Offering hope, not handouts…
Through each of our 9 programs and initiatives, we aim to strengthen organizational capacity through the promotion of continuous training in administrative and financial management of donor funds. This helps us to achieve effectiveness and efficiency in service delivery of the organization’s planned activities within the community. We are always seeking fresh and innovative ways to expand these services within our community. Our goal is to rebuild our community through volunteerism, skills training and salaried employment opportunities.
Although we do encourage emergency relief services, care packages for the elderly, medical care for the indigent and school supplies for children, our primary goal is to fund programs and activities that will lead to self sufficiency and not donor dependence.
Each year, the organization continues to provide educational resources that help to create opportunities for quality education as well as develop the capabilities of the students at various levels. We aim to increase the academic potential of orphans and other vulnerable children through our programs in early childhood development and learning, after school homework help and enrichment activities for grade school children, educational sponsorship and skills training for youth, and adult literacy programs. Early childhood development aims at promoting school readiness of needy preschool-age children by enhancing their cognitive, social, and emotional development for an increase in academic performance in later years. The program provides 20 hours of learning and stimulation per week, providing psychosocial care and protection for approximately 700 preschool orphans and other vulnerable children enrolled at the organization’s seven learning centers. Two trained volunteer caregivers per zone are assigned for each of the seven centers.
After school homework help and enrichment programs are offered to children grades 1 through 8, and are aimed at providing students an opportunity to increase their academic potential in reading, writing and math skills through an individualized, small group tutoring program. Approximately 1,300 children from surrounding area schools attend afterschool educational and recreational enrichment activities. Each of the seven learning centers is provided with one certified teacher mostly retired teachers from around the organization’s 50 village community. Children at risk of academic failure get priority for enrollment to the afternoon and enrichment activities. In addition to educational programs, children attending preschool and after school homework help, receive nutritious hot meals to keep them healthy thereby reducing absenteeism. The children also receive uniforms, blankets, take home food items, clothing, shoes, school supplies, soap, school supplies to name a few.
Parents and guardians of orphans and other vulnerable children participate in the organization’s adult literacy classes and other enrichment activities. Those who attend have reported greater success in obtaining literacy skills and have become active participants in their children’s educational development. Currently only one zone or center offers the program and plans are underway to integrate adult literacy classes at all our centers.
In addition to the above programs, Children’s hope Malawi offers educational scholarships to train in vocational and livelihood skills to post-secondary orphans and other vulnerable children in order to equip them with skills linked to identifiable markets for income generating purposes. One deserving student was awarded a scholarship to train as an electrician at a vocational school far away from the village. The organization’s criterion for selecting students for vocational training sponsorship is four years of volunteer work while attending secondary school. In future, the organization plans to extend education scholarships to postsecondary students with proven academic performance seeking higher education. Future plans include integrating programs for young vulnerable grade school girls between 9 and 12 years old at risk of teen pregnancy and early marriages. The program will seek to remove the girls from home where they are subjected to cultural practices that prohibit learning and lead to teen pregnancy and early marriages among girls and be placed in primary boarding schools where they are likely to graduate and enter secondary education.
We see great need to improve the quality of life for the under-served population including vulnerable children by ensuring easy access to basic health care; to promote access to resources and information on HIV/AIDS and other communicable and sexually transmitted disease to children, youth and the wider community; and to improve access to safe water and sanitation. A new village clinic was officially opened in May 2011 and is open to the general public six times a week as an outpatient clinic at minimal fee. The clinic offers preventive health services, family planning, under five clinic, rapid laboratory tests (includes pregnancy, malaria and HIV/AIDS testing), assessment and referral services to other clinics and district hospitals. Future plans includes providing antiretroviral treatment for people living with the HIV/AIDS virus, and also palliative care support for the elderly now experiencing fragile health conditions with minimal external health support. The clinic, which is manned by a salaried project nurse, clinician and laboratory technician, has saved hundreds of lives in its six years of operation
We plan to increase initiatives that will improve the community’s access to adequate and safe water and sanitation by constructing more water points and advocating good sanitation habits throughout the entire village community. We aim to improve access to safe water and adequate sanitation, as well as supporting the application of good hygiene practices and community water management.
