By Vincent Gunde
A Faith Based Organization implementing nutrition programs to orphans in Dowa, Hope House Orphan Care Foundation, says the announcement by its donors to stop funding for a Youth Empowerment project is a heavy blow to the beneficiaries in the district.
Hope House Orphan Care Foundation started in 2018 implementing Hope House Orphan Malawi Youth Empowerment project [HHOME] to children aged between 15 and 20 for them to be self-reliant and become productive citizens of their areas.
The project was planned for 3 years recruiting vulnerable youth in and around Dowa boma covering areas of three traditional authorities Mkukula, Chiwere and Msakambewa but it was changed to two years taking on board youth in the ages of 18 to 21.
Speaking during a stakeholders meeting on Thursday held at the Dowa boma, the organization’s Programs Manager Austin Kamange, said it is sad that donor has come with a strong decision of not funding the project anymore because to them the project was not registering progress.
Kamange said the stoppage of funding has come at a time that 15 vulnerable youth were given money for self and group empowerment so that when an individual is not doing fine in his business, the group can come in to fill the gap.
He said the youth beneficiaries ventured into business such as welding, barber shop, pig farming, tomato farming and maize farming among others, saying they use part of the profit to sustain their daily needs of which the donor was not happy thereby announcing a stop in funding the project.
The manager said the funding stoppage has affected the entire livelihood activities of the beneficiaries saying the organization work with the communities for good relations and what has happened has contributed to sour relations, a development which is worrisome.
He said the project has now been left with other activities of less importance to self-reliance such as feeding programs, support for the elderly, baby supplement to infants,[Lactogen 1 and 2], school education support and providing spiritual training to children.
…..’’In the support for education, the Orphan Care Centre provide students with school fees and learning materials, but to due to adequate funding, we do not go to the tertiary level,’’…..said Kamange.
Speaking at the same meeting, Group Village headman Kambale of the area of Senior Chief Msakambewa said stakeholders have appreciated the achievements registered by Hope House in the district requesting the management to go back to the donor to plead for his or her second thought of funding the project.
Kambale said he would have loved if all stakeholders and Hope House management meet the donor at a round table discussion so that they speak with one voice to convince the donor to come back fearing that if this will not happen urgently, it will affect beneficiaries who were expected to be recruited.
He said the donor made a strong decision because he doesn’t know the Malawian culture as people survive on hand to mouth in their daily life situation observing that this is making most of the businesses to collapse.
…..’’We survive on hand to mouth every day, the donor need to be told of our culture so that we move together in supervising and monitoring how individual and group businesses are progressing,’’…..said Kambale.
Hope House Orphan Care Centre Foundation is implementing nutrition interventions with support from its Founders Jim and Janelle Hamilton of Oklahoma in United States of America [USA] and it has three centres, Hope house 1 located at Dowa boma, Hope House 2 at Infayatonse and Hope House 3 at Mkanga village in the district.