Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Information Booklet

ADRA Malawi launches an online informative report focusing on its main areas of intervention:
- Communication for Development (or Communication for Social Change)
- Civil Society and Empowerment
- Food Security and Resilience building
- Health Initiatives (including HIV/AIDS and Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights)

This publication is intended to open a window on ADRA Malawi's program.

To download the booklet click here

Thursday, September 24, 2009

In Malawi, Popular ADRA TV Program Expands Audience

SILVER SPRING, Md. — In Malawi, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) has reached an agreement with a privately owned television station to broadcast a successful television and radio series that uses drama to educate the public about HIV/AIDS spread and prevention by highlighting responsible and safe sexual behavior.

“As a TV station we thought it wise to enter into partnership with ADRA to start showing Tikuferanji as part of sensitizing people about the HIV/AIDS pandemic,” said Father Andrew Kaufa, a representative of Luntha Television, which broadcasts from Balaka, a city located southeast of Malawi’s capital city of Lilongwe. He added that this was another opportunity for more people to watch the programs.

Tikuferanji, which means, “Why are we dying?” in the national Chichewa language, addresses important HIV/AIDS related issues, such as the importance of blood testing, condom use, marital and family relations, and faithfulness. Recently, the program has also taken on other topics that affect human rights, such as child labor and personal responsibility, using HIV/AIDS as a platform.

The program, at times recorded in local villages, discusses the personal experiences of people who have been affected by HIV/AIDS and other related issues, providing a sense of reality to the drama.

Tikuferanji is already being broadcast on Television Malawi and the state-run Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC). It has been on the radio in Malawi for nearly 13 years and on television for approximately eight. As one of the most popular television shows in Malawi, it received last December the “Radio Play of the Year Award” at the 2008 MBC Entertainers of Year Awards, and has been voted the best advocacy program in Malawi on radio and television. It also received the Best Achiever Award in 2007.

According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), nearly 12 percent of Malawians between the ages of 15 and 49, or 840,000 people, live with HIV. An additional 91,000 children under the age of 14 are also living with the deadly virus.

Since 1982, ADRA Malawi has been working in the areas of disaster relief, water and sanitation, HIV/AIDS, family planning, agriculture, primary health, basic education, and empowerment of vulnerable groups, such as women and children.

ADRA is a non-governmental organization present in 125 countries providing sustainable community development and disaster relief without regard to political or religious association, age, gender, race or ethnicity.

For more information about ADRA, visit www.adra.org.

Author: Nadia McGill

(Original article can be found in the ADRA International Website)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Harvesting fish in the mainland

On Thursday September 17, 2009, communities from VH Ngandanga, in Phalombe district harvested their fish from their community owned pond, created back in 2007, as part of ADRA’s intervention in the area, through a Food for Assets initiative implemented in partnership with WFP.

They managed to harvest a total of 62.5KGs of which the Community Management Committee agreed to sale at MK400.00/kg which will fetch not less than MK20,000.00. The cash realized will be used, by the Community Committee to support the orphans and vulnerable children and chronically ill within their community.

Although this village is in an area vulnerable to both floods and droughts, the creation of such community diversification and income generating activities empowers communities to become resilient to disasters and be able to support its most vulnerable members.

Other community assets created with ADRA support include: irrigation schemes, poultry production, maize mills, amongst many other.

Author: Hastings Lacha

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Manganya marching with Malawi Defence Force

By Michael Usi - Deputy Country Director/ADRA Malawi

I will always regard July 24 of this year 2009 as one of my best days of my life in my career as a human rights advocate and an artist because I feel I made an impact on the society in a different way, than usual.

On this day, I was invited to Mzuzu by Moyale Barracks, where they had a function with a theme; "A strong family, a foundation to a strong community," and this started with a march from Kaka Motel to Moyale Barracks, about 20 km.

This function was aimed at strengthening the families of people in Mzuzu, particularly families of the soldiers, the organizers of the function. This came from a background that the HIV/AIDS has not spared the Army, and with a strong family, it would mean a husband and wife remaining faithful to each other, and in the long run being able to avoid contracting the virus that causes AIDS.

This can greatly help the fight against the HIV/AIDS, and that was why I felt duty bound to honor the invitation. They considered inviting me as a human rights advocate and an actor, especially because of my roll in Tikuferanji. They considered that the role of Tikuferanji is also to strengthen the marriages and this matched with their theme.

