The Southern Africa Ministry Team is growing in different ways.Growing
Greetings everybody from a very wet Lilongwe, Malawi where the rains have started in earnest. It is my seven-year-old daughter Lucy’s job to check the rain gauge after every downpour and it is the one chore that she gets excited about — Lucy is very detail oriented.
With funding from Baker Health, on-the-ground support from the Anglican Diocese of Niassa in Mozambique, and a church reaching out to its community, beliefs and attitudes about nutrition are changing in the community of Chapitas. This slow and critical work is done person by person, with community members learning, applying, and then sharing nutritional advice that is making a real difference in the lives of children and families there. Here is the story of one of those changed minds changing the minds of others.
You’ve probably seen World Renew use the phrase “Changing the Story” to describe their mission. In the field, we think of this primarily as changing the story of the most poor and vulnerable, those that need a helping hand to move from sheer existence into safety, security, and resilience.
This quarter has seen the closing of our food relief program with United Church of Zambia in Western Province. This two-year program brought much-needed help and assistance to 38,000 people across Mwandi District and was the largest response to El Niño by any single organization in Zambia this year. Over 3850 tons of food and seed were distributed—the equivalent of 129 truck loads! This is an incredible achievement and an incalculable blessing to the people that have been reached.
The crowd bursts into song as we arrive. With happy syncopated clapping and harmonizing, the group escorts us to the benches that have been prepared for our arrival. After the usual formal introductions, the dialogue about their health program begins. The problems are similar to those in other places: The health center is too far. There is not enough clean water. Nearly everyone has either lost a child due to illness, or knows someone who has. Malnutrition remains a problem. Malaria continues to kill people. About 12% of the population lives with HIV/AIDS.
The fall armyworm is an invasive alien pest that has blighted much of southern Africa’s maize crop this year. Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Malawi have all reported widespread outbreaks, and we have seen the trail of destruction throughout many of our program areas. The pest is not so much a worm as a caterpillar, and its common name derives from the way these invaders generally come in overwhelming numbers, giving the appearance of an army crawling and eating their way through a field.