Chilenje youths speak self-reliance

Malawi Social Enterprise

As Malawi denounces donor dependency, youths are also walking in the same path by championing various agricultural, business and village savings among other projects to transform their own lives.

The youth—who are in majority in as far as the estimted 16 million population is concerned— share the same view with those of economists, human rights commentators, religious bodies that Lilongwe stop depending on donors.

Malawi Social Enterprise
Harvesting time Chilenga youth

Donors were until the leadership of former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika contributing 40 percent to the country’s national budget.

Initially, Mutharika after a donor freeze in 2011 introduced called the zero deficit budget, a financial plan model which was later thrown into the dust-bin when Joyce Banda took over following the death of Mutharika in 2012.

True to this, thirty-year-old Herbert Malenga from Mgola Village Head, Traditional Authority (T/A) Mazengera curses days he depended on his parents without thinking of using his head and hands to better his life.

He used to ask for money, food, clothes and many more things from his parents, yet he was a fully grown up man to make ends meet on his own.

Malenga’s dependence his parents grew haphazardly when he got married. This in the eyes and brains of many raised questions as to why he married.

Malenga’s poor thinking was due to alcoholism. He was an addict of smoking and alcohol. He often times had no kind words and respect for his wife so too his parents who used to support him.

“I was more into alcohol and smoking. I never thought of graduating into self-reliance as a family man because my knowledge was focused on smoking and drinking beer,” he says.

Today, Malenga is now a completely changed person courtesy of Nkhoma Youth Department of the Nkhoma CCAP Synod which saw the need to champion evangelism, leadership, business entrepreneurship training to change such souls.

The department trained Malenga and other 36 youths so that they contribute positively to the community and nation at large.

Malenga can now preach the Gospel, engage in farming activities and do village savings together with his colleagues who formed Chilenje Youth Club in 2013 following the training to sustain their families.

“We borrowed the idea of forming a club from Mbuna Youth Club who were more into Malaria, HIV and Aids awareness programs. The club was doing wonders and as youths we thought we needed to do the same here,” he says.

Malenga and other members also do pig farming. Proceeds from the farming are used to pay school fees for the needy, expecially those sitting for examinations apart from saving for future use.

The club has since managed to save K20 000 (U$28) in village savings done through member contributions. Members also borrow and pay back with interest to the village savings.

“The whole essence of village savings is to build our own offices. Our expectation is that we save more money and then build the office block,” he explains.

Members of Chilenje Club further want to venture into poultry and dairy farming to ensure that their children are food and financially secure.

Since Malawi’s economy is agro-based, the club is poised to go full throttle into griculture as advised by World Vision and other partners.

Malenga as lead person of the club leads by example. He grows tobacco, potatoes and maize. Not only that he has a tomato field from which he earned about K100 000 (U$14) in January. He is a CCAP church member.

Malenga’s vision is to see youths in Chilenje live a self-reliance and spiritual life as is the case with him.

Currently, Nkhoma Youth Department is training the likes of Malenga in sustainability matters so that clubs dependent on their own.

“We thought of entrepreneurship training so that youth clubs sustain their own operations even if World Vision stops its revolving fund. This is why, we encourage them to do small scale businesses.

“As Nkhoma Youth Department, we monitor every project youths do to see the impact,” says programs officer Kennedy Chabwera.

Under Nkhoma-Chilenje AP of the World Vision are 14 youth clubs. Y-Malawi through World Vision finances such initiatives.




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