[catlist name="CADECOM"]


Name of Organization:


Form of Registration in Malawi:

Catholic Development Commission in Malawi (CADECOM) is a development and relief arm of the Catholic Church in Malawi. CADECOM is registered in the Republic of Malawi under The Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) umbrella under the Trustees Act of 1962, and is a member of Council for Non Governmental Organisations in Malawi (CONGOMA) registration number C026/1994 and also a member of Caritas Internationalis. In addition it is a registered member of Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET), Coordination Unit for the Rehabilitation of the Environment (CURE), The Malawi Vulnerability Assessment Committee (CURE), MVAC, the Civil Society Network on Climate Change (CISONECC) among others.

Contact Details (name, address, telephone, email):

Wanangwa Msowoya

Diocesan CADECOM Programmes   Manager

P.O. Box 543, Mzuzu, Malawi.

Telephone: +265 1 303 097 / 01 303 432

Mobile: +265 995 483 293 / (0) 888 435 011




Brief Organisation Background:

The Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) established the Catholic Development Commission in Malawi (CADECOM) with the major function of creating awareness and empowering disadvantaged men, women and the youth at all levels to undertake development which is integral, gender and environment sensitive, sustainable and which promotes justice and human dignity.

CADECOM’s mission aims at creating awareness and empowering disadvantaged men, women and the youth at all levels to undertake development which is integral, gender and environment sensitive, sustainable and which promotes Justice, Human Dignity, Self Reliance with the active participation of the people themselves so that they take up the responsibility of their own destiny.

The Structures of CADECOM operate at four main levels: at national, deanery, diocesan and parish levels. These structures also operate at the outstations and the activity community/group levels. The national office facilitates and coordinates CADECOMs work, but does not implement any activity. As a development arm of ECM, CADECOM National Office is also at the disposition of Diocesan CADECOMs by rendering technical support where necessary and assisting in capacity building in the dioceses with their close collaboration. The office is headed by a Bishop elected by the Conference, linking it with the office of the National CADECOM Secretary through office of the Secretary General. Diocesan offices facilitate, coordinate and implement CADECOM works in the dioceses through the Parishes/Deaneries and activity groups in the communities. At diocesan level, the Bishop is the legal holder of all CADECOM projects. The Diocesan CADECOM Secretary is responsible for overall management of CADECOM in the diocese and facilitates and coordinates development and relief programmes. The Secretary is also responsible for soliciting funding for projects accepted and approved by the Diocesan CADECOM Board. She/he is also a link between the diocese and other dioceses, national office, international agencies, district assemblies and other development agencies. There is a CADECOM Committee at each parish with the overall task of overseeing development and relief work in the parish. The committees identify developmental and relief needs of all people in that parish develop activity plans and ensures activities are implemented and monitored. The Parish Committees are also responsible for receiving project proposals from the activity groups and submit them to the office of the Diocesan CADECOM. As a policy, at least 30 percent of the committee members are women leadership and decision making positions. CADECOM works in six strategic areas: – food security and nutrition, relief and rehabilitation, Water, hygiene and sanitation, Climate Change adaptation and mitigation, Disaster Risk Reduction, lobbying and advocacy, Training for Transformation and crosscutting issues (gender and HIV/AIDS, disability, and human rights).

Although CADECOM is an arm of the Catholic Church in Malawi, it does not discriminate it works with people of all religions. Our work and targeting procedure is determined by levels of vulnerability!

Major Partners: Donations are solicited from Catholic organisations and other donor agencies through development of programme/project proposals. Partners who have supported Caritas Malawi over the past years include: Dan Church Aid, Manos Unidas, AGRA, Trocaire, Cordaid, Caritas Australia, CRS, LDS, Caritas Sweden, SCIAF, USAID, Oxfam, FAO, UNDP, Cafod, World Food Programme.

Location of Headquarters:

Catholic Diocese of Mzuzu, Mzuzu CADECOM, behind Mchengautuwa Total filling station, Jobidon house, Mzuzu, MALAWI.

Brief (five year) History of Operations:

CADECOM has been working in Malawi since 1983 when it was responding to the influx of refugees from neighbouring Mozambique. Thereafter the organisation has been responding to flooding and drought emergencies that have been common in the recent past in Malawi while operating as ‘Caritas Malawi’. Due to high demand for development projects in the communities that Caritas Malawi was serving and entrenched nature of poverty, food insecurity and environmental degradation, Caritas Malawi started implementing development projects in the mid 1990’s. During the same period the Bishops conference in Malawi agreed to change the “Caritas Malawi” to Catholic Development Commission in Malawi (CADECOM) to encompass the programmatic shift. The Catholic Church in Malawi has eight dioceses each of which maintains a CADECOM office that is responsible for implementing relief and development projects on behalf the Catholic Church in Malawi in general in that respective diocese.

Over the past 5 years CADECOM has been facilitating implementation of various relief and developmental programmes in 24 out of 28 districts in Malawi

The Details below highlight some of the achievements  of CADECOM Mzuzu Diocese. 

