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COMBATING GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE IN KARONGA DISTRICT

The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace Desk of Karonga Diocese has successfully engaged various religious leaders and male advocates in discussions on how to eradicate gender-based violence through the Timazge Nkhaza project in Karonga district.

In his address, CCJP Officer Hope Mlenga implored religious leaders and male champions to take an active role in ending gender-based violence as a means of reducing the number of cases in the district that adversely affect households and lead to immoral behaviour.

During the meeting, Chairperson of pastors fraternal Rev Msowoya identified culture as a contributing factor to gender-based violence across different areas within Karonga.

It is imperative for religious leaders, GVHs, and stakeholders to join forces in fighting gender-based violence by altering people’s cultural mindsets since some individuals’ upbringing prohibits their involvement in any type of activity, especially women.

Religious Leaders

Sheikh Bilali commented on this matter by encouraging people to embrace love between men and women so as to reduce instances of gender-based violence.

In a separate interview the chairman of zinc Rev Whyman Gondwe said with the coming in of the project, it will take efforts for them as male champions to lead people to change basically on gender-based violence so that men and women should be treated equally.

By Wantwa Mwakasungula,

Tuntufye FM.

KARONGA DIOCESE DONATES MEDICAL EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES TO KARONGA DISTRICT HOSPITAL

In an effort to assist in healthcare services delivery in Karonga, the Karonga Diocese on 5th April 2024 made a donation of hospital beds, mattresses, syringes and face shields to Karonga District Hospital (KDH). The Health Desk Officer (HDO), Mr. Joseph Kimangila represented the Diocese in the handover ceremony where the items were received by the Director for Health and Social Services (DHSS), Mr. David Sibale.

Kimangira (R) handing over the medical equipment and supplies to DHSS Sibale.

Speaking on behalf of Karonga Diocese, Mr. Kimangila highlighted the continued commitment of the Diocese in assisting communities in the three districts of Rumphi Karonga and Chitipa in matters of healthcare. “The Bishop of the Karonga Diocese Martin Anwel Mtumbuka is committed to ensuring that the people in the Diocese are of good health. After receiving a donation of the medical equipment supplies from Cross Catholic Outreach (CCO) in the United States of America, the Bishop thought it wise to also share with others hence the donation to KDH,” Kimangila stated.

The DHSS expressed gratitude towards the Diocese for the donation stating that; “The institution is facing a problem of inadequacy of various medical equipment and supplies. The beds, masks, syringes and needles will assist in saving costs to buy such items for KDH”. He also added that the general public should know that  Karonga Diocese and the Ministry of Health are good partners and they work together in various ways citing the Covid-19 pandemic during which the Diocese also made a donation of various items. Mr. Sibale also assured the Diocese of continued collaboration from the Ministry of Health.

KDH has received ten adjustable hospital beds and mattresses, forty cartons of face shields, needles and syringes. Other equipment that Karonga Diocese received have been distributed among its health facilities including St. Cynthia Health Center, St. Clara Health Center and the recently constructed Health Center located in Zambwe area, all in Chitipa district.

By Noel Chatepa.

KARONGA DIOCESE CCJP TRAINS IT’S MONITORS AHEAD OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT BY-ELECTIONS

In the heart of democracy lies the power of choice and ensuring that democracy maintains its purpose is a task of paramount importance. On Friday 22 March, the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) organized a training session at St. Mary’s parish hall aimed at fortifying the integrity of the electoral process.

Vincent Bwinga of CCJP addressing the monitors.

The Vicar General of the Karonga Diocese Monsignor Lorent Dziko was also present at the session and advised the participants stating that “there is need for the CCJP monitors to be non-partisan as the church herself is also non-partisan to ensure that the electoral process is free and fair”. He also advised them to perform only those duties that they are supposed to perform and not do things that they are not assigned.

During the training, participants were equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to perform their duties effectively and they were taught the proper methodology of observation. The session also involved trainings that are meant to prepare the monitors for real-life scenarios they might encounter.

Karonga Diocese Vicar General Monsignor Lorent Dziko addressing the monitors.

One of the participants Teresa Chisenga applauded the training saying that, “it is beneficial to us as we have learnt how to be good observers and also how we can interact with other stakeholders of the electoral process”.

CCJP is deploying 44 observers in 44 Polling Centers for Tuesday 26 March Local Government by-elections in Karonga district. These by-elections are taking place in Kaporo, Chilanga and Rukuru wards and these wards were declared vacant in September 2023 after councilors from these wards were convicted.

