The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) is an advocacy arm of the Catholic Church in the Diocese of Mzuzu mandated to oversee issues of social justice, human rights and democratic governance. Since its inception in the year 1999, CCJP has implemented and is still implementing several interventions in supporting the Diocesan pastoral efforts aimed at ‘ensuring spiritual, social and economic transformation and development of individuals, families and communities in the Diocese.’ All interventions by CCJP border on promoting justice and peace, human rights, democratic governance including child and women protection in the communities the church serves.
Currently CCJP has two major projects supported by Misereor in Germany. The first project tilted ‘Land Rights for Women and Marginalized Groups’ is implemented in St Denis Parish and Mzambazi Praish with a view of promoting land ownership rights for vulnerable women and marginalized groups.
The second project tilted ‘Enhancing Gender Equality to Protect and Promote the Rights of Girl’ is implemented in St Cecilia, St Joseph Mkasa, Holy Family and Holy Cross Parishes. The team below is responsible for implementing all the interventions that fall under CCJP mandate.
1. Enhancing Gender Equality to Protect and Promote the Rights of Girls in Mzuzu Diocese Project
Goal: To contribute towards protecting and promoting gender equality and fulfilling the right to education for girls
OBJECTIVE 1: Parents and guardians have a mind-set that girls and boys have the same rights to education
OBJECTIVE 2: Protection and safeguarding systems for girls in the school environment and communities where they reside protect and promote the right to education for girls.
Objective 3: Re-admission strategies for girls who drop and dropped out of school are effective and responsive.
One of the ways the project aims to achieve these objectives is through working with girls in 101 primary schools in four parishes of St Cecilia in Mzimba, St Joseph Mkasa in Rumphi, Holy Family and Holy Cross in Kasungu.
58 project volunteers including CCJP parish committees and Education Parish Committees have been trained in data collection and documentation regarding girls who drop out of school due to child marriage, defilement and teenage pregnancies.
CCJP has partnered with St John of God to provide psychosocial support such as counseling and first aid to girls that are victims of child marriage, defilement and teenage pregnancy before they are brought back to school.
CCJP is also working with Mother Groups, School Management Committees, Parents Teachers Association, District Executive Sub-Committee on Education, Police Victim Support Unit, Health Centres and District Hospitals, Magistrate Court, Parents and Guardians in all the targeted schools.
2. Land Rights for Women and Marginalized Groups Project
Goal: To secure women’s and other marginalized groups’ lifelong access to and tenure of agricultural land for better realization of their right to food as well as socio-economic rights.
Objective 1: Targeted traditional leaders and District Executive Committee (DEC) members in Mzimba and Rumphi districts promote and protect customary tenure rights of women and other marginalized groups.
Objective 2: Targeted women and marginalised groups have access to and control over agricultural land for food production.
This is a 3 years project (April, 2021 – March, 2024) and has just clocked 1 year since implementation started. To-date 112 out of the 300 targeted women and marginalized groups have acquired land through lobbying and dialogue with relatives and traditional chiefs as one of the major outcomes of capacity building and development of traditional chiefs, project volunteers, and landless women and marginalized groups conducted in the project sites.
Pictures depicting Mr. Felix Manda and Fr. Cyprian Ngoma and landless women in a discourse on women’s land rights in Mphompha in St Denis Parish
CCJP is currently working closely with 112 women and marginalized groups who have acquire land through interventions of project in making sure that land is fully utilized for crop production to ensure household food security and improved household income.