December 5th, 2010
NKANDO, MALAWI –Habitat for Humanity Malawi today launched the Women Build 2010 campaign.
At the launch Deputy Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Billy Kaunda, presided at the launch ceremony. Women Build is an initiative that will involve women from all walks of life in raising awareness and participating in the construction of houses for orphans and other vulnerable children.
Speaking at the launch at Nkando in Mulanje, Kaunda welcomed the initiative.
An online article by Nation Publications Limited quoted Kaunda:
“Let me express my sincere thanks to these women for their motherly care for these orphans and other vulnerable children. The gesture by women who will be participating in the construction of houses for orphans and other vulnerable children is a welcome development to government,” said Kaunda.
These volunteers include Seodi White, executive director of Women and Law in Southern Africa (Wilsa-Malawi); Mbumba Achuthan, Chief Executive Officer of Nation Publications Limited (NPL); the Reverend Mercy Chalapula, Vice-Moderator of Blantyre CCAP Synod; Phoebe Nyasulu, project coordinator of Word Alive Ministries, Margaret Kubwalo Chaika of Standard Bank and Abigail Dzimazi Suka of Access Events.
In an interview by Nation Publications Limited at the launch, White said their duty as ambassadors is to raise awareness on the need to provide houses to orphans and other vulnerable children.
“We also want to raise awareness on the commendable job that Habitat for Humanity Malawi is doing,” said White.
She added that as ambassadors, they will be building the houses in the one-year period they will serve in their positions.And to show their commitment, after the launch, the ambassadors helped in building a house for an old woman, Eliza Kaliati, who is helping to raise three orphans.
Habitat for Humanity Malawi national coordinator of orphans and vulnerable children Anne Msosa said they plan to build 42 houses in Mulanje and that so far, they have constructed 22 houses.
She said they plan to scale up the programme to Mangochi, Salima and Mzimba where they plan to build about 100 houses.
Why OVC is necessary in Malawi
Malawi is facing an increasing number of orphans and vulnerable children as a result of the HIV/AIDS crisis that is compounded by poverty and food insecurity. The prevalence of HIV infection among adults has stabilized at around 12 percent since 1997, although the absolute numbers of people living with HIV and AIDS is still increasing. AIDS accounts for some 70% of hospital deaths. Many people between the ages of 15 and 49 years are being infected with HIV and AIDS and dying, living children and the elderly who are unable to support themselves. HFHM decided to intervene by coming up with an Orphaned and Vulnerable Children (OVCs) program. An OVC is defined as a child under the age of 18 years old who has lost either a mother or father or both parents, or whose caregiver is unable to provide adequate care, such as elderly grandparent, child-headed household and disabled caregiver.