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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

The Bishop planting his tree at the school during the Launch
“Make Electricity Reliable and Easily Accessible to Save Trees,” Bishop Mtumbuka

By Elijah Banda

Bishop Martin Anwel Mtumbuka of the Diocese of Karonga has urged authorities to revisit energy policies to make electricity reliable and easily accessible, to reduce the demand on charcoal in urban areas, if the battle against deforestation is to be won.

The Bishop planting his tree at the school during the Launch
The Bishop planting his tree at the school during the Launch

The Bishop made these remarks on Wednesday when he presided over the launch of tree planting season for communities in the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Karonga at Nandanga Primary School in Chitipa, where a total of 1600 trees were planted.

Speaking to the hundreds of learners and communities members at the function, the Bishop acknowledged the reality of climate change and its effects, such as dry spells, flooding, pollution of water sources and pests such as fall army worms.

Early grade learner at Nandanga primary school planting a tree during the launch
Early grade learner at Nandanga primary school planting a tree during the launch

In his speech, the Bishop observed that efforts to curb deforestation, as a mitigation measure for climate change, cannot be addressed by one intervention such as tree planting alone.

Bishop Mtumbuka further asserted that if demand for charcoal is killed in urban centres there will be reduced need for cutting down of trees as charcoal production accounts for 20% of annual tree loss.

“If electricity continues to be a problem to town dwellers, who use charcoal, then the fight against deforestation cannot be won as number of planted trees and those that survive does not match with the energy demand by households, rendering tree planting efforts in vain,” Said the Bishop.

Part of the crowd during the tree planting launch
Part of the crowd during the tree planting launch

Speaking earlier at the function, Senior GVH Mgalure thanked Karonga Diocese for the initiative in his area also hit by effects of climate change such as flush floods in Songwe River, dry spells and increasing temperatures.

On his part, District commissioner for Chitipa District urged communities to keep on planting trees and taking care of them to improve the national tree survival rate, which is low.

The tree planting launch was graced by participants from Chitipa District council, Karonga Diocese technical staff, the media, non-governmental organizations working in Chitipa learners and community members.

As one way of complementing government’s afforestation efforts, Karonga Diocese through “Karonga and Chitipa Integrated Rural Development Project” is working with villages and schools in creating tree nurseries, and planting trees as well as conserving already existing through the use of energy efficient Changu-changu stoves.

Through the project, the Development Desk is planting 139,000 in Karonga and Chitipa districts over a period of three years (2017-2010). The project is being implemented with financial support from Misereor Germany.

Development Desk of Karonga Diocese Promoting Climate Smart Agriculture

By Elijah Banda for Development Desk

For over a decade Malawi has been experiencing disasters of various degrees, mainly climate related, such as above normal rainfall, prolonged dry spells, pests and diseases, late onset of rains and short rainfall seasons. The highlighted weather related problems have had profound effects on crop production by small scale farmers and subsequent hunger among the farmers which leads to reduced participation in social economic activities of their respective communities.

In view of these challenges Karonga-Diocese through its Development Desk is implementing a 3 year livelihood project which is engaging small scale farmers in agricultural practices that would withstand the shocks of the climatic variations. In pursuit of this the Development Desk has facilitated the establishment of demonstration sites in the 4 traditional authorities it is implementing the project. The demo plots act as farmers’ schools where various practices are showcased and farmers are given a chance to see and adopt a technology they feel best for their area.

On 3rd January 2018 the Development Desk- Desk Officer and Project Officer visited the set demo plots to appreciate how the work is going on and evaluate the farmer’s understanding of the initiative. In his remarks after visiting Titukulane Farmers Club in Lupembe-Karonga the Development Desk- Desk Officer thanked the farmers for the hard work shown towards mounting the demo plots and encouraged them to start practicing the technologies in their respective fields.

These technologies, he said, if scaled up would contribute to increased food production in the wake of these climate related shocks. He further asked the farmers to continue taking good care of the demo plots and their respective gardens by guarding against pests and diseases to report to extension workers for the area once they spot a strange disease.

In his remarks, the Chairperson of the group thanked Karonga Diocese for the project which he said would help to change mindset of many farmers in the area who still cling to old farming methods which are challenged by climate related shocks and affecting agricultural production.

Karonga Diocese Development Desk is implementing the project with financial assistance from MISEREOR Germany.

Development Desk of Karonga Diocese Launches Rural Livelihood Project

By Elijah Banda

Climate change, as characterized by dry spell, flooding, short rainfall seasons with erratic patterns, is causing a decline in food production by smallholder farmers. Further, the ever increasing national population is exerting putting pressure on natural resources. To mitigate this, on 1st October, 2017, the Development Desk of Karonga Diocese launched a project aimed at building community resilience to the effects of Climate Change and population growth.

This multimillion Kwacha ‘Karonga and Chitipa Integrated Rural Development Project’ targets communities in the areas of Paramount Chief Kyungu in Karonga District and Mwabulambiya, Mwenemisuku and Mwenewenya in Chitipa District. The project is being implemented with financial assistance from MISEREOR Germany.

The project will engage 2400 households to improve natural resource management, annual food production, and household income. The project will also empower 160 young people economically through informal vocation training.

Speaking during the District Executive Committee (DEC) project briefing in Chitipa, the District Commissioner for Chitipa District, Grace Chirwa, appreciated the role Karonga Diocese is playing in complementing government’s efforts in improving people’s livelihoods. She further urged the Diocese to consider more interventions that would empower unemployed youths. These, she said, if not well managed end up engaging in promiscuous behavior.

During the meeting, DEC members reviewed and technically appraised the project. They pointed out some areas which needed further consideration and possible amendment.

Addressing DEC members after the approval of the project, Development Desk Project Officer-Elijah Banda expressed a word of gratitude to the District Commissioner for tirelessly supporting Karonga Diocese’s development initiatives and DEC members for their technical input.

“I thank you all for the technical advice towards the perfection of the project. Be assured these will be taken into consideration. Since the Development Desk will also work together with relevant government sectors, then most of the concerns raised will be addressed in the actual implementation of the project.” He said.

This is a three-year project and it runs from October 2017 to September 2020 using a community approach.