IRRIGATION PROJECT FOR SOUTHERN MALAWI
1. The Problem
A group of us from Exodus Vision have traveled to Southern Malawi for 7 of the past 8 summers. We have come to know and trust a group of key pastors in this area. In our last two trips we have seen a severe drought take a toll on the small-scale farmers in the villages of rural Southern Malawi. Our Malawian friends have been describing the effects of this drought on the populations in their areas of rural Blantyre and greater Balaka. In 2016 we began raising money to buy maize to feed the people served by the groups of churches led by these men.
But this crisis is not only being described by our pastor friends, there has been much written about this food crisis in the secular press. The following article is an example of other sources of information.
According to an article in Deutsche Welle, Germany’s public international broadcaster (Wikipedia), dated July 20, 2016, “The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has launched a relief program to feed families affected by the severe drought in Malawi. Over 18 million people are said to be in need of food aid in Southern Africa.” Later in the same article that interviewed Ertharin Cousins, Executive Director of the WFP, she said, “Because this is primarily a food crisis, what we have done in WFP is that we have declared what we call a “level three”, which is our highest level of emergency, requiring not just the countries in the regional offices to support the needs of the affected population but also bringing all of our corporate tools to bear in assisting us…
We have Malawi taking a loan from the IMF to work with WFP to support the purchase of stocks for their reserves. So the governments are beginning to do the things that are necessary to scale up, to meet what we identify as increasing food need. But what is necessary is international donor community support, because while these governments are committing their own resources in an unprecedented manner they also need financial assistance from the international community.”
2. Overall Goal
Our primary goal is for Malawians to become self-sustaining — able to work through good seasons of rain as well as drought-infested seasons. We want to insure that all people in the project areas who are willing to work are fed and that those who are unable to work either because they are orphan children, widows or too old to work, will also receive a portion of the product from the harvests they raise.
3. The Small-Farmer Irrigation Solution
An article by Caspar Van Mark in The Guardian entitled “Small-scale agriculture holds big promise for Africa”, October, 2013, stated: “With small-scale irrigation the initial cost is lower," explains Liangzhi You, senior scientist at IFPRI and co-author of the report."And if you can grow one more crop in the dry season, that can mean you can then make a profit. A lot of government agencies and even donor communities like big projects, but if you look at the returns, small-scale actually gives higher returns, and from my own research I think small scale irrigation is the future in the African context.”
In another article discussing small-scale irrigation projects, FAO.2016.Aquastat website states, “Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the lowest portion of the cultivated area that is irrigated, just over 3 percent against almost 21 percent at global level. At the same time it has the highest prevalence of undernourishment, 25 percent in 2011-2013 against 12 percent at global level.”
Another article showed Malawi having less than 2 percent of its cultivated area being irrigated. From this data it is clear that there is much that can be done to improve the productivity of the land in Malawi by using small-scale irrigation projects. Our proposal involves equipping two groups of churches in southern Malawi with land, irrigation equipment and enough funding to take the people from dependence on outside money to survive to independence.
4. Our Project
Beginning in May of 2016 Exodus Vision raised $18,950 to fund a small-scale irrigation project started and operated by a group of churches named Samuti Churches based in Blantyre, Malawi. Pastor Charles Tembo and his executive committee oversaw the project and brought this land to harvest by the end of November of 2016. A video showing the largest of the three projects they managed is available.
Pastor Charles came to us with the idea, and he and his committee worked tirelessly to find and lease the land, purchase three diesel pumps and hundreds of feet of vinyl pipe. We believe that because the idea originated with the Malawians, this project successfully cultivated many hectares of land and fed several thousand people. This was accomplished in spite of planting in the dry season of an extended period of drought!!
It became clear early in this process, that they would need to purchase some farmland in order to perpetuate this irrigation project. The Samuti Churches would own the property and continue to oversee the project. By owning the land they would be able to farm 12 months a year instead of only 6 months per year when leasing the land. This would permit them to grow 2 to 3 crops per year rather than just the one that they grew.
