Monday, January 14, 2013

Machinga man breaks silence on male adult learning

By George Million
The common sight suggests that only women go for adult learning in Machinga as men retract because they feel ashamed to learn in the presence of women. A few men who join the adult classes are ridiculed by fellow men and they eventually drop on the way, leaving women to continue with the informal education. However, this was different with Pias Bunnet who braved the mockery from fellow men and vowed to continue with adult learning until he would acquire writing, reading and counting skills. Piasi said he had never been involved in any formal education since he was born 48 years ago. He said since he joined Nthundu REFLECT Circle in August 2012, his situation has improved and he could read a few words in a sentence.
Nthundu REFLECT Circle is among the 9 circles established and supported by ADRA Malawi through Action for Social Change (ASC) Program in Machinga District to facilitate community dialogue sessions and adult learning.  Across the program, ADRA Malawi has facilitated establishment of 39 REFLECT circles in Mzimba, Lilongwe, Machinga and Mulanje.
Piasi Bunnet captured among women during an adult class session
Piasi hinted that his main goal is to participate in leadership positions at his church and in some community based organizations where he is a member. He said he would launch a campaign challenging fellow men to join the adult learning classes.
The Action for Social change program is being supported by Denmark to bring about individual and society change in Mzimba, Lilongwe, Machinga and Mulanje districts.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Village Bank, a ray of hope for Nkhumba village community

By Stanley Mpasa

The Nkhumba Village Banking Group In Phalombe District has a humble history as it started in January 2012  by ADRA Malawi Trainer of Trainers (TOT) Project counselors . The main objective of setting up a bank was to improve the financial status of members who mostly challenged by the impact of HIV/AIDS.   Today, the group membership has grown to 22, of which 19 of them are women while 3 are men.

Members contribute K500 ($1.5) each week and by November 2012, the Group had accumulated K144, 000 ($1028.57) and members get small loans which are repaid at 20% interest.

In an interview, Nkhumba Village Bank Spokes person who declined to be named said bank members were using the loans to carry out small scale businesses that help them generate income to meet their daily needs.

The spokesperson also said that his group was visited regularly by the District Social Welfare Office staff who gave them directions how to run the bank effectively.  He said the DSW office recently contributed a cash box for the group to keep the money safe.
 Village Bank members with Claudio and Stanley
The spokesperson however said the main challenge facing the group is lack of capacity to manage the banking system. He said the group has never been trained in any skills associated with village banking.

Meanwhile the wife of the Lomwe Paramount Chief Nkhumba has joined the group and has been elected as the Treasurer. Group members described the presence of the Paramount Chiefs wife  as big inspiration and that their group had a brighter future.

The TOT project is targeting 19 sites in Southern Malawi and is being supported by Sweden to increase counseling skills and support services that lead to the improved quality of life of those infected and affected with HIV/AIDS.