Month: May 2020

The Journey to Economic Independence

The Journey to Economic Independence

Fadzai Chinyanyu Maramba is one of the several community agents working with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe ( ELCZ) Malaria Project. Her journey to economic independence began in 2015 when she partnered with ELCZ.  When the project introduced saving and lending schemes, she was one of the first few people to join though she was sceptical about the benefits of the scheme. Fadzai said that they were sceptical about the Lutheran Church because unlike other organisations, it was not distributing any handouts. She however joined nine other women to try the concept of saving and lending.

By June 2016, Fadzai’s  group which was saving $30 per month managed to buy a kitchen unit or a wardrobe for each member. Fadzai opted for a kitchen unit since she did not have one. The next half of 2016 they bought a heifer for each member. Fadzai said that the heifer has brought her four  more cattle with two heifers among them. “ By the end of 2020, I expect 2 more calves to bring the total  of my cattle to 6. I stand tall, my status in the community has changed. I have been empowered economically. Before, I did not have livestock except for just 2 goats.” Fadzai said.

Figure 1: Fadzai Chinyanyu from Gokwe North community

Figure 1: Fadzai Chinyanyu from Gokwe North community

In pursuit of a better life, Fadzai bought household utensils in 2017. At the end of the year, the group shared their savings. With that money in her pocket, Fadzai started doing buying and selling business. This boosted her personal savings and she decided to do a facelift of her homestead. By mid 2018, she managed to raise sufficient money to buid herself a kitchen. In Africa, every woman prides herself in her kitchen. That is why some go to the extent of using different materials to decorate it. Fadzai said “My husband has been very supportive of my work but after I managed to raise enough material for the whole room, his level of recpect increased. I now believe all things are very possible through hard work”

Figure 2: The inside and outside of Fadzai’s kitchen

Figure 2: The inside and outside of Fadzai’s kitchen

Just like any life’s journey, Fadzai’s  journey  was not spared from challenges. She faced a lot of challeges mainly from drought and  the economy. She came to a time when money was fast loosing its value  and the group did not know what to do. Some group members decided to stop saving since even raising money was also becoming a big challenge. With the few that had remained in the group, Fadzai continued to save.The group however decided that every amount saved was to be converted into forex, either Rand or US dollar. By this she mantained the value of her money. With a smile on her face, Fadzai explained how she used the money she saved in 2018, “ As a woman who had a goal to start a reliable business, the money that we shared at the end of 2018, I bought a freezit making machine. I am using the machine to generate more money as I am the only local producer at our business centre. Hey I am now a business woman through savings and lending schemes. I produce as many a 12-20 cartons of freezits per day depending with demand.”

Even though the Zimbawean currency continues to lose value, Fadzai has learnt from the project the need to invest in assets. She appreciates a learning visit which was conducted in 2019.  The learning visit helped her to appreciate the need to have generational businesses.  She and a few other community members visited a cooperative which has been in operation since 1963. This motivated Fadzai  to mobilise her community to start an agricultural cooperative.She formed a group of eighteen people to start on the agricultural venture.

In the 2019 agricultural season, Fadzai’s group, put 2 hectares of land  under  groundnut production. Though the rains were not enough, the group harvested 140 x 20 litre buckets of ground nuts that are unshelled. They intend to sell some as raw nuts and the bulk  of it will be used to produce peanut butter. Fadzai is confident that marketing and branding their peanut butter will not be a challenge as the ELCZ Malaria project has taught them how to do it.

 

“This is my journey with Lutheran, from no cattle to a proud owner of 4 cattle, an owner of a nice homestead,  a business woman, a seasoned farmer” beamed Fadzai. Her journey did not result only in economic independence but  in food security, improved quality of life and woman empowerment.