Working with this group of churches provides the necessary oversight for this project to ensure fiscal accountability. This group of churches has a strong desire to help those in their communities who are least able to help themselves. They will offer the opportunity for people to work the fields from cultivation to harvest in exchange for food to eat for their families.
No one, either in the USA or in Malawi, receives a salary to administer this project. Only those who do the actual farming are given food in exchange for their labor. These facts ensure that the most money possible goes directly to helping start this irrigation project and to bring them to being self sustaining.
5. Our Request
We ask that you consider funding a portion, or all, of this project. The details of the two-year startup project are below. Exodus Vision does not have any paid staff which allows us to charge only 10% for management. This would include overseeing the distribution of the funds and inspection of the fields and the land title documents for this project.
6. The Financial Goal
Land -- $25,000
Equipment -- $5,000
Transportation -- $6,000
Training in farming techniques — $1000
Food for Work -- $21,000 ($1750 per month for 12 months)
Malawi Monitoring -- $5,000
Exodus Vision Administration -- $7,000
Total -- $70,000
PASTORAL TRAINING PROJECT
Exodus Vision has trained hundreds of pastors in Malawi, Burundi, and Rwanda. During those years of training, we came to realize that the need is more than what we can handle in two weeks. There is a great need for ongoing training and follow up. The good news is that we have great teachers in the U.S. who have much to offer in terms of pastoral training without having to travel. Each summer, we send a team to train trainers who will use video materials translated in African languages to train pastors in different parts of Africa. The video training is not meant to replace sending teams for live training. The video training format is intended to keep our training ministry sustainable. In the past, we used to light fire for two weeks and take off. There was no way to tell whether the fire was still burning or died off two months later. Now, we light the fire and keep it burning through trained facilitators. “The fire on the altar must be kept burning; it must not go out” (Leviticus 6:12).
We continue to help churches help themselves by supporting church–initiated projects. In that regards, we have built four wells, a bakery, and an orphanage in Malawi. Although it is the responsibility of the local church to keep those projects running, we feel committed to come alongside and make sure that those projects are operational. We recently received report that one of the wells needs some repairing, and the orphanage needs a fence around it to be fully functional and secure. One of our church partners in Malawi is building a school that will welcome both refugee children and nationals. They have asked us to “adopt” that school! How can you say no to a request from a country like Malawi, where 90% have an income of less than $2 per day?
Our trip agendas in Africa often end with evangelistic meetings and baptisms. People are invited from different parts of the city and church denominations. One of our team members is asked to deliver the message on that special day. It is a privilege to see people make a decision to follow the Lord, and others be baptized. This certainly doesn't happen because of our ministry but because God is doing something special in Africa. Following evangelistic crusades, we share a big meal with hundreds of people. We also attend weekly meetings and our team members have an opportunity to preach in different churches. On every trip we give financial gifts to churches to help them with their evangelistic mission. This is an ongoing project that we participate in every summer. While we will continue sending teams and using facilitators to train trainers through video training, we are praying about building a training center in the coming years. The African church has often been criticized as being a mile-wide and inch- deep. While many African pastors are passionate and aggressive in their evangelism, the majority still don't have formal training. And up to 80% in Rwanda and Burundi need training.
WRITING and TRANSLATION PROJECT
Many African pastors don’t have any Bible study materials in their own language. They don’t have a concordance or Bible commentaries. In one of our pastoral trainings, it was stunning to see some pastors come early in the morning and hand-write notes from the posters our teams were using for training. It is heart breaking to see that the materials we put in the trash here in the U.S. could be valuable resources in other parts of the world. Following the conversation we had with a number of Kinyarwanda-speaking pastors, we decided to translate a commentary on the book of John. The first draft is already finished, and different editors are working on this project. This commentary on John will be available in Kinyarwanda very soon.
