Story Written by Arnold Namanja,ECM Correspondent
The Catholic Development Commission in Malawi (CADECOM) of Mangochi Diocese has launched a five year strategic plan which runs through 2017 to 2022 whose major focus is on food security.
The strategy has seven pillars which include increasing food security and nutrition, increase and link households to viable economic activities, resilience to climate change and disaster risk reduction interventions, increase access to clean and potable water, youth and women economic empowerment, human resource development and cross cutting issues related to gender and HIV/Aids.
Mangochi Diocese CADECOM serves three districts of Balaka, Machinga and Mangochi through fully fledged projects in 10 parishes of Nankhwali, Nankumba, St. Augustine, Katema, Mpili, Ulongwe, Utale 1 and 2, Chiphwanya and Monkey Bay.
Speaking when he launched the strategic plan at Mpili Parish on Tuesday, Bishop of Mangochi Diocese, Montfort Stima observed that CADECOM came into being after noticing that the former development arm of the church in Caritas was not self sustaining.
Stima pointed out that CADECOM was introduced to bring ownership and sustainability of initiatives among beneficiary communities besides empowering people to actively participate in self – help activities.
“The church follows that principle which encourages teaching a person how to fish than giving them the actual fish which is not sustainable because when you teach someone how to fish they will always fend for themselves,” Stima said.
The prelate said all the interventions that CADECOM undertakes strive at ensuring having food security at both household and national levels through conservation agriculture and less dependence on organic fertilizers.
He said the country needed to move away from overdependence on rain – fed agriculture which he said has proved not to be effective instead encouraged smallholder farmers to embark on small scale irrigation activities.
Stima, therefore, challenged people to change their mindset in terms of agriculture production from the traditional practices to more productive methods using treadle pumps and other modern farming technologies.
‘Unless we change the kind of thinking issues of food security will continue to be elusive,” he observed.
On economic empowerment, Stima said CADECOM deliberately engages communities in village savings and loans to promote a culture of saving and allow groups provide loans to each other within their local communities.
“The essence is to look at the whole being through empowering communities for integral sustainable development,” he said.
Stima asked traditional leaders to come up with meaningful by – laws which would help their subjects to be productive and contribute meaningfully to the country’s development.
He also appealed to beneficiaries of CADECOM development initiatives to devise ways of consolidating some of the efforts in a bid to make Malawi a prosperous nation.
“We would like to respond to government’s call of which it would like to take people elsewhere from 52 years of independence to a nation that is progressive,” Stima added.
Board Member of Mangochi Diocese CADECOM, George Chimphonda asked communities to support the commission in the implementation of the strategy, noting that the development arm serves all people without regard to their denomination.
“Actually, we take our development initiatives to the area where people are responsive and willing to work with us,” Chimphonda said, appealing to the local leadership to render the necessary support to the commission.
Chimphonda said the strategy comes after a very thorough analysis which showed that issues of food insecurity coupled with climate change are quite crucial, poor economic empowerment, vocational skills for the youth and adult literacy classes.
“CADECOM realizes that some of us never had the opportunity to go to school that is the reason we would like to establish functional literacy classes to fill that gap to foster development in that regard,” he said, adding that self – reliance was at the centre of the strategy.
Mangochi District Council Principal Administrative Officer, Dominic Mwandira said the launch of the strategic plan provides direction to an organisation as such it will go a long way in complementing the council in its efforts of executing the district development plan.
“In which case by launching the strategic plan, it is our expectation that we will move along together in 2017 – 2022 with CADECOM to address some of challenges being faced by the council,” Mwandira said.