After 16 and 17 years of working side-by-side with the people of Kamwendo (Mulanje) and Mkhumba (Phalombe) respectively, World Vision is stepping aside to allow them to walk towards the future using the knowledge and skills the organisation partnered with them to develop.
On the departure day, the two communities and World Vision celebrated work done in health and nutrition, food security and resilience, water, sanitation, hygiene and literacy.
The Results Speak For Themselves
In Mkhumba community, stunting in children under the age of 5 years old dropped from 45% in 2006 to 37% in 2016; in Kamwendo community the numbers went from 38% to 35% in the same time frame.
In the area of literacy, communities celebrated that Dzenje Education Zone, where Dzenje Primary school comes from, has risen to be the best performing in Malawi! And, Kamwendo Zone is home to the second best school in the Shire Highlands education division.
Passing the Torch
As World Vision transitions away from the two communities, a colourful event was held at Namanjerema Primary School in Phalombe. The event was attended by the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Ben Phiri, who said the only way for the two communities is forward.
“As a ministry, through the District Councils, we will ensure that these communities are closely watched to ensure they sustain the interventions done,” he said, before calling upon Council leadership to create room for the expertise left by World Vision to benefit other communities.
“What we’ve seen here is what development is all about, taking people from one level to the other with little focus on handouts [and much focus on] mindset change,” he added as he paid homage to World Vision, an organisation he said “is a true partner of the Malawi people”.
Dreams Come True
Giving testimony to the work of World Vision, Blessings Jamten, 24, a former sponsored child, now a Physiotherapist at Malawi’s biggest referral hospital, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QUECH), thanked the organisation for helping, not only him, but loads of other children to live their dreams.
“For some of us who were orphans and were so eager for change, you took up the role of our mother and father and made our dreams come true, something we will forever be grateful,” said Jamten before adding that they’ll do their best as former sponsored children to help future generations of children reach their dreams as well.
Jamten lost his parents when he was just seven years old. Through special support, World Vision paid his high school fees and provided further support in college.
The Importance of Working Together for a Shared and Brighter Future
In his remarks, World Vision’s Advocacy and Communications Director in Malawi, Charles Gwengwe, thanked government extension workers for having worked side-by-side with their counterparts from World Vision in rewriting fortunes of the two communities.
World Vision started working with the people of Mkhumba and Kamwendo communities in 2002 and 2003 respectively thanks to support from child sponsors in Germany. Over the years, the two programmes have reached more than 60,000 people from the two districts.
In her remarks, World Vision Germany’s Programme Officer for Malawi, Ursula Messner, thanked World Vision Malawi for a job well done noting that through the testimonies made by beneficiaries, it was proof to sponsors that the organization had delivered its promise to improve lives of children in need. “We go back satisfied and proud of what has been achieved here,” said Messner.