The Twesa Community Centre (Karonga, Malawi) is a gathering place for people to share resources, organise education, develop the local agriculture and economy, and much more.
Karonga is a lakeshore district located in the northern part of Malawi. The district covers an area of 3,355 km2 and has an estimated population of 307,216 people. The district is bordered by Chitipa District in the West, Rumphi District in the South, and Tanzania in the North and East.
TWESA In Community Development, a community based local nonprofit making organisation, has over the past years worked in Karonga implementing interventions in line with the district Social Economic Profile (SEP) from which stem out district development plans. These plans by the districts are in line with Malawi Growth Development Strategy which in essence mirrors the country’s commitment to contribute towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Within the priorities that the districts are addressing are issues to do with food security, HIV and AIDS, Women and Youth Empowerment, access to potable water, environmental degradation, quality education etc. TWESA as a partner in development conducts interventions that are in line with the district development plan.
Though the district is making some good gains in the recent years, there is obviously a lot of work that still needs to be done. Several sectors of the life in the district, women, youths, children and the local leaders and even government officials believe that the absence of a community resource center hinders progress in socioeconomic development.
Establishment of a Twesa Community Resource Centre has been thought to be a very innovative way of solving these problems. It is realised that the solutions to these so many problems are with the people themselves, therefore there is a need of creating a place where the people can be gathering for the sharing of ideas, experiences and where various information can easily be accessed.WOMEN
Currently, women who are in different groups in the district meet under trees and sometimes request for space in classrooms which compromises their programs in times of bad weather or school program. Women also do not have a place where they can go and learn various skills such as sawing / knitting, baking, and other food processing skills which may in turn help them create income generating activities.CHILDREN
Children require access to information on various issues for their wellbeing. Children also require a library to improve their reading and understanding skills. The children also require recreation facilities. All these are not provided for in the district. The Resource Centre shall have a children’s corner where children shall have a Library and recreation facilities for the children.THE YOUTHS
The youths require an environment where they can meet as peers and discuss issues that affect their lives. Absence of such a place in the district leads the youths to engage in promiscuous behaviors leading them to catching HIV / AIDs and even getting involved in drug abuse. The youths also do not have a place for recreation activities. They also need to have a place where they can learn various vocational skills.COMMUNITIES AT LARGE
Communities realise that in togetherness there is power, hence the need for a resource center which can cater as a meeting place for various caucuses. These empowered communities will in the long run address the vulnerability of Karonga and the country at large will achieve sustainable development. The place will enhance discussions that will lead to appropriate behavioral change.
To improve access to information on various issues that affect the lives of the communities such early warning on natural disasters, information on safe motherhood, sexual reproductive health and HIV / AIDs etc. Enhanced capacity of communities in solving the problems that affect their lives To increase participation of youth, women and even children in decision making and other socio economic and political activities Will enhance the adoption of best practices which will help reduce degradation of environment and natural resources Will help to enhance a culture of reading with the establishment of a community library at the centre Help women and youth have access to vocational and entrepreneurship skills To establish a center for the meetings of the communities within and even from outside the district to discuss and find solutions to the so many problems affecting their lives.
Local leaders, the district council and the communities are willing to fully participate at all stages of the project which will help sustainability. Strong coordination with other stakeholders such as the district council and local leaders. Availability of good land which is located at a very good place for the project. Other resources for construction such as sand & extra labour shall be provided by the community.
This is another very important area which needs a special attention. Some of the requirements may be, but not only:
FOOT BALLS NET BALLS FOOT BALL UNIFORMS NET BALL UNIFORMS VOLLEY BALLS VOLLEY BALL UNIFORMS FOOT BALL GOAL NETS TRAINING EQUIPMENTS GYM EQUIPMENTS Second hand / New Bicycles CYCLING GEARSENDING LETTERS / SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM
To be developed: I don’t have more information on how it works but I remember at one time I worked as a volunteer for Actionaid Malawi. Most of the funds they are using are being raised through sponsorship program whereby pupils from chosen schools are being linked and communicate mainly through letters with friends from other countries. At some time these friends are able to help the communities these pupils are coming from through the organisation in so many ways.
I have been thinking about it but had no idea on how to start. Please advise.
This may include also exchange visits whereby students and others could visit each other to learn and share.DONATING BOOKS AND ICT MATERIALS
Just a variety books on any topic such as those on science subjects, English, History, Literature, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Agriculture, Geography, Novels, (excluding pornographic materials) Second hand or new ICT equipment such as laptops, computers, tablets, phones, cameras, tv / video screens, second hand or new clothes which can be shared to needy communities in schools and even in homes depending on the sizes Playing and learning materials pencils, Mathematical instruments Toys / School bags / Note books, Pens, Pencils / Hard Cover books GamesCAPACITY BUILDING / VOLUNTEERISM
It is our wish that we build the capacity of the community and TWESA in so many different ways appropriate for the development of Karonga. As such we need students and others who may have time, skills and resources to support. We are very willing to have students who can have interest to come and work on voluntary basis with us and help in any way possible.
Also support towards further trainings / studies of the members of the project who work on voluntary basis.TREE PLANTING EXERCISE
Support towards the purchase of polythene tubes, seed, transportation, Community mobilization etc. Support towards strengthening of Mwenilondo Secondary School Environmental Club which can be in form of incentives such as Books as prizes for those who are managing their trees well and those who are participating actively in the club T Shirts as uniform for members of the club Public Addressing equipment for the club Computers for the club Any IEC material with information related to Climate Change or Sustainable AgricultureTRAINING WOMEN IN ENTREPRENEURSHIP SKILLS / INCOME GENERATING ACTIVITIES
Tailoring / Knitting skills and equipment Food processing Trainings in business management / leadership skills etc