Our twinning with Engcongolweni, a rural village area in northern Malawi, goes back over ten years. The relationship has been beneficial to both congregations with each having a deeper understanding of the other’s situation and how that impacts on people’s lives and faith. The constancy of the Christian faith is the bedrock under-pinning the relationship and overcomes the economic imbalance that is evident between our two communities. Nurturing economic progress is not specifically the role of a church twinning but Dalgety Parish Church recognises that social justice is a prime concern in helping a community rise out of poverty. With its links to the Dalgety Bay Friends of Engcongolweni (a separate charity with its own trustees) the Church is helping with schemes which are bringing health and educational benefits to the community, as well as engendering community sustainability and resilience.
The Church is supporting the Friends in its campaign to increase its membership. With more members the Friends will be able to expand their activities and this will allow greater stability to be brought to a community often not far from the brink of poverty. We would encourage you to read YEWO!, and sign up as a Friend of Engcongolweni.
With some funds provided by the Church, the Friends have been busy building and stocking a pig farm. A successful breeding programme started earlier in the year and this resulted in several piglets being sold, some passed on to other families and some retained for breeding. Funds from the sale of pigs has, this year, resulted in the secondary school fees being paid for eight vulnerable children and food being bought for widows and orphans. Once a second pig farm is fully operational (it is scheduled to open at the end of this year) it is projected that within three years eighty pupils will benefit from secondary school education and seven hundred families will have pigs. The general health of the community has improved, one benefit of which has been increased school attendance. As a by-product, the manure is being spread on the fields for the maize crop resulting in a reduction of fertiliser usage. The pig farms are just one step towards poverty reduction in a country that ranks, on the Human Development Index, 173 out of 182 in the world.
Community progress in Engcongolweni has been over-shadowed by the tragic accident which led to the death of Rev Henry Nkosi’s daughter earlier in the year. Understandably, Rev Henry requested a move away from the area and he relocated at the end of October. Our prayers and blessings go with him and his wife, Tilly, and their family. Engcongolweni look forward to welcoming their new minister, Rev Allan Mwale, of whom we will learn more shortly. 10 facts about poverty in Malawi, which has a population approaching 20 million: 1. The economy is mainly agricultural, constituting of 80 % of the population living in rural areas. 2. Per capita income is £190 per annum 3. 51% of Malawians live below the poverty line 4. Over 1,000,000 people are living with HIV/AIDS 5. About 30 percent of children in Malawi do not start primary school (which is free) and only better-off families can afford secondary school fees. 6. Only 65.8% of Malawi’s population can read and write by age 15 7. The median age for Malawians is 16.4 years old and due to poverty, poor access to health care, disease and food shortage, the average life expectancy is 63 years. 8. There is only one doctor for every 50,000 individuals 9. 10% of the population have no access to clean water (most of which comes from boreholes) and 60% lack improved sanitation 10.In an effort to reduce poverty the International Fund for Agricultural Development is working with Malawi’s government to promote agricultural growth in rural areas.
The Church and the Friends have received a mention in the Scottish Parliament from Annabelle Ewing MSP in the debate on International Development