Tuesday, December 30, 2008

ADRA Malawi receives prestigious Media Award

After two years breack the MBC Enterteiners of the Years Awards returned on Friday 26 December. The MBC (Malawi Broadcasting Coorporation) Awards have a long history that goes back to 1970, as mentioned in the Newspaper “The Sunday Times”, and are the most prestigious Media Award in Malawi.

There are 20 categories that cover sports, Music, Drama, Radio, Presenters, Newspaper and Cartoon. Each category has three nominnees.

ADRA Malawi’s Tikuferanji radio program was nominated and won the category for “Radio Play of the Year”. Michael Usi writes: “Tikuferanji means why are we dying? The question attempts to provoke people to start thinking seriously about the factors that lead them into irresponsible sexual behaviors. The program is broadcast on both Malawi Broadcasting Corporation and Television Malawi. The program has been on radio for almost twelve years and on TV for about seven years. The initial purpose for the program was to deal with issues of HIV/AIDS in Malawi. The program has now taken on board other issues that affect the respect of human rights; HIV/AIDS being a cross cutting issue.”

ADRA’s Malawi Programs Director, Michael Usi, also won the Award for Actor of the Year.

Author: Emanuel da Costa

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I must admit that my first trip to Malawi did not dissapoint! ADRA Australia has been funding projects in Ntcheu district for the past few years now and the current Local Initiatives for Community Empowerment in Ntcheu (LICEN) project has continued to assist local communities gain a stronger voice with which to represent their needs to local authorities and has passed on the essential skills needed to address these needs where outside assistance is not consistent. 

A key aspect of the LICEN project is the role played by ADRA Malawi’s project staff in working with local community representatives to build the management and leadership skills of Kumanga Umodzi (KU’s) groups. These community based organisation (KU’s) are the chosen representatives for various entitees within their local communities and are responsible for advocating community needs in education, water, natural resources and health to the Village Development Committees and Area Development Committes. 

This model has helped to give the voices of people at the village level an easier line of communication to local government and traditional authorities and has helped to clarify the needs and achievements of communities within Ntcheu district.  

Photo: a local representative from a Kumaga Umodzi provides an update on the activities and needs within his community at the Area Development Committee meeting 

Sometimes, however, being able to communicate with traditional and government authorities does not always ensure that all the needs within a local community are going to be addressed. ADRA’s response to this has been to training local KU groups in business skills so that they can run their own business to raise funds to support meet the costs of activities and assets that have a social or economic benefit for the community as a whole. One community that we visited had chosen to run a bakery business and were receiving training from ADRA and two women from nearby community (who had also successfully implemented a bakery business) in how to run and manage a successful business. 

When asked what they hoped to use the funds from the bakery business for, a local elder suggested that they might like to start a larger business that assists in providing fuel for the local community.

Photo: A young woman assists ADRA staff to train a local community group on how to run and maintain a small bakery business for their community. 

The LICEN project also understands the needs and challenges of youth and their growing representation among the population of Malawi. Not all children in Ntcheu district have the opportunity to complete their primary and secondary education, so ADRA is working with school youth groups to help provide them with some essential life skills should they be unable to continue doing their schooling. To achieve this, ADRA chooses two teachers in partner schools to be mentors for their students assists them to train the students in life skills that warn them about HIV and AIDS and how to avoid it as well as equipping them with skills in farming, food preparation and in some cases sewing their own clothes.

Photo:  A young student shows the schools junior farmer field. Another boy shows off a shirt he has made during a sewing class at school.

Travelling with the project staff I visited three junior farmer fields where school children were learning essential farming techniques and proudly displayed a wide variety of the vegetables and other crops that they have grown. By supporting these activities within the LICEN project ADRA is helping the future generation of young boys and girls in Ntcheu gain the essential skills they need for life after school, while still being able to access formal learning. 

Author: Darin Roberts - International Program Manager, ADRA Australia

ADRA Malawi at pre-Icasa/Icasa Dakar AIDS Conference.

ADRA Malawi from 29th November to 8th December, 2008 attended a PACANet-Pre ICASA and the main ICASA AIDS Conference in Dakar, Senegal, Biennial International Conference on HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STI) in Africa, a key event on AIDS on the African Continent. It is a gathering of actors involved in the response to HIV/AIDS from African and other continents. Emma Jakobo and Michael Usi represented ADRA Malawi.

