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The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP)-Mangochi Diocese says it is increasingly engaging communities in innovations towards improving the management of natural resources in Mangochi District under the Millennium Challenge Account–Malawi (MCA-Malawi) funded project.

The Diocese is implementing a Social and Gender Enhancement Fund (SGEF) project within the MCA-Malawi ENRM-SGEF Project, a component of the $350.7 million Malawi Compact.

The three-year project, ‘Empowering of Communities in Lingamasa for Power generation, ’is being implemented in the upper Shire River covering Lingamasa Hotspot and the impact area is covering 31 villages within seven Group Village Headmen within Traditional Authority Chowe in Mangochi District.

According to Bruno Banda, CCJP Mangochi Diocesan Secretary, since inception in August 2015, the project has improved equitable land management, through a number of interventions such as re- afforestation through promotion of tree regeneration.

“As one way of diverting the beneficiaries from wanton cutting down of trees for charcoal burning and firewood as sources of income, CCJP is building the capacity of the beneficiaries with business and marketing skills, village savings and loans (VSLs), livestock production and pass on program,” says Banda.

Such initiatives, Banda says, have seen most of their beneficiaries earning more money, hence are able to meet other household needs.

Further, Banda explains that CCJP is capacitating women in leadership skills, and lobbying men and local leaders to accommodate women in decision making positions.

He says this has translated in more women assuming leadership positions such as in village tribunals, ADC, VDCs and contributing effectively in family set up.

Banda further says this has translated into more women assuming leadership positions while actively participating in matters of public affairs.

Some of the areas where women are actively participating in leadership positions include village tribunals, village forestry committees, reflect circles, among others.

“A lot of strides have been made in terms of educating the communities to manage their environment sustainably through forest regeneration programs and planting of more trees especially fruit trees hence CCJP seeks to scale up these activities after Compact close out,” adds Banda.

Taking his turn, Traditional Authority Chowe says since inception of the project by CCJP Mangochi Diocese, most beneficiaries seen positive behaviors, including family joint decision making and budgeting which he says has greatly reduced cases of abuse of family resources by spouses mainly men.

“This has helped promote cordial relationships, accountability and transparency within family set up resulting in peaceful coexistence among women and men. This has increased their productivity in development work as well as household income generation,” he explains.


Bruno Banda