By Duncan Mlanjira
Canadian cooperator Karen McBride, who is raising awareness for Malawian charity Women at Heart Foundation, has praised former Inspector General Lot Thauzeni Pansipadana Dzonzi for his role that cemented the establishment of a Police Savings & Credit Cooperative (SACCO) way back in 2013-14.
Dzonzi retired as Deputy Permanent Representative/Deputy Ambassador of Malawi to the United Nations after he attained the mandatory age of 60 years on 14th of January, 2019.
The retirement came after 32 years of government service, 28 years of which as a law enforcement officer and 4 years as a diplomat.
He was in the Malawi Police Service for 28 years, a journey he started in July 1987 as a teacher/constable at Police Secondary School in Zomba and ended on 22nd November 2014 as Inspector General of Police at Area 30 in Lilongwe.
“I just read the story you shared about Mr. Lot Dzonzi,” says McBride. “He was Inspector General when we were in Malawi.
“My husband was a police chaplain and so one of the things he did while we were in Malawi in 2013 and 2014 is work with the Malawi Police chaplains.
“Through those relationships, my husband (Reverend Blair Dixon) was able to establish enough trust such that the Inspector General agreed to talk with former chief executive officer for Malawi Union of Savings & Credit Cooperatives (MUSCCO), late Sylvester Kadzola.
“This was something that late Sylvester had long wanted to be done but had encountered resistance because of past concerns.
“Anyway, to cut a long story short, Blair and I then worked hard to deliver financial literacy training to the police detachments throughout the country in 2013 and then recruitment drives and the licensing and registration side of things in 2014.
“Affinity Credit Union had given me a laptop and I gave it to the Police SACCO as their first office computer.
“I am so pleased to learn that the Malawi Police SACCO is doing well and is now the second largest SACCO in Malawi.
“Mr. Dzonzi, Sylvester and the rest of Malawi Police senior officers made a difference to the economic lives of police officers and their families.
“When we would go out and do the financial literacy training, the police officers attending would usually be sitting looking disheartened but as we shared more innovative information with them, they would gradually sit up straight and I would see hope come into their eyes.
“That the lives of the police officers and their families could be different and their future more secure, makes me be so proud.
“I love that the threads of the relationships continue to intertwine to bring positive change for our beloved Malawi.”
But Dzonzi was modest and played down his role, saying the journey of the Malawi Police Service SACCO started under Peter Mukhito’s leadership.
“I picked it up from there. Rev. Fr. David Bello who is now at a parish in Thyolo, Rev. Charles Masambuka (now at Zomba CCAP) and Sheikh Hassan (still at Headquarters) were the key facilitators.
“Most of the significant growth took place after my departure. I remain a member.”
Meanwhile, Karen is still in touch with Malawi after leaving the country they had been on secondment at MUSCCO.
Whilst in the country, they assisted an ambitious work colleague, Jovitta Likishoni Sakwiya to realize her dream of setting up the charity, Woman at Heart Foundation with an aim of helping orphaned and destitute children.
Karen explains on her blog, kerrieblair.blogspot.com, that they are partnering with Woman at Heart Foundation on a new venture in Likuni Village, which is quite close to where they had lived in 2013 and 2014.
Karen explains that her link with Likuni Village project came in 2014 when she facilitated Leadership Training for women working for MUSCCO and during the course she had asked asked them what their dreams were.
And Jovitta’s answer was to help orphans and since then she has worked diligently to prepare herself by completing her degree while continuing to work full-time before registering the Women at Heart Foundation.
Karen explains that Jovitta, who knows everything from brick making to animal feeding protocols to corporate marketing, developed a meticulously detailed and costed plan by purchasing a land in the village to grow vegetables.
“More recently, Blair and I were able to assist with the purchase of a second plot of land for raising animals,” Karen speaks to compatriots back in Canada in an appeal for funding through the blog.
“The plan calls for chickens, pigs and goats. We are starting with chicks, which will arrive in about 3 weeks time.
“Now we are raising money to support the next stage of the project — to build the kraals and animal shelters and purchase the goats and pigs.
“We must have enough basic shelters and kraals up before the chicks arrive. Some of you may feel moved to help — if so, St Matthews Anglican Church has set up a fund for Woman at Heart Foundation and will provide you with a tax receipt.
The same Affinity Credit Union which donated a lap top for the Police SACCO, has kindly waived the wire fees so they can send the money directly to the account in Malawi.