CATHOLIC COMMISSION of JUSTICE AND PEACE
CATHOLIC COMMISSION of JUSTICE AND PEACE
Catholic Commission Justice and Peace in Mangochi Diocese was established in October 2007 which means by this year October CCJP will be clocking the dot of 10 since its establishment. CCJP has got its own goal which is to consolidate democracy and good governance and it has also five objectives and the first goals is to create civic awareness on different matters such as the constitution, democracy, good governance, and training for transformation, conflict transformation as well as the managements to do with participation in electoral process and civic education and also monitoring electoral processes and also management of the environment.
The second objective is about to do with access to justice what normally happened here is that CCJP provide a room and assist those whose their right has been violated they come to CCJP and seek redress and ccjp tried its best to unite them until this service its free of charge.
The third one is being involved in doing research since being an advocacy arm of the Catholic Church CCJP engage in research so that it should be able to entire best and full of actual truth.While the forth objective is networking and corroboration with likeminded institution and individual. The last object is to do with advocacy we speak for those have no voice not because they can’t afford do speak they are failing because their status cannot allow them to speak more especially if their right has been violated CCJP speak on them.
HOW CCJP HAS BEEN STRUCTURED
CCJP has its own structure and the bishops is the legal order from there it has the board secretariat, and has committee’s in the deanaries, parishes, church up to the Small Christian Communities . Meaning to say if there is an issue to be addressed it should normally starts on the grassroots level.
According to the CCJP Diocesan Secretary Mr Bruno Banda CCJP have a number of several projects that are running concurrently for instance a good governance project this project began in 2009 and is being back lowed by MISERIAL of Germany now this project is in forth phase which began in 2016 and is going to run up to 2019. In this project we are focusing on access to good medical care and portable water and is done in three district of the diocese that is Mangochi , Balaka and Machinga.
Banda further said that all activities being done in this project we tried our best to CCJP always work hand in hand with government departments such as the office of the district commissioners and other relevant stakeholders like the DHO, while on education side they work with the office of the District Education Managers but also they work with the village and area development committees. The second project CCJP is currently doing is the one that tackles the issue of environmental management and enhancing gender in the Mangochi district specifically under Traditional Authority Chowe and it’s for 3 years. This project started in 2015 and is supposed to phase out in 2018. To achieve the goal of this project CCJP has been training women in livestock production, encouraging them to establish local bank so that they should be able to save their money and have the access of facilitating the formation local banks e them by forming action and support for savings and loan schemes for women and facilitate community innovations that will improve equitable land management.
Apart from leaderships role we are also encouraging families to produce and document budgets this is a budget which they are using in their communities because by coming up with joint formulation family budgets it also reduces tension that were their being experienced in the families due to abuse of scares resources that is women and children could participate in the cultivation but in the end it was the man that was making a decision on a process of the projects that has been don jointly by women children and men in their families.
The project has a holistic approach with different stakeholders including the office of the district commissioner and the office of the district agriculture, natural resources management, lands, forestry offices, nongovernmental organizations, traditional leaders, community based committees and media among others. So these are some of the interventions that we are doing under the project which is being bank lowed by the millennium challenge corporation of the united states of America through the Millennium Challenge Account MCA-Malawi whose aim is to address environmental problems that lead to sedimentation in the shire river basin and choke electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi hydropower facilities, seeks to increase hydro power generation by empowering women through different initiatives for instance.
Third program CCJP is implementing in Mangochi is the one that we call the Primary Justice program and is a national program that is implemented in all the district of Malawi under the management of CCJP Lilongwe but CCJP Mangochi is the district implementing agency in Mangochi , Machinga and Balaka district in the particular program which started in 2012 and is running up to this year . This year the project is in fifth year.
The project is focusing on promoting access to justice to the vulnerable groups in particular women and children and in this project is in implemented in 8 Traditional Authorities Includes Nakhumba , Jalasi , Chowe , Mponda , Chimwala, Sub T/A Katema. In these T/A’s CCJP have 20 community based educators these comprised of 10 from CCJP and other 10 from other different civil societies available in these T/As making at 20 they were provided with push bikes in order to be able to facilitate their mobility’s.
