‘Not in a hurry to make big changes’

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The headline sums up the view of Joseph Kandiyesa (pictured left) as he takes over as Director of SIM Malawi’s partner, KINDLE Orphan Outreach (KINDLE)

 

Joseph Kandiyesa took over the reins of the organisation at the beginning of December 2014 when Dean Stocker, the Director for the previous three years, stood down.

Joseph comes to KINDLE having spent the last four  years as the Chairman of the Salima Civil Society Network, an organisation he describes as being a voice for, and promoting co-operation between, a number of diverse organisations in and around Salima.

Joseph takes on his new role with excitement at taking over a well-run and well respected organisation, but fully aware of the challenges that he faces, not least in the area of fund raising.

KINDLE has helped local people to access clean, safe water for domestic use and also to irrigate fields

Exciting and challenging

“I take on the role as Director with feelings of excitement but also knowing it will be challenging,” said Joseph, “excited, because of the strategy that KINDLE takes forward, integrating community involvement, spiritual matters etc. I can see how this interacts with others and how it has a lot of potential to bring hope to people in the community.

“Challenged, because I have to take on the work that Dean Stocker, the previous Director has done. I need to put on his shoes and carry things on. I am grateful that he will remain available for advice and encouragement.

Major challenge - funding

“One major challenge will be fund raising. I cannot help but wonder: ‘Will friends of Dean who support us become friends of mine and continue to do so now that he has stepped down?’ Part of this challenge will be to help them to trust the new leadership, and I think we have made a good start in this,” he said.

But his excitement will be tempered as he is in no rush to bring about big changes but wants to build on the foundations already in place. He quotes Malawi’s first President, Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda, who was reported as saying: “When I take over responsibility for something, I build on the foundations to a certain height but, if I cannot do that [build], I do not let it drop [below its existing height].”

Food aid to key areas

Joseph is firmly of the opinion that KINDLE is where it is today because people took time to develop it. At the time the organisation was set up in 2001/02 there was a devastating famine in Malawi as the rains failed and crops were destroyed or did not grow at all. So when it was set up, KINDLE was primarily a food- and aid-distribution organisation but over the years it has developed and grown to serve the villages and communities around Nanjoka in a number of ways.

KINDLE works under a number of ‘heads’: health, education, nutrition and critical care, food security, Community development and spiritual focus. Each of these areas of work is aimed towards orphans and vulnerable people within the communities and villages within its area of operation.

But it works in an unique way. Although it is called KINDLE (which stands for Kids In Need Deserve Love and Encouragement) Orphan Outreach, it owns no orphanages. Instead, the Outreach part of the title means that it reaches out to orphans in the communities in which they live. This gives KINDLE a vital link to the villages and communities around its central office complex in Nanjoka.

Some of the children KINDLE works with around Nanjoka

‘Community Week’

“There probably will be changes over the next two years, but not huge ones. One thing I would like is to see the community taking more responsibility for care for the vulnerable. I think it is easier for me to ask for this than for Dean because I am their ‘son’ or ‘brother’ and not an outsider,” he said.

“I have an idea that one week in every year we will have a ‘Community Week’ for people to identify the needs in their own community. We will make KINDLE staff available to help in this and then see if and where KINDLE can help in practical ways. I want this work to be a catalyst for other work to take place, and we will do the resulting work as and when we have the resources available.”

Katawa Clinic - major success

One of the most successful parts of KINDLE is the Katawa Clinic which has developed a strong reputation for good health care in trying conditions. The clinic has no mains electricity but still it draws people from as far as Salima Boma, about 10-15kms distance, to Dowa, a town some 50 or so kilometres from its site.

“We want to see Katawa continue to flourish and grow,” said Joseph.

“The area from which it receives patients is large and this is a reflection of the quality of health care patients receive. But we want more. One of the things that have been in the plans for a while is the provision of maternity services. We want to build a dedicated maternity unit but we need to have a reliable electricity supply to provide the services. We are in discussion with ESCOM (the Electricity Supply Company of Malawi) to bring mains electricity to Katawa and those discussions remain ongoing,” he said

Katawa comes under the ‘Health’ aspect of KINDLE’s work; another important area of work is Education. Indeed, education is an area which Joseph sees as important and he has some far-reaching plans to develop that part of KINDLE’s work.

“An area I want to see develop is Educational Sponsorship. I want to facilitate the construction of a new secondary school in the area. My vision is that orphans from that area will be able to attend for free while others will be expected to pay. We would look to involve government teachers for the school.

Better internal links

“I also want to see even better internal links with the KINDLE organisation itself. So, for example, if someone working in the area of nutrition at, say Katawa Clinic, talks about the kinds of food that are needed to help patients there, I would want the person in charge of Food Security to take note, and to work with farmers in our area to make sure they plant the crops which will provide that food. That, I think, is a vital area for the future,” he said

So the new Director of KINDLE will move, to use a familiar Chichewa phrase, ‘Pang’ono pang’ono’ (literally ‘slowly,

 slowly’) but this does not mean he is sitting too still and quiet. He is determined that KINDLE will continue to flourish under his guidance. But, as he settles into his new role, is Joseph Kandiyesa feeling confident about the future for himself and the organisation?

Confidence to face tomorrow

“Yes I am very confident and, with the help of God, we can make it. I have a very supportive board and a very supportive outgoing Director and, with this goodwill to draw upon and the help of God, I have the confidence to face tomorrow!” he said.

 

KINDLE Orphan Outreach is supported by SIM Malawi project MW96758

Outreach and Development in Nanjoka Community

 

 


Volume 3: Issue 1
Webpage icon Malawi Amoto Editorial
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Webpage icon Mission takes another step forward
Webpage icon Tapping into ‘Wells of Joy’