Why don’t people get along?(Coming up soon in Kinyarwanda)
A Walk through Forgiveness
We live in a world full of pain and hurt. Some of the pain comes to us naturally while other forms of pain are inflicted on us by people we live with. The hurt is unavoidable as long as we live on this planet earth. I often think that the only option we have left is probably to get ready to be hurt and get ready to forgive at the same time. When the prophet Isaiah prophesized about Jesus, he foresaw Him as a man of sorrows and forsaken, acquainted with pain (Isaiah 53:3). Jesus himself said that in this world we would have trouble but we should take heart because he has overcome the world (John 16:33).
Our hope lies in the fact that Jesus has overcome the world! We are not doomed to fail. We are on the winning team because we are seated with Jesus in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). It is easy to loose heart and give up in this crumbling and fallen world. It is one thing to sing hope, quote the scriptures about hope but it is a whole another thing to go through deep pain and still trust that God is truly with you. It becomes even harder to forgive the person who hurt you, especially when he/she did it knowingly and willingly.
There are several reasons why we should forgive: First, we forgive because we are unceasingly being forgiven by a loving Father. Second, we forgive to free our offender but more importantly to free ourselves. Third, we forgive others to build a bridge that we will need to pass by onetime, when we ask forgiveness to others. Last but not least, we forgive because we are deeply rooted in God’s marvelous love, and nothing can uproot us from His grip. “When besieged, I am calm as a baby. When all hell breaks loose, I am collected and cool” (Psalm 27:3, The Message).
When our hope is truly grounded in God and not in the world, we have a solid foundation to forgive. We forgive people because we are fully convinced that we are loved by God. We forgive because we know that God is for us and if God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8: 31). Our offender can’t separate us from God’s love. God knows our pain and can give us strength to endure it. His love does not guarantee that we will never go through pain but it guarantees that He will be with us when we pass through the fire or deep waters (Isaiah 43: 2). The inevitability of pain and the hope in God are used in this book as the introductory setting leading to the ultimate question, “Why don’t people get along?”
The first time I was asked this question, I explored several related questions: Why parents and children don’t get along? Why coworkers or schoolmates don’t get along? Why a wife and a husband don’t get along? Why people serving in the same church don’t get along? Why people of a particular geographic region don’t get along? Why Rwandans in particular don’t get along? In an attempt to answer that central question, I focused on three sub-questions involving parents & children, co-workers, husband and wife and extensively discussed the common fights and dilemma among Rwandan people. Since the primary audience is Kinyarwanda- speaking people, I used a number of long proverbs and common sayings that would help convey the message to the audience, with Bible texts as the primary resource. In order to answer the lack of harmony between Rwandans, I conducted a survey about the question “Why don’t people get along?”. Then, I analyzed and discussed the most occurring responses from over 100 respondents, primarily Rwandans living in different parts of the world.
Following the interpretation of the results, I suggest forgiveness as a possible way to manage pain and get along with the person who hurt you. I start the chapter on forgiveness by defining what forgiveness is not vs. what forgiveness is. Then I extensively discuss three main steps of forgiveness: Knowing yourself, Knowing God’s forgiving heart, and knowing your enemy. I argue that the three steps appear to be indispensable in achieving the forgiveness process. The discussion on this topic involves a biblical teaching interwoven with cultural stories, sayings and proverbs. It should be noted that many names mentioned in this book are not real names. While I illustrated real stories and life experience, I significantly modified stories and changed names of people and places for the privacy of the parties involved.
For more than a half century, the country of Rwanda has been marked by a history bloody massacres, civil wars and genocide underpinned by ethnic divisions, regional discrimination, selfishness, struggle for political power and rampant sinfulness. During all those years none of the fighters can claim any victory. The ultimate consequences ended up in ongoing self-destruction. The remnant generation is a bunch of hurt and bruised people, full of anger and bitterness for one another. It is time to pray like king David prayed in Psalm 51. The hour has come for the Rwandan people to cry out to God and ask Him to have mercy and wash away all our iniquity. It is my hope that this book will help the reader to discover what I call the pearls of forgiveness and help past enemies to get along.
Faustin Uzabakiliho, Ph.D.
Exodus Vision, president
Sun Valley, California
January 3, 2016