By Noel Chatepa

Karonga Diocese CADECOM conducts Relief Distribution to 100 families in Response to 2024 Floods
Some of the beneficiaries with their relief packages.

On the 15th of March, 2024 in a heartening response to the recurring floods that have devastated communities in Kafikisira Village in the area of T/A Kyungu, the Karonga Diocese CADECOM carried out a relief distribution exercise at Kafisikisira Health Clinic aiming to provide essential aid and support to those hardest hit by the natural disaster.

The event was graced with the presence of the Vicar General Monsignor Lorent Dziko who during the event advised the people in the area to be more prepared for flooding incidents as the area is prone to flooding and also encouraged the people to find higher grounds to settle and build resilient housing structures in order to prevent being affected by such incidents. He stressed the need for recipients to use the relief for their households and avoid selling off relief items as is the case in some instances when people have received relief.

Vicar General Monsignor Lorent Dziko speaking at the distribution exercise.

Also speaking during the event, Development Desk officer for Karonga Diocese Mr. Franklin Msiska echoed the Vicar General’s words on the misappropriation of relief and said that the church was also affected by the flooding as her congregants were among those that were affected by the flooding.

“The Karonga Diocese should be appreciated for it’s continuous efforts whenever a crisis has hit the district as the diocese is one of the stakeholders that is actively involved in implementation of various relief projects such as the recent Food Crisis Project which saw 607 beneficiaries receiving MK100,000 each” said Humphrey Magalasi a representative of the Karonga District Council who was present at the distribution exercise.

Vicar General Monsignor Lorent Dziko and Mr. Magalasi handing over stationery for learners to a representative from the zone education office.

The relief distribution exercise was made possible with funding amounting to Fourteen Million Kwacha (MK14,000,000) from Trocaire through the Episcopal Conference of Malawi. Each relief package was made up of a 25kg bag of maize flour, 2 kg beans, 2 litres cooking oil, 1 kg iodised salt, 20litre hand washing bucket, 2 tablets of washing soap, 2 bottles of waterguard, 2 mosquito repellent, 2 boxes of matches and for learners in the area ; 4 note books, 2 ball pens and 1pencil. From the funds, Ten Million Kwacha (MK10,000,000) was used to purchase relief items, the remainder is being used for sensitization campaigns on flood awareness and logistics .

Local residents have welcomed the aid with open arms and a sense of renewed hope. “It’s a relief to know that we’re not facing this alone,” shared Jessie Ngwira (54) of Kafikisira Village T/A Kyungu who’s family of six(6) lost all their food and other household items during the flooding on February 24th.

By Noel Chatepa

607 HOUSEHOLDS BENEFIT FROM KARONGA DIOCESE FOOD CRISIS PROJECT

The Vicar General of the Diocese of Karonga, Monsignor Lorent Dziko, has reiterated the commitment of the Diocese to move beyond providing spiritual support to the people entrusted to her pastoral care by addressing their holistic needs as well.

The Vicar General made these remarks at Mwenelondo Health Centre on Wednesday when he presided over the launch of once-off cash transfers to 607 households who were affected by prolonged dry spells which hit Karonga District in 2023.

Vicar General Monsignor Lorent Dziko handing over a cash disbursement to a beneficiary flanked by a representative from Mukuru.

Each of the 607 beneficiary households received a consumption cash disbursement of One Hundred Thousand Malawi Kwacha (K100,000) through Mukuru mobile wallet transfers.

Speaking after receiving the money, one of the beneficiaries from Mwakisenjere Village in the area of Senior Chief Mwirang’ombe, Mable Mkandawire (37) appreciated the intervention stating that because of the dry spells, her family only managed to harvest two 50kg bags of maize from a 3-acre field. This she said was not enough to feed her family of 7 members. She said she will use the money to buy maize and foodstuffs for the family.

Elderly beneficiaries withdrawing money from Mukuru Mobile money agents

In his remarks, Precious Kumwenda, a member of the Karonga District Disaster Response Committee advised the beneficiaries to use the funds for the intended purpose.

Speaking on behalf of the Development Desk, Deodatus Muriya emphasized stressed the need for the community leaders not to interfere or influence the beneficiaries into misappropriation of the cash packages.

The cash transfers are a part of the Karonga Diocese Food Crisis Project which is a response to the 2023 drought that affected a lot of families within the diocese and being implemented with support from the Scottish Government and the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) through the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM).

In the exercise, the Diocese of Karonga has distributed once-off cash assistance to 607 beneficiaries in the areas of Traditional Authorities Wasambo, Mwirang’ombe and Kyungu in Karonga District.