In this project we are working hand in hand with the office of the District Commissioners because CCJP is more focusing on access to justice hence we work with traditional leaders the traditional tribunals and we make sure that also women participate in the tribunals so that when there is an issue or case that involves women, women should also feel at home to come and narrate their stories to their female tribunals if they have a very sensitive issues not suitable to be addressed by male tribunals. Apart from that they were also trained in management of cases and also provided with constitution and also the cases book were they record cases and have the deal with such cases. So this is happening under this project being back lolled by DFID of the United Kingdom through CCJP Lilongwe CCJP management agencies to Mangochi and other district in Malawi.
So these are three main projects that currently CCJP Mangochi is focusing on said Mr Banda and he added that as regard the way forward CCJP Mangochi would still like to pursue the environmental management as you may appreciate that is also the concern by the church by Pope Francis when he talked about the human activity that is responsible for the mismanagement of the environment and that we should also take part as a church we have the responsibility that we reverse the trend by planting the tree and managing the tree available , so CCJP would like to go further with this intervention but also some of the intervention that have already alluded to provision of civic education, access to justice, and ongoing research these are our own day and day out activities. Therefore we are going to continue with such activities but also looking ahead in 2019 we are also going to provide civic education and also monitor the electoral process in the 2019 so these are some of the our focus in terms of CCJP Mangochi.
Besides being involved in doing several activities in the diocese of Mangochi CCJP has been also facing several challenges one of them is lack of adequate funding since there is donor fatigue.
Another challenge is that High literacy level in eastern region mangochi diocese affects our work here in the region in the sense that communities have been failing to grasp what we have been assisting them. We have been also facing lot of conflicts for instance if there is political conflicts we were also targeted because some of the people in the diocese majority are not Christians.
Although we have been encountering several challenges but we have a number of intervention advocacies we have achieved so far, we have a good relationship with the media. Therefore our media advocacy has been very successful and a number of interventions we have done have been covered on the Radios, TV’s, Newspapers. Therefore our massage goes beyond in the catchment of Mangochi diocese and that has added publicity in terms of CCJP in the diocese of Mangochi.
We have done civic education in the ground d we have contributed towards credible free and fare election process of 2009 to 2014 and we have also managed to address some of the human rights abuse cased that victims have been facing mediating such cases and promoting peace in Mangochi diocese in the eastern region.We have been implementing different types of project some of them are in progress while other phases out as explained earlier on.
CCJP intensified its efforts to protect the death of albinism in the country. CCJP has also helped to defuse religious intolerance in Mangochi and ensure that there is a co existence between Christian and Muslim who has been misunderstanding in other areas because of their differences. This is the way CCJP has been doing its services in the diocese of Mangochi through its pastoral secretary Mr Bruno Banda.
CCJP DIOCESE OF MANGOCHI
The Catholic Commission for Justice & Peace Diocese of Mangochi in the midst of COVID19 has adapted precautionary measures such as frequent washing of hands with soap, observing distance, hands sanitizing while offering services in the Diocese.
Project one: CCJP with funding worth MK 160 Million from Germany Government through Misereor is implementing a three year long project addressing Gender Based Violence (GBV) in TAs Jalasi, Mponda, Chowe and Nankumba in Mangochi district. While in Balaka the project is targeting TAs Nsamala and Kalembo. In Machinga district the project targets TAs Nsanama and Liwonde.
CCJP commissioned a Baseline survey whose findings show that while Malawi has made commendable progress in the fight against GBV, the phenomenon is still prevalent in Mangochi, Balaka and Machinga districts. Both females and males fall prey to the vice although more skewed to females.
The phenomenon most important forms are respectively Psychological such as rape/sexual harassment, physical such as hitting, economic deprivation where husbands do not provide for their families and emotional which include insults. Child abuse like incest is also prevalent in all the districts.
“Mother from T/A Jalasi, Mangochi dumps her infant into a pit latrine. CCJP reports the case to Jalasi Police unit for prosecution, where the accused is granted police bail which she jumps to RSA culminating into curtailment of the case”.
At T/A Nsanama, Machinga district, a couple agrees for an incest with a step daughter in the family to save the marriage from polygamy. CCJP reports the incest case to Nsanama Police unit for prosecution. The Nsanama Magistrate Court found the accused father guilty therefore sentenced to 10 years imprisonment with hard labour”.
At T/A Kalembo in Balaka district, an uncle defiles his niece in exchange of financial and material support such as school fees. CCJP reports the case to Ulongwe Police unit for prosecution where the accused is granted bail. Meanwhile CCJP advocates for the relocation of the victim to her aunt where she is pursuing her studies. The court is yet to make a determination on the case”.
