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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.

Picture of From left to right Senior Chief Kameme, Mwenemisuku, CCJP Project Officer Abel Malumbira and TA Mwaulambya at Tuntufye FM Studios
Senior Traditional Leaders Call for an End to Child Marriages in Chitipa

By Alick Gondwe

Traditional leaders in Chitipa are playing a leading role in the campaign aimed at eliminating child or forced marriages in the areas under their jurisdiction.

Senior Chief Kameme and Traditional Authorities Misuku and Mwaulambya made the revelation during a live talk show, on Tuntufye FM, organised by the Justice and Peace Desk.

Taking his turn, Senior Chief Kameme said child marriage cases grow like cancer and that as a chiefdom they are committed to remove it to ensure that the girl child is educated.

“Village headmen in my area have stepped up efforts towards the protection of rights of girls by openly condemning child marriages and making sure that perpetuators are arrested and prosecuted accordingly,” said Senior Chief Kameme.

Picture of From left to right Senior Chief Kameme, Mwenemisuku, CCJP Project Officer Abel Malumbira and TA Mwaulambya at Tuntufye FM Studios
From left to right Senior Chief Kameme, Mwenemisuku, CCJP Project Officer Abel Malumbira and TA Mwaulambya at Tuntufye FM Studios

On the other hand, Chief Mwenemisuku called for the need to get rid of negative cultural practices.

“We need to uphold good cultural practices and discard ones that are detrimental to the well-being of our communities,” exhorted Chief Mwenemisuku.

“I always tell parents and community leaders that marrying off children at an early age is counterproductive, apart from being a violation of human rights. It is like eating a seed instead of planting it,” added Mwenemisuku.

Chief Mwabulambya called on the need to change mind set, especially on parents who regard a girl child as a source of income. He said the girl child has a lot of potential but that can only be realized with the attainment of a good education.

CCJP is implementing a three-year project in Chitipa with purposes of promoting women and children’s rights with funding from Misereor.

Pictutre of Figure 2: showing a maize field in Lupembe attacked by the fall army worm
FEATURE: Development Desk Joins the Fight against Fall Armyworms

By Elijah Banda (Development Desk)

Introduction

The Development Desk of Karonga Diocese with financial support from MISEREOR is implementing a 3 years livelihood project in Karonga and Chitipa Districts. The project aims at building community resilience to the effects of climate change through various adaptation and mitigation strategies.

The Project, among other objectives, is working with farmers in use of climate smart agricultural technologies that have the capability to withstand shock due to climate change. The project has set up demonstration plots in all the 4 traditional authorities under the Project where several practices are showcased such practices are pit planting, conservation agriculture, use of manure in crop production, use of legumes to improve soil fertility and use of water and soil conservation measures for guiding against soil erosion.

Situation analysis of the agricultural production Unit component

Malawi confirmed, in February last year, the presence and attack on maize fields by fall armyworms which reduced yield by almost half. Government took measures to address the problem by buying chemicals to spray against the pest. Due to late delivery and limited access to the chemicals, not all farmers accessed the chemicals hence the pest was not effectively controlled.

During the 2017-18 farming season, Karonga ADD which covers Karonga and Chitipa Districts has reported the attack of the pest in many farmers fields. In Chitipa out of 3,954 hectares (Ha) planted with maize, 3,760 hectares have been attacked by the pest. In Karonga, out of 23,703 hectares of maize fields, 9,921 hectares have been attacked by the pest.

Picture of Figure 1: showing a fall army worm on maize leaves
Figure 1: showing a fall armyworm on maize leaves

Risk associated with the Pest to the farmers

According to the Development Desk the recent attack by fall armyworms is worrisome as it is affecting performance of the set demonstration plots to adequately deliver the intended messages to the farmers. Further to this, the attack by the fall armyworms is a threat to agricultural production by smallholder farmers since the attack reduces yield by almost half.  Crop production by smallholder farmers in the current farming season may be reduce if the pest damage is not contained in time.

Pictutre of Figure 2: showing a maize field in Lupembe attacked by the fall army worm
Figure 2 showing a maize field in Lupembe attacked by the fall armyworm

Efforts by the Development Desk towards the fight against fall army worms

The Development Desk is collaborating with Government through sensitization campaigns through the Radio and extension workers on how farmers could scout for the pest and control it. The Desk is asking farmers to report any attack by fall armyworms to Government extension workers or its Field staff for proper treatment with chemicals that are pre-positioned in extension planning areas (EPAs). Farmers and the wilder farming community are also advised on other biological and physical control measures to control the damaging pest.

Efforts by the Government towards addressing the problem of fall armyworm

Government has received and distributed 500 litres of Chlorpyrifos (Sulban) and armyworm traps to all EPAs in Karonga ADD to fight the pest. Government is further planning for installation of traps for the army worms and delivery of materials is expected from 17 to 19 January, 2018.

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.