During the march, Major L.D.G put me as a front man, so I led this match from Kaka Motel to the barracks, the venue where speeches were made.

With my stage title Manganya, the march attracted the youth and the old along the way to the barracks, and the message was loud and clear and spread to the communities that a strong family, is indeed a strong foundation for a strong community.

Most interesting thing was for the soldiers to be the initiators, because soldiers are mostly perceived by some people as those who do not care about their lives, let alone families, but here they were, able to spread the good message among themselves and to the community as a whole.

To me, that's a move in a right direction. Most importantly, the excited community joined the march. On arrival at the barracks, speeches were made and during that function, the soldiers honored me by giving me an opportunity to address them. I asked them to keep playing a role in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Most importantly, they gave me an Army uniform and asked me to continue spreading the message about what soldiers are doing to strengthen the families and communities, and the effort they are putting in to fight HIV/AIDS. I do it on the television.

I wear this uniform during the acting of some of the ADRA Malawi acclaimed "Tikuferanji" TV programs, that I also direct, where we spread the message about HIV/AIDS, including what soldiers are doing about it. I do this with great pride because I have never imagined that soldiers can fully participate in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and I was humbled by their invitation, I did not take it for granted. With the Army band playing, they made my day and I am looking forward to more of that.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Tikuferanji on Luntha TV

Last Friday, 11th September, the two most important news papers in the Country, “The Nation” and “The Daily Times”, have published articles on the recently signed agreement between ADRA Malawi and the private television Luntha TV to broadcast the ADRA Malawi acclaimed TV series “Tikuferanji”.

The program has been on radio for almost thirteen years and on TV for about eight 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.

Journalist Sam Banda Jnr, writes on the Daily Times:

The popular Tikuferanji series which viewers have been watching on Malawi Television (TVM) will soon be beamed on Balaka based Television Luntha. This follows the signing of a contract on Wednesday between Adventist Relief Agency (ADRA) and TV Luntha. Producer of Tikuferanji series Michael Usi popularly known as Manganya confirmed the development. He said the signing of the contract was a positive development in that Tikuferanji will be able to reach out to more people.“At TVM we have restricted our productions because we pay but with TV Luntha it will be free and we will be able to give them more material” said Usi. Father Andrew Kaufa of TV Luntha who signed the contract on behalf of his TV station said this was another opportunity for more people to watch the soap. “As a TV station we thought it wise to enter into partnership with ADRA to start showing Tikuferanji as part of sensitizing people about the HIV/AIDS PANDEMIC” said Kaufa. He said as a TV station, they acknowledge the fact that HIV/AIDS was killing more people, a development that prompted them to join in the fight. “We are a faith – based TV station which aims at evangelizing but we also have a duty to assist government in various campaigns” he said. Kaufa said they also decided to beam Tikuferanji because it is entertaining and educative. Under the agreement, ADRA will be giving the Tikuferanji productions to TV Luntha just like it does with TVM. Kaufa said TV Luntha will be beaming the soap for free and that other productions not watched on TVM will be included,” he said. He said despite being a religious TV, the content will not be tampered with. “We will have it twice a week starting Saturday from 6:30pm and Wednesday also from 6:30pm,” said Kaufa. TV Luntha which is owned by Montfort Missionaries was opened on 27th May 2007.

The Nation journalist Kondwani Kamiyala writes:

Balaka based Luntha Television on Wednesday entered into a pact with ADRA where the station will air the Tikuferanji soap, which is also aired on Television Malawi. Luntha Deputy Director Father Andrew Kaufa said beaming the soap, which tackles the multi- pronged aspects of the HIV and AIDS pandemic, is within their line of entertaining, educating and informing Malawians. “As soap, Tikuferanji is entertaining as well as educative. It is a powerful means of educating people. These are types of programmes our viewers enjoy. This is our contribution to society,” said Kaufa. Tikuferanji Director Michael Usi said viewers would watch the first episodes of the soap, which was first aired seven years ago. “We are glad to work with Luntha who will air the programme for free. Lovers of the programme will enjoy because we will beam from the very first episodes of the soap” said Usi. According to Usi, this is a new dimension in the Tikuferanji success story: “Tikuferanji has been a success. Several countries have been coming to us on how we do it. Recently I was helping the Burundians set up a programme for children on reconciliation. Some people from Tanzania and Papua New Guinea were here to learn from us.” Established in 2007, Luntha Television covers parts of the Southern Region, including Mulanje, Chiradzulu, Chikwawa, Blantyre, Zomba, Machinga, Mangochi, Ntcheu, Salima and Dedza.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Internal sharing for external impact