3.1. Water, hygiene and Sanitation

CADECOM after conducting as assessment of access to safe potable water by the vulnerable households in Malawi, it noted that more than 56% of the Country population (13 million people) are unable to access safe portable water and the situation leads to occurrence of water borne diseases i.e. cholera and long time >2 hours is spent fetching for unsafe water and this contribute to non productive of women who normally withdraws the water.

With financial support from Caritas Australia, Catholic Organisation for Relief and Development Aid embarked on an access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation within her Integrated Development Program and Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction Program respectively.

A borehole drilled im Mzuzu with financial support from Caritas Australia in St. Joseph Parish (left) and a Good toilet contribute to proper hygiene



  • Reduced incidences of occurence of water borne diseases due to access to safe portable water and access to good toilets from the recorded 30 to 2 in the impact area.
  • Reduced time spent in search of water from 2 hours to less than 10 minutes and the saved time is being used to do other productive work i.e. kitchen gardening ( vegetable production) in the impact area winter cropping in Makunje community in Lilongwe and Msoma community in Zomba.

3.2 Agriculture and Food Security

 Malawi is an agro based Country with 85% of the population practising subsistence farming and relying on maize as the main staple food.

Through CADECOM partners i.e. CRS, target communities are implementing agriculture and food security interventions to meet their food requirements and improve nutrition status. At the same time, the surplus is sold for income sources.

Due to increased post harvest losses, CADECOM has been promoting new ways of reducing such losses. Currently, CADECOM has just produced a draft report on post harvest losses and will use its finding to reduce such incidences.

Grain storage- sign of food security at household level in CADECOM impact areas.

 3.2.1 Small Scale Irrigation

Over the past ten years, Malawian farmers have been relying on rainfed agriculture, however due to climate change that has resulted in frequent occurences of droughts, CADECOM and the target communities through the Cordaid funded Disaster Risk Reduction Program resorted to practice small scale irrigation to mitigate the effects of drought.


                          irrigated maize field in Mzuzu Diocese

 Outcome of the strategy

  • Reduced food gap of the participating 300 households from the previous five months to one month as they are able to harvest twice/thrice a year and have almost enough food to run them for the whole year.
  • Increased sources of income to participating households from less than a dollar per day to more than two dollars per day due to sale of crops grown under irrigation

3.2.2 Livestock Production

With limited sources of nutritive food and incomes sources, CADECOM through her funding partners are promoting small livestock production i.e. goats, chickens, pigs, guinea fowls through the livestock pass on scheme.

Over 5,000 households have been supported with class of livestock and there are  different livestock classes in the  Dioceses.

                        Goats have proved to be drought tolerant

      Outcome of the strategy

  • Increased asset base for the participating households.
  • Improved nutrition and food security status of participating 10,000 households
  • Increased household income of the participating households from less than a dollar to more than two dollars a day through sale of livestock products such as meat and hides

3.3 Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction + Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation

 CADECOM conducted a research to establish the effects of climate change on vulnerable households. Findings of the same revealed that climate change is undermining livelihoods of communities through reduced crop production, occurrence of diseases and pests, occurrence of droughts and floods and increasing levels of poverty among the vulnerable households.

With support from her funding partners, CADECOM in 2005 started implementing a community Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and in 2008, it was changed to Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction (CMDRR) to reflect the change from management to reduction considering the fact of climate change. In addition, CADECOM has also been implementing climate change adaptation and mitigation related projects in other dioceses such as Dedza whose results have shown that there have been an increased resilience to disasters by the communities.

There are a number of strategies being advanced and some of them are as follows:

3.3.1 Capacity Building

CADECOM believes capacity building of staff and communities is the entry point to mitigate effects of climate change through mainstreaming of CMDRR into livelihoods and other programs.

Capacity building critical in DRR for knowledge enhancement-a community member making a presentation during DRR training in Mzuzu.

 A total of 60 staff and 6830 communities have been trained in the CMDRR concept and are mainstreaming the same in their programs.

Outcomes the above strategy

  • Increased knowledge in DRR cycle among program staff, communities and stakeholders.
  • Development of preparedness, prevention, survivability and contingency and development plans by 20 communities.
  • Communities are able to implement and monitoring the program using a holistic approach which is in line with the DRR Cycle.

3.3.2 Environmental Rehabilitation

Droughts and floods are associated with environmental degradation i.e. deforestation. CADECOM target communities are practising environmental rehabilitation through afforestation. There are a total of 2 million trees that have been planted by the communities in homesteads, river banks and marginal lands.

Tree nursery establishment

With deforestation and scarce fuel wood, the target communities have resorted to promotion of energy saving stoves to reduced volumes of fuel wood and save time spent in search of the same.

                               Tree nursery establishment

With deforestation and scarce fuel wood, the target communities have resorted to promotion of energy saving stoves to reduced volumes of fuel wood and save time spent in search of the same.

         Moulded energy saving stoves (left) and ready for selling (right)

Outcome of strategy

  • Rehabilitated environment which will lead to reduction in effects of climate change i.e. droughts.
  • Sources of fuel wood from nearby homes which takes 15 minutes as compared to the previous 1 hour when women were fetching for fuel wood in the mountains hence more time is spent on other development issues.

