Archive for January, 2019

Gender-Based Violence and Female Empowerment in Malawi

January 31st, 2019

“Unfortunately, gender-based violence remains a serious development challenge in Malawi. Women and girls in Malawi fare worse than their male counterparts on socio-economic indicators including literacy, secondary and tertiary education enrolment and completion, wage equality, political participation, and literacy. Despite their critical role in food production for their households, Malawian women have little control over land, even when it is their own.” - USAID

This is one of the key drivers for our mission, to give children the skills to grow themselves, to help help women feed themselves and their families, and to facilitate access to land. And it’s why The Tuesday Trust strongly believes in supporting girls staying longer in education.



How to Change the Story for Girls

January 28th, 2019

Despite heroines like Chief Theresa Kachindamoto, too many young girls, many only 12 or 13 years old find themselves being “married” off and are quickly pregnant. Malawi has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world. It’s starting to change. The govt. is intervening, but it needs to be addressed at village level. Girls need to feel protected, nurtured and empowered as early as possible. So it was wonderful to find this pupil poster in one of the schools we support for our TT growing project, Namachete. Here’s a powerful manifesto to start changing that story.

Poster at Namachete school

Rates of Child Marriage Malawi

See more at Girls Not Brides.

Female Chief Terminates 850 Child Marriages

January 24th, 2019

This is great story of change, hope and female empowerment in Malawi from

Theresa Kachindamoto
Female Chief Terminates 850 Child Marriages In Malawi And Sends Girls Back To School
by Emilyn Gil

Like most young girls, I spent many hours of my childhood daydreaming about marriage. I imagined the delicate roses my husband would buy to propose to me with, the layers upon layers of white silk and lace for my wedding dress, and let’s not forget the magnificent castle where it would all take place, of course.

Little did I know that even while I was dreaming up my fairy tale of a wedding, across the world in Malawi, girls my same age were being sent away by their parents to be married and have families of their own.

A Girl’s Role In Malawi Tradition

Malawi, a small country located in the southeast region of Africa, is considered one of the poorest places in the world. And as is common in underdeveloped and rural areas, child marriages occur every day. In 2012 it was discovered that over half of the girls in Malawi were married before 18 years of age.

Although a law was passed in 2015 forbidding marriage before the age of 18, these marriages were still possible with parental consent. And due to extreme poverty, parents would eagerly give their consent to send girls off to marriage in order to ease the financial burden on their own home.

It was also common practice to send girls to sexual initiation camps just after starting their first period. These camps were created to teach girls their “duties” as a wife and how to sexually please a man. The camp teachers would usually encourage girls to have sex, often resulting in unwanted pregnancies and HIV infections.

Theresa Kachindamoto Creating Change

Theresa Kachindamoto, a senior chief in the Dedza district of Malawi, became absolutely outraged at constantly seeing 12-year-old girls with teenage husbands and a baby on their hips. Only a short time after being called to the role of chief, Kachindamoto began to take action.

She met with 50 of her sub-chiefs and had them sign an agreement to end child marriage in all areas under her authority. Kachindamoto was determined. She told the chiefs, “Whether you like it or not, I want these marriages to be terminated.” She even fired four male chiefs after learning that they were still allowing child marriages in their areas.

During her time as chief, Kachindamoto has annulled 850 child marriages and reports that all of these girls have gone back to school. Along with this stunning accomplishment, Kachindamoto has also banned the practice of sexual initiation camps.

The Response, And Her Resilience

In Malawi, where tradition runs deep, the response to Kochindamoto’s campaign for change was not always pleasant. When she first spoke out about these issues, many told her that she had no right to mess with tradition, and she even received death threats. But nothing seemed to slow Kachindamoto in the slightest. “I don’t care, I don’t mind,” she shares. “I’ve said, whatever, we can talk, but these girls will go back to school.”

Kachindamoto is so passionate in her desire for change, that she has even helped to fund many girls’ education whose parents were unable. “If they are educated,” she says, “they can be and have whatever they want.” Her resilience in the face of difficulty is inspiring.
Fight For The Future

Kachindamoto’s example is incredibly moving. “I want these girls to be educated because in the future they will take care of us,” she shared. Despite decades of tradition, and a mountain of challenges, she fought for what she saw was right and did all in her power to create a better future.

Female Chief Terminates 850 Child Marriages image

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Field trip “Back to Eden”

January 17th, 2019

We took the Patient Support Group from Ndi Moyo clinic on a day out to “Back to Eden”, an all-organic garden outside Salima. Wholly owned and run by Malawians, they had lots of valuable tips and advice to grow organically and make the best use of local resources. The land here is poor between the extremes of the climate and generations unable to care for the soil. At Eden, they’re growing mango, guava, lemons, rice, vegetables and a vast array of herbs.. turmeric, lemon grass, ginger, hibachis.

There were 12 of us rammed into the old Land Rover (health and safety rules not a big concern TBH)… lots of chat and fun. They were intrigued and fascinated. And we got a couple of fantastic recipes to make organic fertiliser using animal manure in 21 days and also to protect stored maize from weevils. That’s gold in these parts.

PSG field trip to Eden

PSG learning at Eden

Organic growing at Back to Eden garden

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New Year Party at Ndi Moyo

January 16th, 2019

New Year was celebrated late (at least by Western measure) at Ndi Moyo Palliative Care centre in Salima. People who are HIV+ are at a higher risk of all types of cancer. The great majority of patients suffering from it and other potentially terminal illnesses present at the clinic very late, often in severe pain. There is no government funding in Malawi for palliative care. National morphine supplies are erratic, despite financial provision from the Global Fund. Ndi Moyo was founded by Lucy Finch as a response to this very great unmet need for palliative care. Her approach is holistic in the true sense of the word, embracing medicine, wellbeing, natural healing and plain old-fashioned generosity of spirit. The NY party for patients reflects this wonderful humanitarian approach, and is one the reasons we provide some small support to help. It was great to be here for it and needless to say - this is Malawi - it wasn’t long before the chairs were pushed back and the dancing started: the craic was mighty.

NY get-together at Ndi Moyo

Lucy and Nurse Nesta

Chicken on the grill
Nsima prep

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Boots on the Ground

January 10th, 2019

Small things can make a big difference in Malawi. Like new work boots for some Tuesday Trust gardeners who help the PSG at Ndi Moyo. But even here, the underlying difficulties and challenges faced by the locals, for whom food shortages are a way of life, is hinted at by their boot sizes, with two of the gardeners just taking 7s. Still the smiles tell a story: every little helps.

Gardeners with new work boots

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