On September 8th, at the Blantyre office, ADRA Malawi managers came together for the Project Managers Meeting. The objective of these meetings is to bring all ADRA’s interventions together to share challenges and solutions found as well as the best practices. Other topics of discussion of this specific meeting included the ADRA Malawi Strategic Plan; a presentation of the new Finance and Procurement procedures that directly affect the implementation of the projects; a follow up on the implementation of the new Vehicle and Road Safety Manual; and Human Resources information’s including available employee development opportunities.

On the importance of these meetings, Emanuel da Costa, the Country Director of ADRA Malawi, writes: “These meetings are important as they promote the learning from each other, sharing of challenges/solutions and best practices, but equally important is the opportunity these meetings create to push the team for innovation, relevance, professionalism and transparency…” he continued by adding “…although the agenda for the meeting brings information related to new and updated procedures and systems, the core of these meetings is to promote a common programmatic view of what we do. ADRA Malawi is not an addition of projects but an organization that uses its projects to promote a development agenda, as brought forward in our newly approved Strategic Plan, that is intentionally directed to strengthen the Organization for a greater contribution to the Malawi Development Program and Malawi Millennium Development Goals, and a focus on increasing its reach in improving the lives of people in poverty and distress.”

Emma Jakobo, the manager for the Let’s Fight AIDS in Malawi project, writes: “My short comment is that the meeting was really informative and worthy while. There were indeed issues which needed clarification and that forum just provided a conducive environment for the communication.” on the sharing amongst projects she added, “...above all the sharing of informantion between the projects brings substantial value and allows for an integrated programmatic view of ADRA’s intervention.”

Other participants to the meeting included the ADRA Administrators, all Project Managers, and senior officers such as the Chief Accountant, Logistics and Procurement Officer, and M&E Officer.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Mary, an icon of hope in Waruma Village

Author: Andyiesa Mahango - Women Empowerment Project Manager

Mary Majoni 25, of Waruma Village could not believe that she is now able to read, write and count figures.
Married with four children and expecting a fifth child, Mary has never been to school because she had to look after her mother who was sick persistently before she died 15 years ago. She was the only girl in the family of four children and even if she attained school age, she was forced to cook and care for her sick mother. Her father left them when they were very young and they have never seen him since.
When her mother died, life became unbearable for her and her brothers. Her brothers dropped out of school and preferred casual labor for survival while Mary’s life miseries forced her to get married at the age of 16.
When the Women Empowerment Project came to Waruma Village and introduced adult literacy programs, Mary became one of the first five women to enroll. At the early stages, other women used to laugh at her apparently because adult literacy was a strange program and many thought it would not work for adults. But Mary paid no attention to the scoffs she got from her friends and concentrated on the program. A few months later, things began to change as she was now able to read and write. This became strange news to the whole village and people started to talk about it.
Strangely, the number of people enrolling for adult literacy class rose to 35 from 5 because of Mary’s testimonies.
Mary’s husband is happy too and said in an interview that he did not expect it happen to his wife. Mary uses the knowledge to assist her two children with school home work and helps her husband with their business plans. Mary said she has on several occasions tested for HIV with her husband and she encourages other to do the same. With her fifth pregnancy, Mary has never skipped HIV test at antenatal clinic and she encourages other women who shun antenatal clinic for fear of being tested to go for testing. The Malawi Government has embarked mandatory counseling and testing in a bid to reduce HIV mother to child transmission and Mary is fulfilling her responsibilities to inform others about the right to good health.
Mary however said that the sky was her limit as she intends to enroll into formal education and learn how to speak English and participate at higher levels of community activities. Her husband is a radio repair and they plant cassava seasonally for cash and for consumption. The project intends to link women like Mary to government lending institutions such as MARDEF for business loan. This is part of capacity building and economic empowerment.
This borehole is located few metres from Mary’s house and was made as an ADRA investment in partnership with the community. The provision of easily accessible water gives time to women like Mary to attend adult literacy programs.