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Fighting corruption: a prophetic role of women religious in Malawi

African Sisters Education Collaborative (ASEC)

"By being Salt and Light the religious can instill Christian influence to make sure that this country is run in a way that takes into account the wellbeing of all people." --Sr. Teresa Mulenga, TS

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Sr. Teresa reflects on a recent SLDI finance workshop, explaining how skills gained through ASEC programs are a positive step towards fighting corruption in Malawi and other parts of Africa.

Prophetic role of the religious entails transforming the mindset, thinking and general perception of life. This is what the Prophets in the Old Testament, including the highest Prophet, Jesus Himself, spent their life doing.

According to a presentation* given by Henry Kachanje in 2016, corruption in Malawi poses serious risks to businesses investing in the country. All sectors of the economy such the judicial system, police, public services, land administration, tax and customs administration, public procurement, natural resources and legislation are allegedly suffering from widespread corruption. No one in Malawi is spared from this pandemic of corruption. I wonder why the Church does not appear on the list provided by the report – but, it is unlikely that we are spared from this malpractice.

By being Salt and Light the religious can instill Christian influence to make sure that this country is run in a way that takes into account the wellbeing of all people. Especially the vulnerable and the underprivileged, who are usually the victims of unclear or poorly defined policies. As Catholics we need to create a transformative programme for our institutions and the wider community. The spirit with which we do our work must radiate our gospel values which are intended to mark the life of every Christian as salt and light to world.

Those who cause this mess were educated in our schools. Pope St. John Paul II said:

"...the greatest challenge to justice and peace in Africa consists in a good administration of public affairs in the two interrelated areas of politics and economy. Certain problems have their root outside the continent... But many of the continent’s problems are the result of a manner of governing often stained by corruption."

The Malawian Bishops also said, "corruption is a sin and has drastic evil effects” (1 John 3:3-9).

It is robbing our nation of scarce resources, and it is the poor and the less powerful who are in the majority, who get punished by the effects of this deplorable crime (Amos 5:7-13).

In the Name of Our Lord say NO to Corruption Come back to me and live; a call to repentance as we walk together towards the year 2000. Pastoral Letter of the Bishops of Malawi, 1998, No 9, page 11.

This was prophetic, but how are we living this call as Catholics?

Research has shown that proper financial management systems are the key to ending corruption in Malawi. ASEC equips women religious with skills in financial management; stewardship, accountability, integrity, accounting principles, recording financial transactions, budgetary control, record, filing systems and internal controls just to mention a few. Most of the sisters who have participated in SLDI workshops are either administrators or financial managers in their institutions. Because of this I can confidently conclude that the skills gained through ASEC programs are a positive step towards fighting corruption in Malawi and other parts of Africa.

*Impact on Political and Socioeconomic Landscape in Malawi by Henry Kachanje, 2016

SLDI Finance workshop participants in Malawi pose for a group photo.

SLDI Finance workshop participants in Malawi pose for a group photo.

Article Submitted by:

Sr. Teresa Mulenga, TS


Programs Coordinator – Malawi  

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