• 0

    No products in the cart.

Archives September 2023

New lease of life: Estida Msonda standing on her newly built house.
Karonga District Council Commends Development Desk’s Disaster Preparedness Project

By Ellah Chirwa

Karonga District Council has commended the Development Desk (also known as CADECOM) of the Diocese of Karonga for training communities, living in disaster prone areas of Traditional Authorities Mwkaboko, Mwirangombe and Wasambo, in disaster preparedness.

New lease of life: Estida Msonda standing on her newly built house.
New lease of life: Estida Msonda standing on her newly built house.

This commendation was made by Senior Fire Officer in the Department of Disaster – Search and Rescue Cluster, Nicholas Chirwa, during a joint field monitoring tour in areas that are prone to strong winds and floods organised by the Development Desk in collaboration with Karonga District Council.

In an interview the council’s representative, Nicholas Chirwa, said as a council, they are impressed with the way people have responded to the project’s interventions saying they are sure that many people will be protected from possible disasters in the coming rainy season. He further said the project has assisted residents to understand that disasters can be prevented.

“The project had a number of interventions such as training in borehole rehabilitation, demonstration of strong winds and flood resistant houses, tree planting, and planting river gauge and rain gauge which have adopted by the community,” Chirwa said.

Chirwa further urged the Development Desk to continue with the project saying this will help the district to significantly reduce disaster records.

In his remarks Matthias Bulukutu, who is the coordinator of the project, said he was satisfied with the positive response from the communities.

“At least three vulnerable people were selected as beneficiaries for the demonstration houses designed to resist wind and water pressure, 8 thousand tree seedlings were distributed in the three impact areas, and three boreholes were also rehabilitated,” Bulukutu said.

Bulukutu further urged the community members to continue participating in the project to ensure sustainability of the interventions.

One of the beneficiaries selected for the demonstrations of houses, Estida Msonda, 65 years old, has appreciated the Development Desk for the kind gesture saying the house she was living in with her daughters and grandchildren was not decent enough.

 “To live in an iron sheet thatched house is a testimony I have to give because I was living in a leaking house and it was also infested with mosquitoes. This made our household susceptible to malaria which made us visit the hospital frequently. I will take good care of this house,” Msonda said.

The Development Desk has been implementing the Karonga Participatory Community Action for Preparedness (KPCAP) with the aim of preparing communities living in areas that are prone to natural disasters, such as strong winds and floods.

Estida Msonda's old house
Rehabilitated borehole
Rehabilitated borehole
Disaster resilient house
Disaster resilient house
An established macadamia nuts plantation at Chipunga Farm
The Eye of the Needle: Church Mission and Investment

*By Father Joseph Mkinga

In Luke 18:22, Jesus tells a wealthy young man to ‘sell all that you own and distribute the money to the poor.’ Jesus goes on to say, ‘it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.’ When we look at both scripture and tradition, we find Christians wrestling with how to apply the teachings of Jesus and how to care for the poor. It is very clear that even among early Christians, the Acts of the Apostles and Pauline Churches, the teaching of renunciation of wealth never took root. However, there was a serious commitment to address the gap between the poor and the rich in their communities.

The motto of Karonga Diocese is ‘We shall go to them’. This motto is at the center of the nature of the Church as a mission. God’s plan of salvation is meant for all peoples and all nations (Mt 28:19). That’s what we see happening after Pentecost, Christ’s disciples go out to spread the Gospel. Evangelism, belongs to the very nature of the Church.  There is no sharing in Christ without sharing in his mission. This focus on Christ’s mission of going to all peoples has a number of consequences for the missionary church. Echoing the words of Late Bishop Zuza of Mzuzu, ‘Nyengo yakwana’ (It is time) for the local church to support its own mission.