Figure 3: Part of the groundnuts Fadzai harvested from the cooperative field

Figure 3: Part of the groundnuts Fadzai harvested from the cooperative field

Posted by in Malaria
In Celebration of our Community Heroes

In Celebration of our Community Heroes

Figure 1: Albert Mugwachari, Zimbabwe, Gokwe North Musadzi Village Health Worker

As the world grapples with Covid-19, Albert Mugwachari, a village health worker in Gokwe North in Zimbabwe remembers how he has served his community for over 15 years. His work involves health education, malaria testing, disease surveillance and community mobilisation. Gokwe North has been known for high malaria incidences for a very long time. The now popular phrase ‘frontline workers’ reminds Albert of how he has been on the front line of fighting malaria in his community.  Unlike the Covid-19 frontline workers however, Albert’s work has been 100% voluntary.  Sometimes he cycles for long distances in order to reach to a village in need of his services. His satisfaction comes from the impact of his work in the community.  Whilst the whole world is focusing on Covid-19, Albert is observing the high cases of malaria being recorded in his community and wonders how the outbreak is going to be addressed. Even though he is doing his part, he feels more needs to be done.

Since the coming in of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Zimbabwe (ELCZ) in Albert’s community in 2014, malaria cases started to drop. ELCZ’s interventions did not only contribute to the reduction of morbidity and mortality due to malaria but brought real and expected behaviour change. This was evident especially among vulnerable groups like pregnant women and children under five.  The most significant change that shocked the community was the way apostolic sect groups accepted the teaching and practices introduced by ELCZ. One of the sects was trained in saving and lending schemes. “This was a double win for us since they were now opening up to other people. We took this opportunity to continue sharing with them issues on malaria and other diseases.” Albert said.

Albert’s community uses long lasting insecticidal mosquito net as one of the vital weapons in the fight against malaria. Albert takes it upon himself to go door-to-door teaching and demonstrating to his community how the nets are supposed to be hung and how to use them. “I will always remember Lutheran for the net hang up campaigns and World Malaria day commemorations. These had great impact on my community. My clinic was one of the health facilities that recorded the least cases of malaria from 2014 to 2018” Albert explained.

Albert bemoans the reduction in activity from ELCZ malaria project as he says that since 2018, malaria cases began to rise. He said, “For these 2 years that you have not been as active as you used to be, some things have changed.  I am not so sure if it is behaviour relapse” The most affected group is the apostolic sect and Albert believes that if ELCZ engages them, they will respect it since it is a church organisation.

It is because of people like Albert that the work of ELCZ malaria project has thrived. Albert represents a lot more volunteers who sacrifice their lives, time and effort to serve their brethren.  Theirs is pure sacrificial love. Even in the wake of Covid-19 when everyone wants to close their doors and hide themselves from their neighbours, these brave men and women are finding means to reach to their neighbour. With very limited resources, they still use what they have to reach out to their communities. This is the reason that ELCZ Malaria project celebrates community heroes like Albert Mugwachari!

Posted by in Malaria
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia- ELCIN

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia- ELCIN

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Re: The Covie-19 pandemic and Namibia

The evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN) is in solidarity of prayers and meditations with all Christian brothers and sisters locally and internationally in combating the global pandemic of Covid-19. Namibia is also affected.  However, we thank God that so far only 16 Covid-19 cases have been officially, noted in Namibia. Eight people of the sixteen have been discharged and other eight under medical supervision and observation. We believe these eight people, too, will be released soon. In the face of this pandemic, ELCIN remains vigilant and recommends all her members to adhere to the set up health regulations. When necessary, ELCIN is also prepared to be robust.

ELCIN Bishops.- Bishop Nambala & Bishop Munyika

ELCIN Bishops.- Bishop Nambala & Bishop Munyika

You might have heard what ELCIN has decided to do. But this is to officially inform all partners that due Covid-19, ELCIN resolved to put aside some of the major events which were planned for the year 2020, among others:

  1. Ordination of new pastors scheduled in June 2020, has been postponed until further notice.
  2. 150 years Mission Festival scheduled in early July 2020, has been postponed to unnamed date in 2021.
  3. All Pastors’ Conference scheduled in August 2020, has been postponed to 23 – 26 November 2020.
  4. ELCIN further resolved to minimize and discourage congested gatherings at worship services and at all other church related coming together such as baptisms, weddings, memorials and funerals.
  5. All members are encouraged to hold worship services at home (Mt 18: 19 – 20). Above all, all church members and Christians in general are admonished to keep the spirit of constant prayer and surrendering the whole pandemonium situation to God, for God to intervene, (Ps 46: 1; John 17:11)

We apologize to all invited friends, brothers and Sisters for the inconvenience causes as the above mentioned festival are no longer possible to take place as planned before.

Posted by in The Lutheran World Federation