By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka
Abbreviated as COFO, the Community Forum is a Malawian non-profit making youth-led Organisation that builds community driven approaches for sustainable development and that is based in the Southern Region of Malawi at Dyeratu Trading Centre in Chikwawa district. The Organisation started in 2018 and as of now it has a team of 5 members who always advocate for real meaningful change in the district, something missed in many realities.
Since its establishment, the Organisation has three main areas of interest; Education and Youth where they provide school resources and the capacity for volunteer teachers to improve literacy and numeracy in primary schools and kindergartens, Health and Wellbeing of the people and a schools sports programs for youth and adolescents in order to improve their academics.
The Organisation also frequently educates the communities on how to improve nutrition, income and environmental health by providing quality farm inputs and demonstrating how locally available resources can meet human needs. One of the main goals is to improve the quality of life to all less privileged people and also the environment.
Amongst others, they provide community healthcare services for the promotion of good nutrition, Sexual Reproductive Health, HIV/AIDS services plus maternal and child health services in the rural areas. Furthermore they offer physical activities as a way of combating mental health issues, to refrain from sexual violence and to deal with non-communicable diseases at large.
According to the Executive Director of the Organisation Mr. Joshua Malunga, the primary mission is to work with the communities to sustainably improve their quality of life whilst building a community where all citizens have equal opportunities for a higher quality of life including but not limited to high standards of education, gender equality, health and livelihoods as its main vision.
He continued by saying that the Organisation also aims at promoting equal education opportunities especially for all underserved and underfunded communities, focusing on women’s and girl’s rights. By providing spaces for learning and opportunities for skills development which is in line with Malawi’s government efforts, COFO tries to ensure that all opportunities are shared equally among all the genders, like access to primary healthcare and to foster behaviour changes. Another objective is to improve food security through self sustainable community programs and other projects matching the needs of the communities.
The Organisation is currently affiliated with well recognised government and non governmental institutions both at the local and international levels such as the Ipas Malawi Youth for Change Network, Community Art Network, Chikwawa District Youth Office, District Gender Office as well as the District Health Office but also Comillas Pontifical University Spain, Bridge Kids International and the Catalyst 2030 amongst others.
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