Follow up World Communications Day : Malawi
“Radio Tigabane”: pastoral and social programmes for northern Malawi
Reinhard Backes, ACN International
Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, ACN Canada
Malawi is one of the world’s poorest countries. On the United Nations Development Programme’s 2011 human development index, this south-east African state ranks 171 out of 187. In addition Malawi is one of Africa’s most densely populated countries. More than 80 per cent of Malawians are Christians, including about one quarter Catholics. According to statistics the proportion of Muslims is 13 per cent.
The diocese of Mzuzu in northern Malawi is the fastest growing Catholic diocese in the country, according to its own figures. A letter from the diocese to the international Catholic pastoral charity “Aid to the Church in Need” states: “Every year more than 6,000 adults are taken into the Catholic Church. Most are converts from other Christian denominations.” To reach as many of the faithful as possible, the diocese maintains its own broadcasting station, “Radio Tigabane”. The name comes from the local Tumbuka language and means “share”.
The programmes on “Radio Tigabane” are, according to the director, Father Eugene W. Ngoma, geared to the needs of the population in this rural area: “Alongside the weekly religious programmes – broadcast of the Sunday mass, prayers and the rosary – we offer programmes on health, education, justice and peace as well as on socio-economic development. In doing this we are adhering to an ecumenical principle because our listeners include not only Catholics, but also Christians of other denominations and Muslims.”
And according to Father Ngoma other beneficiaries are the Diocesan Commissions for Education, Development, Health, Justice and Peace as well as Pastoral Work, who address primarily socially disadvantaged groups through a wide range of initiatives.
The Bishop of the Mzuzu diocese, Joseph M. Zuza, asked ACN to help with the difficult problem of funding the radio station. The pastoral charity has promised $13,270.
Anyone wishing to help fund the project should give as the purpose of their donation: Malawi / Mzuzu 12/0150
Tomorrow: An interview with the director of the Communications Department, Mark von Reidemann.