Dorifasi John (left) with her mother (Sitilitha John) at home who regularly checks her school work at home during holidays
"My father died when I was 4 and since I got in Standard 8 my mother has been chronically ill hence failing to support me with school fees and uniform.... I lost hope and thought of dropping out of school until the Chamadzi CBO came to my rescue", Dorifasi John narrated her story of how she nearly dropped out of school due to a lack of school fees and resources but through the skill of proper networking and collaboration acquired from Milimo Activity, Chamadzi CBO intervened by connecting her to other stakeholders that paid her school fees.
Located in the Kambewa village, T/A Masumbankhunda in Lilongwe, Chamadzi CBO is one of the informal local civil society organizations that are the beneficiaries of the USAID-funded Milimo Local Capacity Building Activity in Malawi. In 2022, Milimo Activity facilitated a participatory capacity assessment exercise in the CBO to understand the core mandate of the CBO and the capacity gaps that stand in the way of the CBO's route to deliver on its mandate.
"As a CBO, our mandate is to serve our community in development areas like early childhood development, education, health, environmental conservation, and social welfare. However, before Milimo Activity, we were always working in isolation to solve the problems that required our intervention. We never knew that we could proactively set up partnerships and network with other stakeholders hence we failed to assist people whose problems require other partners to step in" Crifford Liwinga, Chamadzi CBO Director explained.
Having identified a 'lack of proper networking and collaborations" as a capacity gap in the CBO, Milimo Activity utilized the community mapping exercise it facilitated at the CBC to discuss how networking and collaborations vitally enhance organizational efficiency.
"Milimo opened our eyes to see that some of the solutions to our social development problems lie in other partners and stakeholders whom if we collaborate and network with, we can ably achieve our mandate"', Liwinga testified.
"We had needy children in our community including Dorifasi who needed school fees and having established good partnerships with stakeholders like our Ward Councilor and other organizations, we have now linked these children to these partners and they have been assisted”, Liwinga continued.
Dorifasi hails from Malanga village, TA Masumbankhunda and she is in Form 1 at Namitete Secondly School where school fees are at MK65, 000 per term. According to her, she nearly dropped out of school in February 2023 as she couldn't afford the tuition fees, transport costs, and school uniform. Her mother approached the CBO for assistance and the CBO submitted her name to Mwana wa Nzako Trust which is a Likuni-based bursary institution that the CBO got in partnership with. However, the institution indicated that they had completed the year’s listing of beneficiaries. The CBO then contacted the Ward Councilor who was committed to paying school fees for a number of needy students. Dorifasi is now happily in school with her dream of becoming a journalist.
"I am thankful to the CBO for helping to be a beneficiary of the school fees support from the Councilor" Dorifasi expressed her gratitude. Joana's mother Mrs Sitilitha John believes that her daughter has the full potential of excelling in school and achieve her dreams. “I am thankful to the CBO for helping Dorifasi with the school fees because she is a brilliant girl who deserves to stay in school,” said Mrs. John.