By: ECM’s Stella Zulu

Rev Fr. Henry Saindi, the Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi has said the year 2018, has been a mixed bag for the Catholic Secretariat due to the fact that the institution has had high moments due to the fact that a number of milestones and successes were achieved but also challenges were encountered during the year.

Fr. Saindi said this in an interview with ECM Communications to give an assessment of how the Secretariat has fared as a church institution mandated to coordinate various activities of the church in Malawi.

Highlighting the successes, the SG mentioned a number which includes the Launch of the new ECM 2018-2022 Strategic Framework at the beginning of the year. This was because the framework that was being used expired and there was need to review and look at the activities of the church in Malawi and come up with another Strategic Framework. He said the major objective of the strategic framework is promotion of integration and collaboration of commissions and directories, improved program quality and sustainability of church institutions.

The SG also mentioned the Revised and improved management standards and policies according to international standards as one of the major achievements by the Catholic Secretariat. He said in the year, the institution managed to review its policies and come up with management standards according to what is expected of members belonging to Caritas family. This will improve service delivery in the country and formulation of policies that are aligned to the international standards.

He continued that the church has also excelled in a number of sectors which include excellent pass-rate in Education as the only student who got six points in the year is from Catholic school and the boys and girls continue to produce good results. In Health, the church is reaching out to all districts in Malawi with interventions to reduce Tuberculosis by the Health Commission with Funding from Global Fund. He said this is in addition to the health services being provided to the entire nation through Christian Health Association of Malawi (CHAM). In development, the church continues to provide humanitarian Aid, Agricultural programs and many interventions to all areas and all people despite their religion affiliation in the country through the Catholic Development Commission (CADECOM). Justice and peace continues to be the conscious of the people and the entire nation in the areas of transparency and accountability, Catholic media reach out to rural masses with the word of God and various projects through both print and electronic media, The Pastoral commission has come up with a pastoral directorate to give direction in so many areas of pastoral activities and also launched the Catechetical syllabus. All these promotes the integral development of a human person

On strategies that helped the Catholic Secretariat achieve all these, Fr. Saindi said the team spirit embraced by Commissions, the spirit of service to the people and adherence to donor requirements led to the realization of the achievements and made the work easier.

On the other hand, the SG said limited funding due to phasing out of many projects and many projects not being approved created a lot of pressure on administration resources. High Staff turnover maybe looking for greener pastures or for studies also disturbed the institution.

He continued that embarking on a serious drive for resource mobilization especially in the projects side, coming up with developmental projects for sustainability of the institution, and carrying on the good works that have been achieved this year, remains items on the Secretariat’s agenda for 2019

Lastly Fr. Saindi thanked Bishops of the Conference who he said are behind the successes of the Catholic Secretariat through their guidance and policy direction in everything. He also thanked Staff Members for their contributions to the achievements of the institution and partners for their endless support. The Secretary General then urged the Staff members and all Catholics to remember that Christmas without Christ is nothing, therefore, the need to make Christ the center of their celebration by celebrating responsibly.