| Church Work
|| Development cooperation
Malawi is one of the poorest and most densely populated countries in the world. A large proportion of the country’s population live in rural areas. The population is growing rapidly and HIV and AIDS are major problems. The majority of those who are infected with the HIV virus are women. There are also many AIDS orphans in the country.
FELM’s partner in Malawi is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malawi (ELCM). The rapidly growing church has a shortage of trained workers.
FELM supports the training of pastors and proclamation workers. Every year short basic and intermediate level courses in proclamation work are organised. Following the basic course, students are sent on work placements to various congregations, under the instruction of provincial provosts. It is hoped that some of those who have completed the courses will continue their theological education at seminaries in Tanzania or South Africa.
Young people are crucial to the growth of the church. The main focuses of the Church’s youth work are strengthening the training of young people, supporting youth peer groups and promoting human rights and gender equality. ELCM also organises two annual seminars specifically for women and girls. FELM currently provided grants to four students.
FELM supports ELCM’s HIV and AIDS work. Certain practices and beliefs in Malawi have aided the spread of HIV and AIDS, especially among women. The Church is trying to change these practices through awareness raising work, informing people of their rights and encouraging, particularly women and children, to demand that their rights be upheld.
In addition to changing attitudes, ELCM carries out work aimed at improving access to food for people living with HIV and AIDS. This is extremely important as proper nutrition increases the effectiveness of HIV medication. ELCM also carries out work aimed at increasing agricultural yields, such as building irrigation systems, promoting the use of a wider variety of crops and providing better quality seeds. A larger and better quality harvest also leads to improved livelihoods. Farmers are trained in storing corn and food products, so that there would be food even during the dry season.
Savings groups and micro credit schemes have been used to improve the earning possibilities of women and young people. Savings and micro credit groups have been particularly important in teaching people basic financial management skills.