Mphatso Synod of the Reformed Church of Mozambique, based in Villa Ulongwe, is World Renew’s oldest partner in the country. Over the last few years the community development and relief programs of the church supported by World Renew have had a major focus on improving farm yields through the introduction of Conservation Agriculture. Farmers in the program have seen drastic improvements in soil fertility throughout this process. This, coupled with improved seeds and planting methods have increased the viability of farming as a livelihood in this part of Mozambique.
After over a decade of working together on community programs our focus over the next few years is switching to improving the capacity of local church congregations to initiate and implement locally driven development initiatives. This change in thinking from “waiting for help from outside” to “discovering our capacities within” is a difficult process in a country that has seen repeated influxes of international aid. We will work closely together with church leaders to raise awareness of a Biblical approach to holistic development that starts with the assets of the church and community and builds from there.
The Diocese of Niassa is one of the largest Anglican Dioceses in Africa, covering close to half of the country of Mozambique. It is a church which has emerged from the pain and suffering of civil strife to become a symbol of hope for many people in Northern Mozambique. It continues to struggle with the low education levels of staff and clergy but has started to develop local skills, built from the ground up. This coupled with many successful partnerships with like minded organizations such as World Renew as painted a bright future for the work of this Diocese in communities north of the Zambezi river.
The beginnings of the Dioceses work in communities were in response to the HIV & AIDS pandemic in many rural communities, especially along the shores of Lake Malawi. This very successful work soon demanded a broadening of the program focus to include more general health and livelihoods initiatives. With various other partners such as Tear Fund, the diocese now has successful programming in Village Savings and Loans, Maternal/Child and Newborn Health, and agriculture and food security programming. The church leadership has developed a structure and a strategy that integrates Worship, Mission and Ministry. The entire church, from the leadership to the local congregations, has focused on integrating all aspects of the church and reaching out within their own communities. This effort has been blessed with unprecedented church growth and, as a result, the diocese itself may soon sub-divide into 2 or 3 new dioceses in order to better serve its members and the communities where they exist.
World Renew has come alongside all these efforts of the church and has encouraged both the community work and the local church empowerment. World Renew, with funding from DFATD (the Canadian Government) supports a rural livelihoods program in 4 different regions of the diocese. This program will support close to 3500 households to improve farm yields and increase household livelihoods outcomes through improved farm methods and the introduction of Village Savings and Loans Associations.
World Renew is also working with the church to support their local church empowerment program called CCMP (Church in Community Mobilization Program) which is also funded by Tear Fund UK. This program targets the eventual transformation of all congregations and churches in the diocese into active agents of change within their communities so that they can truly be “salt and light” to those around them.
World Renew has historically and will continue to support the HIV&AIDS work within the diocese. Despite great effort to reduce the infection rate it is not possible to change the fact that a large percentage of the population in some communities is already infected. Working with People Living with AIDS (PLWA’s) is critical to the ongoing viability of these communities. Through the support of Anti-Retroviral treatments and improving nutrition and incomes of households, the church has helped people to “live positively” and to even thrive.