For sustainable community development to take place, there must be interaction and coordination among all of the factors and agents that intervene and act in a locality. This means a combination of efforts is required, which takes into account the interests, values, ways of thinking, experiences and skills of all agents. It is against this background that Community Health Evangelism (CHE) and ZOE orphan empowerment which are both development tools that benefit the communities and change people’s lives will be collaborating for Madisi community development in Dowa district, Malawi.
CHE and ZOE conducted a sensitization and awareness campaign to ensure widespread awareness among all stakeholders on the prevailing Madisi community challenges and on the importance of participatory and interactive intervention.
Community Health Evangelism (CHE) is the best practices model that integrates evangelism and discipleship with community based development. It promotes ownership by making sure that people are taking responsibility for their own health and well being. CHE will provide a critical and essential link with health systems and is a powerful force for promoting healthy behaviors in the resource-constrained setting.
“We consider ourselves blessed that these two powerful programs are in our community. We are not the same. We have already seen how our children have been transformed through ZOE, now its CHE whereby everybody is involved. We can not ask for more. Thanks for coming to walk along side us on this path to development” explained group village headman Khosi.
The Madisi community welcomed the idea of having community development grounded on participation and both traditional leadership and people of Madisi look forward to a vibrant wholly owned and integrated approach as the program unfolds.
After the meeting, the members identified 10 members who are to attend the Trainer of Trainers 1 from 12th – 16th March, 2014.
The coming together of the Madisi community during this landmark event marked a milestone in the meaning of developmental work and participatory community development. The traditional leadership and the people of Madisi showed their appreciation of both CHE and ZOE synergies as developmental partners and demonstrated their valued appreciation of the participatory approach that is providing an enabling environment for them as active stakeholders in the process as it increases ownership and fosters sustainability. The general and shared view was one of consensus and shared vision by the majority of the event participants, that is the youth, women, community members, traditional leadership and other agents working directly with the community who represented the government departments they work with. From this meeting it was clear the foundation was set and what now remains is the process towards the realization of the shared and mutual goal – community development for the people, with the people, by the people for the people.
By Mercy Chikhosi Nyirongo