ZEC's Relief and Development department was created to bring aid to refugees who fled to Malawi during
the 1980s to escape the civil war in Mozambique and that work continued until the people returned to
their home country in the early 1990s. The department then changed its focus towards assisting local
marginalised communities lacking necessities like water, food and health care. Most of Malawi's people
live in rural areas and are for the most part poverty stricken.
In this way the Church is undertaking holistic development in a Gospel context.
When needs arise Zambesi Mission helps ZEC in a number of its projects. These include
|EMERGENCY FOOD DISTRIBUTION
Several times in recent
years, notably 2002-3 and 2005-6, ZM has assisted ZEC in the distribution of money, grain, seed
corn and fertilizer following the failure of the rains.
These photos show a totally
empty grain store
with the next harvest not due for eight months!
relief supplies during a food shortage.
It is also important to remember that a large proportion of the population
has no regular reliable food supply. At best a family, which is frequently
extended with orphans and needy relatives, will have
a small piece of land from which to eke out supplies.
This means that every
year there are people who are critically short of food in the months approaching
the next harvest. Every year someone needs help!
In Africa It doesn't take a famine to cause a food crisis!
|COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROJECTS
situation highlights the need to develop varied and sustainable food supplies and ZEC has several
schemes underway. The work includes projects with
fish, bees, poultry and goats. Also trials with organic farming and nurseries for trees and new crops.
One of the community fish ponds
|BEE KEEPING and other INCOMING GENERATING PROJECTS
The projects at Ntonda Hospital are providing good quality honey for nourishment, medicinal purposes and as an income generating scheme.
Other projects give villagers supplementary sources of income. This is done at present on a very small scale through loans and some training in business management.
Statistics show a very high level of illiteracy in the country
particularly among women. ZEC classes are well attended by older women although men are showing greater
interest now. Encouragingly, they often want to attend so that they can read and understand the Bible.
Ladies class at ZEC Mzimba
ZEC's Education Department
is currently helping a number of young people to obtain training in business studies,accounting, sales,
marketing, computing, driving and electrical, plumbing and carpentry skills.
Students studying accounting and marketing in Blantyre
|WATER AND SANITATION
One of the greatest needs in rural communities across
the world is for a reliable supply of clean water and, with over 90% of the people living in very basic
conditions in rural areas, Malawi is more in need than most countries.
A typical water source in rural Malawi
Presently ZEC/ZM is not directly
involved in the costly work of sinking borehole but from time to time we are able to contribute to
the many projects of the CoolerAid Lifeline Fund with
which we are in close fellowship.
With the problem reaching epidemic proportions in Malawi,
the department has formed a number of anti AIDS campaign groups to teach the people (at ZEC clinics
and Churches) about the danger of AIDS and the importance of God honouring relationships.
It is also
planned to form home based care groups to make sure that people who are sick, and often facing discrimination,
are properly cared for. Volunteers are to be trained for this task.