Written by MERCY MAKUWIRA
CHIKHWAWA—President Dr. Joyce Banda on Wednesday officially inaugurated the K125million Majete 1 Epicentre at Chibwalizo in the area of Traditional Authority Chapananga in Chikhwawa.
The Epicentre has been constructed by the Hunger Project in partnership with African Parks.
Speaking during the ceremony, the President explained that the project was a success story of good partnership between organizations and government to advance the welfare of the people.
African Parks sourced funds from African Villages Foundation as one of its social responsibilities and it then sub-granted Hunger Project to implement the project.
The President then commended the two institutions for the work done, saying it would go a long way in assisting people in the surrounding 21 villages as they lacked facilities such as a maternity wing which, in the past, could be accessed from a distance of more than 25 kilometres.
She said the event was memorable for her family explaining that Chief Justice Richard Banda [Retired] was the first President of the African Parks in the country besides that she is the one who asked the Hunger Project Global to open its offices in Malawi after she was awarded the African Prize for Sustainable End to Hunger in 1997.
“This is quite an emotional moment in my life as what started as a very small thing has grown so big. I am well aware that Hunger Project has of late, touched more than 100, 000 lives in the country and this is not easy task,” explained the President.
Dr. Banda also commended the Hunger Project for the concept they use when implementing development initiatives, saying the Mudzi Transformation Trust is being implemented using their formula.
The Epicentre has facilities such as maternity wing, community hall, a food processing plant, children’s feeding centre, community library, a rural bank and a community food bank all at one place, where all the development activities are to be taking place.
She then applauded the Hunger Project for recognizing the potential Malawians have, saying she did not take that for granted.
“Malawians and even Africa as a whole, know exactly what to do to change our situations and it saddens me that there are other people who think that they have answers to our situations on how we can change things. We have the answers and all we need are the resources to implement the programmes,” Dr. Banda said.
Earlier, Paramount Chief Lundu asked the President to consider cushioning the looming hunger in the Shire Valley, saying a lot of people were unable to harvest enough during the last growing season.
Responding to the request, President Banda explained that she was aware and would put in place measures to ensure that people do not suffer.
Vice Chairperson for Hunger Project Malawi, Rosemary Nhlema expressed gratitude to Joyce Banda Foundation for donating beds that necessitated the opening of the centre.
“There was no way we could have opened the centre without the beds. As such, let me take time to thank Joyce Banda Foundation International for donating these beds and we don’t take that for granted,” she explained.