3.4 Access to Markets

 Malawi being agro based economy; farmers rely on sale of crop produce to access money for improving their livelihoods i.e. buying food, paying school fees, medical bills, clothes and other necessities. The main cash crops are tobacco, cotton, tea and sugar while minor crops include beans, soya and assorted vegetables and fruits.

Due to market globalisation, farmers are being exploited as they are not meeting the cost of production i.e. for the past two years, cotton has been bought at half the government set minimum price i.e. K30/kg instead of K60/kg.

One of the factors contributing to exploitation of farmers by middle buyers (vendors) is lack of group of farmers working together to have one common voice and bargaining power.

In addition to this, CADECOM participated in the District in Rumphi and Mzuzu District Agriculture fair and National Agriculture fair in Blantyre cities irrespectively.

Farmers present their commodities during Mzuzu North District Agriculture Fair 2018

                               Rumphi District Agriculture Fair 2018

3.5 Response to Emergency

It is within the mandate of the Catholic Church in Malawi through CADECOM to respond to emergencies. Malawi as of late has been prone to a number of disasters which include floods, epidemics, earthquakes and food insecurity.

During the 2001/2002, 2008/2009 and 2012/2013 hunger period CADECOM assisted over 20,000 households with food aid to save their lives which were in danger           of starvation.  


3.6 Response to HIV/AIDs

The Country has not been spared from the pandemic and the present prevalence rate stand at 12%. CADECOM is working with the communities to mitigate the effect of the pandemic through improved nutrition of the effected. They are promoting backyard gardens with assorted vegetables and herbals. There are over 5,000 kitchen gardens in the CADECOM impact areas.

Kitchen/backyard gardens with assorted vegetables to improve nutrition status of HIV/AIDS patients

 3.7 Advocacy and Lobbying

 CADECOM being a national organisation is involved in advocacy and lobbying. This is guided by her developed advocacy strategy. In order to facilitate the same, CADECOM conduct research in key advocacy issues affecting the vulnerable groups. Findings of this research are presented to policy makers through one –on-one meetings, press briefs and publications. CADECOM also network and cooperate with other stakeholders to build a common consensus of advocacy issues and speak with one voice.

As of late, CADECOM has successful lobbied and advocated for the establishment of DRR platform which is a think tank of DRM issues in Malawi. In addition, CADECOM has also actively participated in the development of other key national DRM documents such as the DRM policy, DRM Framework and guidelines and the draft DRM handbook for Malawi.

 3.8 Documentation

To publicise the work of CADECOM and to form basis for advocacy, CADECOM document all her best practices and her work. The same are shared with Government, donor partners and other stakeholders. Some of the documentaries include:

  • —  Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction Training Manual.
  • —  Disaster Risk Reduction Best Practices.
  • —  Best Practices guide for Emergency food Interventions.
  • —  Video documentaries on Community Managed Disaster Risk Reduction and other programs.
  • —  Newspaper inserts to depict CADECOM works and to promote lobbying and advocacy.



  • CADECOM (Caritas Malawi) through networking is now well known by government, funding partners and other stakeholders as a key partner in CMDRR i.e. all activities facilitated/organized by the department of disaster management affairs (DoDMA), CADECOM is the first to be invited and contribute positively to the development of DRR national issues including establishment of national DRR forums where technical issues could be discussed.
  • The documentation and sharing of best practices has made the work of CADECOM to be known by government, funding partners and other stakeholders.
  • Networking and documentation has provided a platform for lobbying and advocacy
Current Human Resources:
Category (e.g. Management, finance, administration, technical, labour etc) No of Staff based in Field Offices No of Staff based in Head Office *
Director of Social development 1
Management Diocesan level 2 2
Finance & administration/Projects accountant 1 1
Technical 9
Total 12 4


Current Project Portfolio in “Country”:  
Project Source(s) of Funding Implementation Period Number of Beneficiaries Location
A+ Caritas Australia 3 of 5 years 1000 households Rumphi and Mzimba
Extension Advisory Services(EAS) and Recovering Agricultural Livelihoods in Small-holder Farmers CRS-Private fund and LDS- Latter-Day Saints 1 year 7,700 households (12,700 beneficiaries)  

Kasungu North and Mzimba South



Strengthening resilience for smallholder farmers in mzuzu diocese Manos Unidas 1 Year 1000 households Nkhotakota North and Mzimba South

Partnerships With Other Organisations (Government, donor agencies, NGOs, CSOs etc):

CADECOM is committed to working with local partner organisations, government departments including community based organisations (CBOs). We champion use of community managed disaster risk reduction approach in programming where communities are owners of development work and change that it brings. We also believe in putting sustainable measures through institutionalising our interventions to long-term partners like government departments and community based structures.

Monitoring and Evaluation Capacity: Overview of CADECOM National Offices M&E capability and experience

CADECOM Malawi maintains a monitoring and evaluation unit that is responsible for all M&E functions in the dioceses. The unit is responsible for conducting baseline surveys, internal evaluation and capacity building for staff in the area of M&E. The unit also produces standardised data collection tools that the dioceses use for monitoring progress.