CWO Targets 1, 000 Learners in Environmental Management

Vokhiwa (seated in green golf shirt) and Bishop Sitima (in a robe) Vokhiwa (seated in green golf shirt) and Bishop Sitima (in a robe) - pic by Raphael Mlozoa

The Catholic Women Organization (CWO), one of the arms of the Catholic Church in the country, has embarked on an ambitious environmental project aimed at bringing knowledge in environmental management to primary school learners.

Chairperson for the organization in the country, Lucy Vokhiwa, told Zodiak that the project dubbed ‘Evergreen Schools’ is a two-year project targeting 20 primary schools in Mangochi and Dedza dioceses of the church and will support a school club of 50 learners at each of the targeted schools.

“These learners will be direct beneficiaries who will learn and practice issues of environmental management to mitigate the diverse effects of climate change by planting multipurpose trees and vegetables in their schools, impacted areas and surrounding communities,” explained Vokhiwa.

According to Vokhiwa, apart from the 1, 000 learners from the 20 schools that have been selected, they are targeting 10, 000 indirect beneficiaries who will include other learners in the schools and their families as communities will be sensitized on the project.

She said learners will establish tree nurseries for their woodlots and vegetable gardens that they would also sell both the seedlings and vegetables as an Income generating activity.

Bishop Montfort Sitima of Mangochi diocese commended the project after the group briefed stakeholders in Mangochi, saying it has come at a very good time when the church is implementing the Laudato si’, a letter from the head of the church, Pope Francis, where he tackles more on environmental degradation and global warming.

He said the other good thing is that the project is targeting youth, saying currently, people in the country don’t want to invest in long-term projects so involving the youth is a good decision.

“We need to change our mindset by not thinking about today, about us and how much personal profits we are going to get; but rather mind about the future whether we will be there or not,” lamented Sitima.

Mangochi District Coordinator for School Health and, Joyce Kululanga, also said the project is timely as both children and schools will directly benefit in a number of ways including the school feeding program where most schools depend on firewood as a source of energy.

A representative of the forestry office for the district, Mary Kamanga, said the project will seal gaps where government resources alone cannot.

The project, which runs from January 2020 until December 2021, will be supported by Manos Unidas from Spain in partnership with the Episcopal Conference of Malawi through Pontifical Mission Society of Malawi and Holy Childhood.

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