Sunday, May 27

Malawi Update

I recently asked one of our St Kizito parishioners who works in the Reserve Bank at Malawi about the current general conditions in his country. He informed me the warm heart of Malawi continues to bleed from the major problem of continuing AIDS deaths and sickness resulting in a growing number of orphans.

More and more elderly people look after very young children.

Malawi is a very poor country without mineral resources, reliant on subsistence agriculture although it has embarked recently on a number of agricultural development programs. In the past when the maze crop failed we assisted with funds for food and to buy new seed. It was pleasing to hear that this years harvest has been excellent, so that past stocks could be exported to Zimbabwe.

The principal exports are tobacco, tea, sugar and coffee and for the first time in 10 years the tobacco crop is fetching good prices. St Kizito is in Lilongwe, the capital city of Malawi and St Kizito assists many of it's outlying communities, particularly at Mtsiriza and Katsiyafumbi. In Mtsiriza and Kasiyafumbi the population is growing and a substation of Ntandire has been established as part of Mtsiriza.

Our current project is to fund a new Church/ Hall at Ntandire.
Building work is progressing very well. More work has been completed since the last photos were taken and they are currently putting on the ring beam and hope soon to buy the timbers for the roof at a cost of US$1500.00 which includes labour for erecting the roof beams. The roofing sheets will cost US$ 5,000.00.

The Parish hall at St Kizito is much more expensive and so far they have dug the foundations only. They are applying to the European Union for a 75% grant for ‘community hall’ and it may cost US$150,000.00.

Our latest advice is : “ With Ntandire when we get the roof on we can use it as Mass Centre and Community hall without plaster/paint/furniture – those are luxuries for the time being! Our aim is to open the church for Dec 07."


Ingrid said...

Lindsay, I was trying to email you but must have copied it wrong. Could you send me another email so I can reply? even if it just says 'hi'. With all the gezillions of emails in my hotmail account, I'm pressed for time hunting it down.. (am watching the kiddies tonight)

Ingrid (will have to read the post later)

Josie said...

Lindsay, I must admit I don't know a great deal about Malawi. Does it have a corrupt government? It's so sad that there are so many African nations that are suffering the same way. AIDS has decimated the continent because they are in such denial about its causes and how to prevent it. It's heartbreaking. Education is the key, isn't it?

I work for the CDC, and there is so much that can be done if only folks could have access to the knowledge and the tools to prevent these awful diseases like AIDS and malaria. But I think their own governments put up barricades to the education.


lindsaylobe said...

Hi Josie
They have set up an anti corruption agency to deal with past corruption, which is having some success. I understand there is about $40 million in identified corruptive ventures over the past 5 years.

Education is now proceeding with HIV/Aids prevention but the damage is already there, with nearly a million infected from a popualtion of 12 million.

Rates of infection have reduced in the capital of Lilongwe, but it remains a problem in outlying rural areas. Education is the key as you say, but with 4 different languages and customs the challenges are enormous and progress appears to be slow. RIV/ drugs are only partially available to assist those infected.

Best wishes

Lee said...

I know scant about Malawi, too, other than what I've read about it in your posts, Lindsay.

Education and birth control education, to my way of thinking are of utmost importance. It becomes a Catch-22 situation in these poor countries. They are starving but are still bringing innocent children into the circle and the circle continues and continues, growing bigger and bigger. And then the poor, innocent little children suffer. Something has to be done to break the circle.

lindsaylobe said...

Hi Lee

The fact that there are growing number of orphans already presents a rather bleak picture. Strategies for protecting the next generation — for tomorrow's children to have healthy parents are imperitives going forward.

On the positive side Malawian youth are becoming better educated about the disease — and about how to protect themselves. As almost all adolescents have heard something about HIV/AIDS, how to avoid transmission of the virus.
Orphans know about HIV — and how to protect themselves from teachers and health care providers — rather than from family members.

But more help is desperately needed in a country that is one of the poorest in the world and whose average life expectancy is now around 38.

On the negative side I understand only about a quarter of young men and just 14% of young women have attended sex education classes.

However the sociol fabric of the community provides an opportunity to provide further education. Nearly all teenagers belong to a church or mosque and attend services at least once a week.

Certainly I know of several AIDS education programmes run within the St Kizito and even featured on my Malawi blog.However the ovearall statistics are far from encouraging.

Much more needs to be accomplished to educate the Youth.What’s needed is help co ordianation from heath professionals.When we think about foreign aid, we often dont associate that with education, and or services, so that a country can help itself.

Young people also say that the biggest barrier to getting help about protecting themselves from sexual risks is that they are shy or embarrassed about seeking care or information. There are social –cultural barriers. Eg Parents and other adults could not talk with young people about sex because of the country’s social conservatism.

The challenge for Malawi and the international aid community is to improve education with a focus on leadership especially on adolescents.
best wishes

Gary said...

You're a good man Lindsay. And you also have humility and I know you don't need to hear that....but you are.


Lee said...

Yes, I can understand and empathise, Lindsay. It's a long and hard road ahead and the journey is slow, but it has begun, which is wonderful. It's such a Catch-22 situation, isn't it? We don't realise how great we have it here and do, at times, take what we have for granted.

Urunji Child-Care Trust said...

I think the most effective way to get things done is to support grassroots organizations to end poverty in Malawi through education. We have taken this approach at Urunji Child-Care Trust and its bearing good fruits.