Nutritional Progress: Karonga Diocese’s Community Transformation Project Yields Positive Impact in Kopakopa”

The Diocese of Karonga through the Community Transformation -CT project has expressed satisfaction over the impact the program of nutrition is bringing to members of Kopakopa community in Chitipa district.

According to Grace Kondowe the Nutrition Coordinator for the project; when the program was just rolled out the area had several cases of malnutrition but looking at the recent records there is a reduction to such cases, according to her, this is due to the collaboration with the volunteers for the program.

CT Project Nutrition Coordinator Grace Kondowe

“It is so exciting to see how lives of people in the area of GVH Kopakopa are improving through good nutrition and hygiene practices. Before the introduction of program we had so many cases of malnutrition among children though we are not yet there but we have to reach out to all 110 households.” She said.

Kondowe further said she will not tire until the whole village has zero record of malnutrition.

Seeming to agree with Kondowe, Senior Health Surveillance Assistant for Mahowe Health Center Vincent Ng’ambi said, Kopakopa village had many cases of malnutrition of children but with the coming in of the program these cases are dwindling.

Speaking with one of the beneficiaries of the program Chifundo Ngwira said thanks to the program that his family now have knowledge on balanced diet meals and it’s importance in relation with malnutrition.

“I had everything in my house yet my child was looking unhealthy after learning through CT project that it was malnutrition me and my wife have known the right direction of alleviating the situation.” He said.

Meanwhile in a separate interview with GVH Kopakopa, he has expressed satisfaction with the development in his village saying people have truly embraced hygiene and the correct preparation of meals as such the CT project is playing a big role as far as improving healthy living is concerned in the area.

By Trifornia Mtawali.

A New Deacon and a New Priest: An Early New Year Gift to the Diocese Of Karonga

By Moses Raymond Kamanga

On Saturday, 30th of December, 2023 all roads led to St. Michaels Parish Chitipa for the ordination of Seminarian Raphael Simwera to Diaconate and Deacon Godwin Mwafongo to Priesthood. A multitude of Christians from Karonga, Misuku, Kamene and Nthalire braved the long distances and a scare of rains to travel and witness the young men saying “yes” to serve at the Lord’s Altar.

Newly ordained priest (in chasuble) and deacon (in dalmatic) immediately after their ordination
Newly ordained priest (in chasuble) and deacon (in dalmatic) immediately after their ordination

Instructing the two as they braced themselves to take up this noble responsibility, the Chief Shepherd of the Diocese of Karonga, Rt. Rev. Martin Anwel Mtumbuka advised them to persevere in their calling.

In his homily Bishop Mtumbuka asked the candidates to take after the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

“We have just celebrated Christmas and there is a close link, which I want to share with you, between the experience of the Holy Family and priesthood. Joseph was depressed when he found out that Mary was pregnant and wanted to secretly leave her. Mary was troubled when Jesus went missing and found in the Temple. In these experiences, they endured,” explained Bishop Mtumbuka.

To these experiences, Bishop Mtumbuka connected priestly life in which the two candidates need to endure also.

“You should not be priests who just complain in everything. Complaining from Monday to Sunday, January to December; when there is nsima you complain, beans you complain, vegetables you complain, complaining about everything. I don’t want this,” expressed Bishop Mtumbuka.

He went on to encourage the two to commit themselves to the life of prayer, saying that prayer is the fuel for their priestly life.

“When prayer is abandoned in the life of a priest, signs and symptoms are very clear. Just as signs are conspicuously clear in a family whose couples no longer love each other.

You shall know this by the way they talk to each other and look at each other. A priest whose life is devoid of prayer does things haphazardly, with no commitment at all. May it not be so with you,” concluded Bishop Mtumbuka.

Deacon Raphael Simwera comes from St. Mathias Mulumba Parish in Misuku – Chitipa District and Fr. Godwin Mwafongo comes from St. Thomas Moore Parish – Malimbalimba in Karonga District. They both studied at Peramiho Major Seminary in Songea – Tanzania.

Deacon Simwera is set to be ordained a priest in August next year (2024) at St. Mathias Mulumba Parish Center in Misuku. Fr. Godwin Mwafongo has since been appointed to serve at St. Ignatius Parish in Nthalire and his ordination to priesthood has brought the number of diocesan priests in the Karonga Diocese to 24.

Empowering Communities: Karonga Diocese Donates Farm Inputs to Local Households

Diocese of Karonga through Community Transformation programme  has lessened the worry of farmers in the area of Senior Traditional Authority Njikula in Rumphi by donating farm inputs to 99 households.

Vicar General Monsignor Lorent Dziko presenting the donation to some of the beneficiaries.

