SELL PROGRAMME AT YOUTH DEVELOPMENT UNIT, UNGWERU 2022 REPORT
As the SELL Programme began to take root in Mzuzu diocese, Northern Malawi, many activities were undertaken to get it underway. The early months of the year were devoted to making contacts, setting up the structures, recruiting personnel to run the Programme and buying the necessary equipment for the Resource Room. Here in Malawi the SELL Programme is working under the Youth Development Unit of the registered NGO called Ungweru which means Light.
Initial Preparation for First Training on Self Awareness.
This involved the purchase of materials needed, getting an artist to produce all the necessary visuals and having all resources ready for the training. There was also the task of laminating the SELL Overview and Self-Awareness facilitating materials so that full kits would be available for all trainees.
Publication of the new Manual
The Team also finished the preparation work on the new version of the Facilitator’s manual and had 500 copies printed by Likoma Press, Mzuzu.
Preparation for first training
This work continued and the remaining kits for the training were checked and laminated. Using the Facilitators Guide for the first training, the Team shared out the roles for the training, so that each one could do their own preparation work. Meanwhile finishing work on the resource room was ongoing. Bookshelves and equipment were purchased. In March a vehicle was secured to serve the team’s outreach work
After the meeting with shareholders, contact was made with all the trainees who had been nominated from the different communities informing them about the dates for the training, time of arrival and also making sure of their availability. Trainees whose numbers were not reachable were contacted through their colleagues in their communities. Once contact was established, the trainees were able to make known any logistical challenges that had arisen. Having solved most of these, the majority of trainees were able to confirm that they would be able to attend.
This took place at the Pastoral Centre in Nkhatabay district, Northern Malawi with the arrival of 37 participants on the 13th of July, who were duly registered from 4 pm onwards, given their accommodation and immediately began the training programme. The Vicar General of Mzuzu Diocese, Fr Andrew Chunda, was a visitor to the training and he shared words of encouragement to the participants. The young adults taking part in the training, as well as the Team, were very happy to see him, to realize how they have the backing of the diocese and they presented him with a copy of the SELL Manual for Facilitators as a gift. Fr Benjamin Banda, Mzuzu Diocese youth chaplain, also visited the training venue to show solidarity with the programme and the Team and participants were very happy also with his presence, his support and his challenge to the young adults of the diocese to take the training seriously and to be willing to give generously of their time and energy so that the programme should be a success. During the training all participants received their individual copy of the SELL Manual for Facilitators and on the 16th July, each team of trainees was given a kit containing the materials needed to facilitate the workshop on Self Awareness. They were also given dates for the step down workshops in their communities. The training programme ended with a Eucharist on Sunday, July 17.
Preparation for step-down workshops
Immediately after the training, once back at the Resource Room, the Team began preparing for the stepdown workshops. Communication was established with the communities that were to host the workshops, to remind them about the dates for the workshops and also their dates for rehearsals for the facilitating team. In addition, the Resource Team began developing a new unit for the programme focused on Care for the Earth. It is hoped to have this ready in 2023 and it will be an additional training for this pioneer group
First step-down workshops
From July 29th to 6th November 2022, Team members of the SELL team travelled to mentor the trainees whose communities conducted first step down workshop on the Self-Awareness unit. Within this period the programme reached fourteen communities with 232 men and 204 women in attendance. Overall, the SELL team was happy with how the facilitators conducted the workshops and believed that as they get more experience, they will grow in confidence and expertise. The communities visited were, Nkhata bay, Mzambazi, Lusangazi, Nkhamenya & Bowe, Kasitu, Rumphi, Mzimba, Mzuni, Chasefu & Zolozolo, Luwinga & Chibavi, Mchengautuwa, Kavibale and Lusekelo computer school.
Sadly, the first two persons that joined the SELL Resource Team Emmanuel and Maria both left within a short period of each other to pursue other paths. Since then Mary and Isaac have joined the Team and are enjoying the experience. We had some challenges with a few communities not taking up the opportunity of the training. We respect the fact that some say they do not have funds to send trainees. For those communities we have encouraged them to present this need to the diocese via the pastoral secretary. The other concern noted was our monthly reports on the work are not being shared on the diocesan website (Nor on the Ungweru one – though we are told that one will soon be resolved). We have gathered a following via our Facebook page and we also publish our reports in the blog section of the general website for SELL.
Not all trainees showed the ability to fully grasp the programme and to share it with their communities. This meant that some of them opted out and had to be replaced. However, overall there is a strong group of facilitators who will be quite capable of continuing their training so as to conduct the step-down workshops. At a recent meeting of some priests there was a perception that parish communities were responsible only for the initial workshop and that “SELL” would then fully fund future work. We are unsure where this idea has come from because it was never said by the SELL Resource Team. In fact, for the first round of workshops, the communities have proved, that with good will from youth chaplains and youth councils, there is no difficulty in bringing people together for the programme. We hope that this issue will be clarified once and for all at the meeting of the youth chaplains, which is scheduled for January 24 next year.
SELL TEAM MALAWI
Beginnings are always challenging. While there is still much to do, a very good start has been made. With the support of the bishop of Mzuzu Diocese, who is encouraging in every way he can, the Programme is now up and running. Leo began with infrastructure supported by SELL Connect, a support group in Ireland. St Patrick’s Missionary society funded the wall that secures the compound and purchased the vehicle for the work. In 2022, MK20,116,551.00 was spent on the Programme. Trocaire (Development agency of the Irish Catholic Church) has recently offered support for the next training in January 2023 on Leadership. So, we express our thanks and appreciation to everyone who is making it possible for us to reach out to young adults supporting them on their life journey and working with them to build a better future. As we finish this year, we look forward to 2023 with optimism, excitement and hope.
For SELL Resource Team Ungweru Organization
For SELL Resource Team Ungweru Organization