February 27, 2012 will be marked as an historical day in the community of Kachindamoto in Malawi as the day they witnessed the inauguration of their epicentre, which comprises a community hall, health facility, nursery school classroom, credit room, library, nurses’ houses and community food bank.
The opening arrived with celebrations and a collective sigh of relief by the local rural community as they started planning this project in 2008. Many partners have volunteered tirelessly as they constructed most of the facilities themselves, even moulding the bricks for the building.
The ceremony was graced by board members from Hunger Project investor the Ribbink Foundation and their families, as well as distinguished guests from local government including the District Health Officer (DHO) of the Dedza District, Senior Chief of Kachindamoto and the Member of Parliament (MP) for the area. Over 1,000 people from partner villages participated in the event.
The day’s events included: visits to two partners’ households to hear firsthand information on progress being made, inspection of the epicentre premises, and traditional dances and speeches. Members of the media were also present and the event was broadcast on Malawi’s National Television as well as Zodiak Radio Station and in the Daily Times newspaper.
The Country Director of The Hunger Project-Malawi, Rowlands Kaotcha, gave a brief background of Kachindamoto Epicentre. Initiated in 2008, the epicentre has a total population of 10,950, reaching people from across 28 villages.
Prior to the inauguration, the community had rolled out the following projects: food security, microfinance, nursery school education, and HIV/AIDS and gender programmes.
In their respective speeches, the speakers, who included THP-Malawi National Advisory Council representative, Senior Chief Kachindamoto, MP Hon. Chikaonda and DHO Mrs. Bessie Phiri were thankful to the Ribbink Foundation for funding the epicentre as this will help restore women’s dignity in the region. This was made in reference to the health facility, which, the Senior Chief said, had brought health services to their vicinity (the nearest government heath centre is many miles away). Coincidently, the epicentres health services opened their doors on this very same day, which the DHO said would, among other activities, help to achieve the milestone of reducing neo-natal deaths, which are very high in the district at 162 deaths per every 1,000 live births.
In her speech, Nienke, who was the guest of honour during the ceremony, thanked the Senior Chief and the entire community for their commitment to the construction of the epicentre. She said the foundation members were impressed with what they saw and thanked the government of Malawi and THP-Malawi for their hard work towards the achievement witnessed on the day.