GBV reporting is still low notwithstanding various efforts put in place to encourage reporting and a wide awareness of GBV conducted. Inter-alia the main causes behind this under-reporting are the feeling that nothing will be done after reporting, the fear of backlash at both household and community levels; stigma and dependence of victims to perpetrators. The majority of people who declare having experienced GBV did nothing after being victimized.
Therefore people are advised to utilise community response mechanisms on gender based violence such as CCJP outreach committees, victim support unit among others.
Project two: CCJP collaborates with other partners in Tithetse Nkhanza project
CCJP Diocese of Mangochi in collaboration with Coffey Malawi, Plan Malawi under partnership with UK DFID embarks on a three year long Tithetse Nkhanza project entitled Tumasye Ngalwe in T/A Chowe targeting two secondary and six primary schools inclusive their surrounding communities to the tune of Mk108, 000. 00.
The project purpose is to reverse high cases of girl school dropout rates and repetition rates premised on among other factors prevailing harmful social norms such as male chauvinism, masculinity, patriarchal attitudes, forced marriages that promote violence against girls and women.
The strategy employed is Champions for change (CoC) model that engages adolescent girls, boys, and their communities to promote positive changes in gender attitudes and behaviors. Further COC is creating healthy relationships among adolescents through single-sex safe spaces for boys and for girls separately. COC is utilizing both young people in schools and for out of school girls and boys.
Among the expected outcomes is reduced prevalence of violence against women and girls;
girls and boys adopt knowledge, attitudes and practices consistent with gender equality and girls’ rights, thirdly CoC girls and boys further develop and use their skills and confidence to take collective action to influence action on gender equality and girl’s right. Further, CoC peers, parents / caregivers, community leaders, civil society organisations and government institutions to approve and support CoC initiatives to promote gender equality and girls’ rights.
However covid19 pandemic has slowed down CCJP efforts as there is an upsurge in early pregnancies and marriages among CoC girls in Covid19 period. The current situation compels CCJP to restrategise in response to COvid19 pandemic by adapting safe precautionary measures alongside implementation of project activities. In a snapshot, the project eight targeted schools has recorded a total of 34 cases of pregnancies and 17 cases of early marriages from March to July 2020 when schools closed down due to COvid19 pandemic.
“from March to July 2020, during the Covid19 pandemic period, in the TA Chowe-Mangochi, CCJP Tithetse Nkhanza project impact area targeting two secondary and six primary (8) schools, the project has discovered 34 school –going girls pregnant cases and 17 cases of early marriages”.
Perpetrator elopes a standard 8 girl from Chimbende area T/A Chowe –Mangochi to RSA
Her parents made pre-arranged forced marriage with the suitor. CCJP in collaboration with Chimbende primary school headteacher and Social Welfare engaged the victims’s parents against the arrangement resulting in the cancellation of Ndowa. The case was committed to Police that resulted in keeping the would be hubby on Police remand where subsequently was given Police bail. Consequently, the suspect jumps bail and elopes with the girl to RSA.
Project three: 2020 fresh presidential election calls CCJP to duty
The Constitutional Court sanctioned June 2020 fresh presidential election due to massive irregularities in the nullified 2019 presidential election which CCJP participated in contributing towards fairness, freeness and credibility of the electoral results. CCJP got financial and technical support from Misereor, National Democratic Institute (NDI) and Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) respectively estimated at Mk 40 million.
CCJP mobilized the electorate to go and vote on 23rd June, 2020, built their capacities for political, religious, traditional, youth leaders in promoting peaceful co-existence during and beyond post-election period.
CCJP also with support from Misereor and NDI deployed centre-based election observers as well as roving monitors in the Diocese of Mangochi. The final results emerged Dr. Lazarus Chakwera of Tonse Alliance triumphant to become the sixth State president of the Republic of Malawi after amassing 2.6 million (58.57 percent) of the votes against Peter Mutharika of Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) who got 1.7 million (38.63 percent) of the votes. Out of 6.8 registered voters, only 4.4 million voted.
The interventions culminated in the prevalence of the political choice of the majority of Malawians. Diocese of Mangochi did not experience political violence which has been the common phenomenon in the preceding electoral processes. The attainability of the foregoing is attributed to concerted efforts of electoral stakeholders that included CCJP, PAC and NICE among others.
January to July 2020: CCJP Mangochi Diocesan Coordinator, Bruno Banda reports.