Income generating initiatives aim to improve the economic security for households looking after orphans and other vulnerable children, the elderly and people living with HIV/AIDS. Because women, bear the burden of supporting households, CHM in collaboration with the community supports Income generation activities such as bakery, arts and crafts and sewing activities. Initiatives such as maize milling, dairy farming and retail sales shop support budget operations. Future plans include skills training and fund credit support for women to engage in large scale income generating activities at both at household and community level.
As 80% of Malawians work in the capacity of small-scale farmers, we strive to support agricultural and food security initiatives by providing seed and fertilizer for communal gardens. Access to food tends to be scarce for the most vulnerable with most living in poverty eating only once meal per day. This is incredibly taxing on persons living with HIV/AIDS as the medications are meant to be taken with food to minimize gastro-intestinal discomfort. Through farming, the organization is able to produce maize, peanuts, soya and soya beans. We provide these food items for school children attending our programs, needy elderly looking after orphans and other vulnerable children and also needy HIV/AIDS patients to boost the vitamin content of their diets. The communal farming projects are managed by village committees. Future plans includes helping vulnerable households and communities to set up farming support groups or farmer’s clubs and training events for local farmers through which they can access extension aid services, seeds, fertilizer, and other farm inputs. This will also facilitate markets for their produce. Embarking on large scale cooperative farming through irrigation is another considering for the future to ensure that communities sustain enough harvest to last an entire agricultural cycle and provide food security for all need families, particularly those most afflicted by poverty.
It is essential for us to support initiatives that will facilitate the improvement of community infrastructure development. In the past years the organization has worked with chiefs and villagers to promote the improvement of village infrastructure such as village access roads or footpaths, foot bridges, community learning centres and at ;east one health centres for the community. With the support of donors specifically the Rotary Club of Saskatoon and Hope for Malawi Foundation, Saskatoon, Five learning centers, 7 footbridges, and a health center were completed in 2011. The learning centers now provide a decent learning environment for the entire community. Currently, we are soliciting support from other donors to construct two more learning centers for the remaining two centers where children are currently learning under a tree. The newly Improved footpaths and footbridges not only unite village communities and provide a safe dry crossing over swampy streams for school children especially during the rainy season, but also provide the community easy access to markets, health centers and other essential services.
Given the threat of global warming, it is essential for rural agrarian societies to initiative sustainable conservation initiatives. We aim to achieve this through strategic partnerships with other organization and engage community leaders in finding alternative sources of energy. Our organization will promote awareness campaigns for environmental conservation after consultation with community leaders. This will help us to identify alternative sources of energy for the communities, which rely on wood and coal burning as primary sources of energy.
We promote all efforts to participate in critical human rights and democratic initiatives to ensure that all the rights of all members of the communities are valued. This is involves both sensitizing the community at large, especially women and youths, about their individual and communal rights and processes, but also educating individuals about their basic rights and access to justice, through both traditional and federal courts.
Preservation of culture is an essential component to insuring the high spirits and dignity of any community. We actively promote and sponsor community sports, recreation and culture initiatives such as sports tournaments, music, dramatic performance and other forms of traditional arts; this is aimed not only at preserving the rich cultural heritage of the communities, but also as a means to use traditional practices as an effective means to promote educational initiatives, particularly in the fight against the spread of AIDS.
Each year, the organization launches a sports events for boys and girls as part of the community HIV/AIDS campaign through sports. Inter-zone soccer & netball competition matches for a prized trophy are held once a year and qualified teams compete in the December (HIV/AIDS awareness month) sports tournaments. The sports are part of the organization’s campaign to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS virus and also raise education awareness among the target population. Aside from sports, the youths will also engage in other activities such as music, drama and other forms of traditional arts that keep them busy and therefore, away from unsafe practices. Future plans include building a youth center at the core site to support cultural enrichment and the uplifting of the community.