach.

Karonga Diocese, through the Development Desk, is promoting the use of colbelt pit latrines because they use locally available resources, hence affordable. Construction does not require the use of wood as it the case with pit latrines being used in the area making them environmental friendly.

During this exercise, communities were asked to provide food for the local artisans (sanitation entrepreneurs), bricks, water and all other unskilled labour. This exercise is being carried out as one way of fulfilling one of the principles of Catholic Social Teaching, “love for the poor” and is expected to spread to all areas in the project impact area.

These modern toilets will also serve as demonstration for local communities to see and easily adopt for use in their households.

One of the beneficiaries, an elderly woman named Nambene, said her son used to construct shallow pit latrines which could not last two years. She hailed the initiative since colbelt toilets last a longer time before another one is needed.

“This initiative reminds me of our olden days when communities could come together to assist the elderly and underprivileged members of the society. I used to believe that this community spirit is far gone until today,” she said.

The project, which also has a spiritual component, aims at letting the poor feel the love of God by taking up small initiatives within the community’s capacity for people to feel the love of God through charity works.

Not only is the project providing development work, we must understand the project is under the Church. As much as it ensures people have access to safe and portable water, it is also there to ensure it brings people it serves closer to God.

This initiative will be scaled up to spread to all areas in the project impact area.

                        photo showing the current toilet being used by one of the beneficiaries

                                               The toilet in construction

Bishop Mtumbuka Dedicates St Pius Catholic Church

By Ignatius Mvula

After waiting for almost a year, Christians of Wiliro Zone under St Joseph the Worker Cathedral, were all smiles at Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka consecrated St Pius XI Prayer House on 10th November, 2019. The official opening of the Church drew hundreds of Christians from other with the jurisdiction of the Cathedral parish.

In his homily, Bishop Mtumbuka reminded the faithful of the significance of this church building as house of prayer. He was quick to warn the faithful that the church is the presence of God among them. He stressed that the church house is not like any other house because it is a house where people meet God and God meets His people.

“My dear brothers and sisters gathered here and all of you who are following us on our radio, get it very clearly here, this house of prayer has unique role in our Christian life, it is the presence of God among us,”

“We must always bear in mind that our hearts, too, are supposed to be the dwelling place of God. We must strive to live a life of holiness,” said the Bishop.

Commenting on the role of the faithful in the construction of the church, Bishop Mtumbuka expressed gratitude for this real sign of cultivating a self reliant church.

Speaking on behalf of the faithful of the St Joseph the Worker, Mons Denis Chitete thanked the Bishop for dedicating the prayer house. He also appreciated the contributions of all people towards the construction of the church.

The Catholic faith reached Wiliro in 1945, through the missionary work of Missionaries of Africa, also known as White Fathers. The Missionaries of Africa are this year celebrating 150 years of missionary work in Africa.

Village Headman Kenani Allocates Land to St Mary’s Parish for Church Construction

By Phillip Chisi

On Sunday 27 October, 2019, Village Headman Kenani and elders under Vilangale  Traditional Area offered a piece of land for the construction of prayer center for Catholic Church.

In his speech, the traditional leader said spiritual development of the area has been his major concern. He appealed to the Diocese of Karonga, St Mary’s Parish in particular, to utilize the land for the evangelization of the area which has been isolated from religious life for many years.

During the meeting, the traditional leader also appealed to the Diocese of Karonga to take over the proprietorship of VIlangale Primary School.

In his remarks, Parish Priest for St Mary’s Parish Father Joseph Sikwese assured the community that the parish will do its best to ensure that the area is evangelized and develop structures both at Vilangale Primary School and the prayer centre as soon as the parish finds enough resources to do so.

Vilangale is one of the substations in St Mary’s Parish under Ntchowo Zone and is situated 23 kilometers away from St Mary’s Parish Center. The area is very rocky and the road to the area is very rough making it an isolated area in many aspects.