The PACANet is an organization of faith based organizations and associations that deal with HIV/AIDS and related issues. The main themes at the PACANet conference were: Treatment, Orphan and Vulnerable Children, Prevention and Theological reflection. The conference reviewed the declarations made in earlier conferences. The conference focused on whether the churches changed or been challenged by HIV/AIDS.

Communication for Social Change is another subject that ADRA Malawi and Inger Olosen from ADRA Denmark partner office shared with participants at the Dakar Conference.
There were about 100 participants at the PACNet- Pre ICASA conference.

The main ICASA conference that attracted about 10,000 participants had many presentations. ADRA Malawi particularly benefited from the launch of a DVD titled Courage and Hope. The DVD showcases the life events evolutions of Kenyan teachers who came out in the open to declare that they are HIV positive. It is a TALE of Heroes IN THE FIGHT AGAINST AIDS. The Film depicts overcoming stigma and discrimination through determination and knowledge of the HIV/AIDS.

Media in Development/ Communication for Social Change as well as best lessons from other organizations are some of the presentations that ADRA Malawi attended. ADRA discussed possible networking relationship with other Communication for Social Change Organizations likeSaul City of South Africa.

There were many other interesting topics that ADRA Malawi attended like the comprehensive approach to the prevention of diarrhoea, malaria and HIV/AIDS Control. The three diseases are approached comprehensively as a package with bed nets and water purifier given as incentives for an HIV test.

It was discussed at length whether the incentives given for the HIV test are not undermining the spirit of volunteering for the test. Some participants felt the incentives were more of a bribe than incentive. The concern was that some people would go for the test just because they want/need to get the incentives not necessarily that they have understood the value and implications of the test. The consequences could therefore be detrimental to the campaign for the promotion of VCT. Another concern was that this practice may discourage some would be VCT clients from going for the test without the incentives that others are getting for the test. However, the managers of the initiative explained that there have not been any negative developments that people expressed.

Overall, the conference was very fruitful and gave an opportunity to learn and share. It was a rewarding experience!!

Author: Micheal Usi

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

World AIDS day commemoration in Machinga

World AIDS day was commemorated on 1st December 2008 as has been the case since 1988 in the whole world. This year’s theme was STOP AIDS: KEEP THE PROMISE with a sub title on Leadership: Lead, empower and deliver.

In Machinga the day was celebrated in seven venues including Namandanje, where ADRA works in. The District coordinator for ADRA was nominated by District Executive Committee (DEC) members to be team leader for all activities that would happen on world aids day at Namandanje. A team of three other DEC members from NICE, Banja la mtsogolo and Police was selected to work together with the team leader.

Community mobilization was done through group village heads and a meeting with the people from Traditional Authority Liwonde occurred on 27th November 2008.
Rehearsals were done on 29th November.

The communities lead different activities including drama, songs, traditional dances with HIV and AIDS messages, making the event a success. Most of the groups that did well in their performances were mentored by ADRA Malawi through theater for development training that it offered to its youth clubs and facilitators. For example the best drama group was a youth group from Mangamba another site for ADRA in Machinga.

ADRA had similar activities in 4 other districts.

Author: Justin Kamudzulo - ADRA District Coordinator

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Water to Malamulo

Malamulo Adventist Mission Hospital is experiencing critical water shortage. The campus consists of the Hospital, a Medical School, a primary school, a boarding secondary school. Total numbers of water users at the campus is at the moment at 22,000 year with this including over 18,000 patients. The existing three boreholes are not adequate to supply water throughout the day. Coupled with other problems like the dam which was found to contain harmful chemicals and old pipe lines with frequent breakdowns. ADRA was requested to assist with this problem wish was possible due to the financial support of from the ADRA International office (http://www.adra.org/).
The first stage of ADRA’s intervention in Malamulo Hospital was completed after geophysical surveys were conducted and two sites for drilling were identified. Two borehole were drilled on the 19th and 20th to 21st November, 2008.
Next stages of intervention will include the installation of pumps, possible upgrading of the water storage or provision of a generator and replacement of the piping system conducting the water to the distribution at the mission site.
ADRA is furthermore assisting the Hospital by providing 104 mechanical beds with mattresses hopping to contribute to improved services provided to the patients.

Updated from Report by W. Chilonga – ADRA Malawi Water Expert