Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Mzuzu Police gets capacity building boost on HIV&AIDS

By Judith Kumwenda
90 police officers from Mzuzu Police Station have under gone training in HIV and AIDS in relation to security and safety. The rationale for the training was to ensure that the Police officers had the accurate knowledge and skills on HIV & AIDS. The knowledge acquired included basic information on HIV & AIDS, its transmission, prevention, mitigation and other HIV and AIDS related issues handled and encountered in the police Officers line of duty.
Mzuzu Police earlier submitted a proposal to ADRA Malawi seeking capacity building on matters of HIV & AIDS via the Victim Support Unit. ADRA Malawi through the Action for Social Change Program (ASC) responded by funding the training sessions which involved 90 police officers. The trained police officers are expected to share the knowledge acquired with the rest of the officers at the station. Mzuzu Police Station has 267 officers.
After the training, one of the participants Violet Kabondo, who is also Child Protection Desk Officer at Mzuzu Police Station,   narrated how she found herself exposed to HIV and quickly sought Post Exposure Prophylaxis treatment within the recommended 72 hours as learnt from the training. She thanked ADRA Malawi for the gesture and said that the training she acquired would go a long way preventing HIV and guaranteeing peace of mind.
Violet Kabondo-Child protection Desk Officer holding  a bottle of her Post Exposure Prophylaxis(PEP) treatment.
Speaking in an interview Mzuzu Police AIDS Coordinator SR Chalemera disclosed that the other outcome of the training was that the number of police officers who have disclosed their HIV status has increased from 11 to 20. In separate interview, Mzuzu Police Victim Support unit SR Flora Njawiti said that the training has given her enough strength to reach out to couples on importance of Voluntary Counseling and Testing (VCT). 
The vicinity of Mzuzu Police Station lies on Vipya Plateau surrounded by lowly hills, such as Choma, Mombwe, Kaningina, enyezini, Luhomero and Chiungu and It has seven police Units. The population size of the area is 273, 447. The core duties of Police officers in Mzuzu includes safeguarding the freedoms and rights of all people, maintaining law and order, protecting life and property, preventing crime, investigating and detecting crime and bringing all offenders to justice. However, gender based violence, especially sexually related ones are among the reported crimes on the increase, exposing the victims to the risk of contracting HIV.
The ASC program has also supported similar activities to Police Stations in all the program targeted districts.
The Action for Social Change Program is being supported by Denmark to bring about individual and societal change in Mzuzu, Lilongwe, Machinga and Mulanje.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

FBS casts ray of hope in Lilongwe

By George Kamanga
A new chapter of prosperity has been opened at Traditional Authority Tsabango in Lilongwe as farmers adopt new agribusiness skills acquired from the farmer business school (FBS) at Kan’goma. The school provides a wide range of skills and innovations that give farmers an upper hand to produce and market their farm produce. The skills include production, packaging and displaying of products to attract buyers. The school also places higher emphasis on farming as a business.
Benesi Chikutu who hails from Dzuwa Village in the area is one of the beneficiaries of the school and he walked tall after investing K43, 000 ( about $956) on cabbages and tomatoes through irrigation and he raised K223, 000 (about $4956). Mr Chikutu said in an interview that he had never had such a huge amount in profits ever since he started trading at Chiuzira Market.
 ADRA Malawi through the Action for Social Program launched the farmer business school in July 2013 and built the capacity 25 farmers,  of which 5 of them were women.
A proud Chikutu captured at his farm
From the money raised Mr Chikutu said he bought enough maize to take him through to the other harvesting season and had already paid school fees and farm inputs.
The Action for Social Change Program is being funded by Denmark to bring about individual and society change in Lilongwe, Mzimba, Machinga and Mulanje.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

ADRA Malawi to have wellness policy

By Elias Banda
ADRA Malawi is now set to have the wellness policy after a three- day staff workshop in Blantyre where participants received training on how to mainstream the activities that would guarantee safety of employees at the workplace. The policy is premised on the popular idea that development of any institution depended on the physical and emotional wellbeing of its employees.
Claudio Sandoval addressing participants
 Participants during the workshop

 The wellness policy replaces the HIV/AIDS policy which was already in draft form. The wellness policy would be more encompassing because it covered all other diseases apart from HIV and AIDS that might affect staff ability to positively contribute to the development of the organization.
Speaking during the official opening of the workshop on December 17, 2013, ADRA Malawi Country Director, Claudio Sandoval urged participants to come up with a sound policy that would create an enabling working environment for those physically and emotionally challenged and those affected and infected with HIV/AIDS. He said that the reality of HIV/AIDS was glaring in the society and that everybody was affected in many different ways.
The  workshop drew participants from all ADRA Malawi projects and the policy was expected to launched at least by June 2014.