In order to reach out and touch everyone with the message of Christ within and beyond the diocese, Karonga Diocese requires enormous resources to fulfill the implications of its mission. To reduce overdependence on external financial assistance in support of its missionary initiatives enshrined in the motto; ‘we shall go to them’. The Diocese of Karonga embarked an investment drive through agribusinesses ventures. Among the initiatives is Chipunga Farms Limited; an agribusiness outfit that specializes in coffee and macadamia plantations.

The Diocese of Karonga acquired Chipunga Farms Limited in January, 2018. Chipunga Farms Limited is a limited liability company and to date, comprises of three farms namely; Mughese Coffee Farm at Misuku in Chitipa District, Chiwela Farm in Rumphi District and the main farm Chipunga Farm. Chipunga Farm has 286.46 hectares (ha) of land of which 160.0 ha is earmarked for coffee and macadamia plantations in the next 5 years. The farm is located in Chikwina, Nkhata-Bay District in Traditional Authority Mnyaluanga. It is 25 kilometres to the North East of Mzuzu City. The Farm has 37.0 ha of land planted with coffee in three stages, the older one is 5 years and is in its third harvest in 2023, the medium is 3-year-old and the other one is 1 years old. In addition to coffee, the farm has also 31.0 ha of macadamia, of which 18.79 ha is productive and 12.21ha of macadamia is 3 years old.

We have arrived at a critical juncture in our life together. We cannot deny the fact that life has changed a lot more than we envisaged. We are at a point where only the most adaptive to change survive (Charles Darwin). In as much as the Church wishes to spread the gospel, there is no denial of the role of money in fulfilling the church mission. We cannot cast a blind eye on the fact that external support is diminishing at a fast rate than we could wish.

While there has been considerable discernment about the best way of deploying our meagre financial resources collected from the faithful, we must recognize the sad reality before us. The Church does in fact require more financial assistance to pay salaries, maintain property, build churches, schools, hospitals and support all other institutions of evangelization including the radio station. At the same time, our reading of the signs of the times, has led us to understand that in addition to the many ministry projects that the diocese undertakes, our investment strategy and approach should be informed by our sense of vocation and call. St Paul, the Apostles, reminds us in Acts 18:1-4, that he made tents, in order to earn money to support himself in his real ministry of witnessing to Christ. It is certainly true that Paul wants to support himself. Yet his intention was not only to support himself in his preaching ministry, but also to provide financial support to the needy.

When Paul describes his economic impact among the Ephesians, he says: I coveted no ones’ silver or gold or apparel. You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities, and to those who were with me, in all things I have shown you that by so toiling one must help the weak,remembering the words of Jesus Christ, how he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’  (Acts 20:33-35).

Paul’s money earning work was an effort to build up the community. He sets an example for everyone to follow in enhancing the common good and support of the weak. This gives the basis for the diocese of Karonga to toil in order to help the weak and to support the mission. Tent making has become a common metaphor for the church to engage in a money-earning enterprise as means to support church mission.  It is thus very clear that money-earning is for the building of the Kingdom of God. As such, the question is how moral is the enterprise that raises these funds. And of what benefit are the funds towards the common good.

Christian life has been marked by considered concern for the poor, a principle that bears witness to God’s goodness. From the days of Jesus Christ to the early church described in Luke-Acts, a wrestling with how to deploy financial resources for the common good has ensued. We find in the writings of early theologians like Clement of Alexander and St Augustine of Christians believing in a just society where resources are shared with those in need (The Epistle to Diognetus).

Though one cannot determine a precise starting point for socially responsible investing, there are elements of such conscientious practices in Christian tradition reminding us that humanity should use money for building the Kingdom of God, and not to exploit others. Otherwise, riches without a responsible social concern can yield worse outcomes and capitalist culture. Thus, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven if the money-earning enterprise is deprived of ethics. That is, if riches are not used for common good and for the building of the Kingdom of God.