Speaking to Tuntufye FM, Karonga Diocese’s Vicar General Monsignor Laurent Dziko after the event on Friday 8th December 2023 said their aim is to see people from the area develop both physically and spiritually.

“As a a Catholic church just to be preaching the gospel to them is not enough we have also seen the need for us to help them to change in every area of their life as such providing these farm inputs was necessary so that when they plant and put into practice what our field officers teach them it will help them have bumper harvest “. He said.

He however, called on people to use the inputs accordingly so that the support rendered to them should yield positive results and change their lives for the better.

“Sometimes people think that just because they get something for free they can use the way they want which should not be the case because we have given these inputs with a purpose of changing their lives and if they put these inputs into good use it will surely change their lives”.

A beneficiary receiving a bag of fertilizer.

On his part is the Area Development Committee chairperson in the area Benson Matthews Maduna who asserts that he will make sure that the inputs given to the farmers are not misused and no one sells them through the aid of  selected leaders who are to monitor these farmers.

Part of the donations.

Meanwhile in a separate interview with one of the beneficiaries Elizabeth Mkandawire expressed gratitude to the diocese for changing her life through the  project as she will not worry about food now because she will harvest a lot with the farm inputs she has received.

Other consignments of similar, farm inputs will also be distributed to farmers in the areas of Kopakopa in Chitipa and Chankholombe in Karonga districts.

By Trifornia Mtawali

150 Dry Spell Survivors Receive Maize Donation

By Tawonga Chisale – TFM

About 150 dry spell survivors from Karonga South particularly of Lemero area have received relief maize donation from the Catholic Diocese of Karonga.

According to the Bishop’s and Pastoral Secretary of the Diocese, Father Robert Songa, the Diocese thought it wise to distribute a 50 kilogram of maize to each dry spell survivor because they see people suffering from hunger due to low crop yield which resulted from the dry spell that hit the district.

Father Songa shaking hands with a beneficiary who is flanked by Catholic Scouts
Father Songa shaking hands with a beneficiary who is flanked by Catholic Scouts

“The severe dry spell that hit the district gave us an indication that there will be hunger in the district. So as sought for financial support from people of the good will from Germany. They Church in Need responded immediately with a MK 24 million donation which we have used to buy maize which we are distributing in the Karonga and parts of Rumphi, particularly those people affected by the dry spell,” Father Songa said.

Father Songa added that the distribution of maize will be done in phases and each person will receive 50 kg bag of maize.

Father Songa has however urged people of good will to come in the district with any kind of support so that dry spell survivors should not perish due to starvation.

Commenting on the development, one of the beneficiaries Esther Kasimba commended the Diocese for the donation which she termed as timely as her family was already struggling to get food due the prolonged dry spell which hit the district in February this year.

 “We are very delighted with the donation that the Diocese of Karonga is offering to us and it is my plea that everyone who has received the donation should not to sell it,” Kasimba said.

Karonga Diocese Dares Politicians

By Winkly Mwaulambo – TFM

The Catholic Diocese of Karonga has asked Christians not to be hand clappers of unrealistic political leaders who only show up when they need votes and varnish when people are in need.

Father Robert Songa speaking during the function
Father Robert Songa speaking during the function

Bishop’ and Pastoral Secretary of the Diocese Father Robert Songa made this call yesterday when he presided over a relief distribution ceremony of maize to people who were affected by the dry spell at Lemero Outstation.

Father Songa said it is pathetic to see people in immense challenges which ought to be solved by leaders they chose to represent them, but they are doing nothing in such areas.

“Its high time we have been hearing and seeing people clapping hands for such leaders promising heaven on earth during campaign times, but when voted into power they do not come back to the people’s rescue,” Father Songa bemoaned.

“Challenges are really hitting people hard in various societies, no medicine in hospitals, prices of goods are soaring every day, farmers cannot afford fertilizer, number of beneficiaries of AIP have dwindled this year, yet we have leaders who can bring solutions but we are seeing nothing at all,” Father Songa added.

He therefore, called on citizens to be vigilant and tell their leaders the truth when thing are not good they not fear them.

“I would want to remind you that the duty of politicians is not buying coffins when someone in your village dies. Do not only dance for them to give you a handouts which will not even sustain you, but tell them to develop your communities. Let them respond to your needs,” he further said.

Meanwhile, Father Songa has assured Christians of continued support from the diocese while advising them to take care of the food items they have received because it takes people of good will to provide such support.

Karonga Diocese with financial support of MK 24 million from Church in Need of Germany has reached out to 150 households which were affected by dry spell, and the distribution will also go to other parts of the diocese.