The Mothers' Union is such an essential part of the work being done in Malawi
Within Mothers' Union each Diocese is linked to another Diocese with Mothers' Union members
- Northern Malawi linked with Diocese of Birmingham
- Upper Shire linked with Diocese of Glasgow and Galloway
- Lake Malawi and Southern Malawi linked with Diocese of Rochester
This is different to the church Diocese of Birmingham which has links with all four Dioceses.
Mothers' Union plays a very important part in the church life of all four Diocese in Malawi. Around 90% of the population of Malawi live in rural areas, and Mothers' Union is involved at the local level here in much needed agricultural training and provision to help families feed themselves all year round. Relief funding and grants from Mothers' Union internationally have helped fund seed bank projects and initiatives such as goat keeping and growing fruit trees.
For example, Mothers' Union's development coordinator in Blantyre, Southern Malawi, has set up a mushroom-growing programme which is helping to fund the education of 60 children. Mushroom growing can be profitable and helps mothers bring in additional income
One area also runs 'Orphan Care' projects where orphans and the aged are cared for in their own homes. The orphans are sometimes taken to church where they are given food and other basic needs are provided such as bedding, clothing and soap.
Malawi is also one of the three countries (Malawi, Burundi and Sudan) where Mothers' Union runs its Literacy and Development Project. The programme runs right across Malawi. Since its inception in northern Malawi in 2000, and its expansion across the whole country (with assistance from Comic Relief) in 2004, the programme has enabled thousands of women who had not attended school, to develop literacy and numeracy skills.
One of the key methods of introducing literacy into a community is the use of discussion. Each session is started with the facilitator asking everyone in the circle to decide what they want to discuss. The use of discussion is important because it really develops and helps build the confidence of the learners. For many of the group it is the first time that they have been able to voice their own opinions in a community group.
Although the learners may not have had an education they still have a valuable wealth of knowledge and experience. Attitudes towards them are changing because of the programme. Women now use their newfound skills and confidence to work together to improve the conditions of their daily lives.
One of the reasons for the success of the Literacy & Development Project has been that it always trains local people as facilitators. They know the area and speak the language.
It costs around £350 to train volunteer facilitators and set up a new literacy group and approx. £25 to make someone literate and numerate. To donate to the project contact your local Mothers' Union Branch or email firstname.lastname@example.org