The early church was intensely interested in the common good- in creating communities that ensured peoples essential needs were provided for. The leaders of the early church knew that they could never achieve such a reality without the spiritual and moral transformation of those who had the resources. They knew that they could never provide essential needs if the people saw their enterprise as singularly their own. Instead, the enterprises had the capacity to be used for the ministry to benefit both owners and those who had a need. And this ultimately, is the point I would like to leave you with. That one of the great spiritual transformations of Karonga Diocese is how people think about money. That the Diocese approaches money with intention and conviction about its purpose in spreading the Gospel and building the Kingdom of God.

In investing, Karonga Diocese, does not depart from traditional Christian teaching. It is merely embracing what has been traditionally and biblically taught. That by …going to them, it is our purpose and calling to minister to others using our spiritual gifts and financial resources ethically, mindfully and creatively.  Only then could our riches help us lead us to heaven.

*The author, Rev. Fr. Joseph Mkinga, Acting General Manager for Chipunga Farms Limited

A cross-section of participants captured during the training
Justice and Peace Desk Trains Safeguarding Focal Persons

By Janet Mhango

From the 14th to the 15th of September, CCJP has trained the Safeguarding Focal Persons on safeguarding, case management, and referral. The training brought about 54 Safeguarding Focal Persons from 25 Catholic Primary Schools and 4 Catholic Secondary Schools in Chitipa District. 

A cross-section of participants captured during the training
A cross-section of participants captured during the training

Through the training, CCJP has equipped these Safeguarding Focal persons with more skills to handle both reported and non-reported cases of abuse, creating a safe environment for students and contributing towards protecting the rights of children in respective schools. 

This training was conducted because of the strong view that most issues regarding abuses in schools are swept under the carpet. Cases of abuse are barely reported. In addition, although the Diocese of Karonga established Safeguarding Focal Persons in all its institutions, they had implementation and enforcement gaps that needed them to be filled, hence the trained.

The Justice and Peace Desk of the Diocese of Karonga, with Funding from Misereor, is implementing a project in Chitipa District called “Gender Sensibilization and Safeguarding in the Diocese of Karonga.” 

One of the objectives of the project is that Catholic Primary Schools have established systems for the protection of students. To achieve this objective, the project works with Safeguarding Focal Persons which are structures established by the Diocese of Karonga to handle safeguarding concerns and reported cases of abuse.

Board Members during their meeting
St Mauritius Secondary Set for Second Enrollment of Form I – Board

By Lino Nyirenda

The Board of Governors of St Mauritius Secondary School, meeting on 4th September, 2023, has confirmed that the School is set to receive the second cohort of Form I.

Board Members during their meeting
Board Members during their meeting

The school opened its doors to education on 10th October, 2022 with 100 Form I students. Selection to the school is done by both government (65%) and the Diocese of Karonga (35%). This means this year the school will have an enrollment of 200 students. The school which is under the proprietorship of the Diocese of Karonga is a Government Assisted school.

Speaking after touring the school, the Board Chairperson, Mr. Kaunda Gondwe said he has been satisfied with the readiness of the second hostel which has already been furnished with beds and mattresses and a second classroom block furnished with desks. Both the hostel and Classroom have a capacity of 100 students.

With financial support from the Diocese, the School’s Headteacher, Mr. Madalitso Mbalazada, reported that the school had already procured boarding requirements and teaching and learning resources. With great satisfaction he said that the school was set to commence the academic year on Monday, 11th September, 2023.

The office of the Education Division Manager (North) committed to send additional teachers to beef up the level of qualified staff, which is currently at 6. Departments of Sciences and Humanities are the most understaffed.

The Board mandated the School Management to include additional qualified assistant teachers on the school’s budget and also identify rentable accommodation for the new staff to be deployed by the Education Office.

The school continues to enjoy support from the Diocese, Ministry of Education and the surrounding community. “Certa bonum certamen”. We will continue to “fight a good fight”.

Pictorial Focus

Board members touring the school
Board members touring the school
New classroom with desks
New classroom with desks
New Hostel with beds
New Hostel with beds
Part of the newly constructed infrastructure at the school
Part of the newly constructed infrastructure at the school