Our twinning with Engcongolweni, a rural village area in northern Malawi, goes back to 2007. 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.
With some funds provided by the Church, the Friends have been busy building and stocking two pig farms. The plan is to develop a successful breeding programme and use the profits from that to provide financial assistance to vulnerable groups within the local community such as paying secondary school fees for girls. Other benefits expected to flow from the programme are improved health within the community and 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.
The current minister, Rev Allan Mwale, took up his post in December 2018. Rev Alan was born in 1968 and is a Diploma holder with the University of Malawi. He studied for a Bachelor of Divinity degree with Zomba Theological College and is currently working towards his Masters Degree. Rev Alan is married to Kissa Ndovi and they have a family of two daughters, Joy who is at university and Patience who is at Bandawe Girls Secondary School.
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.