CII Sparks Transformative Change in Zomba, Malawi

RootChangeDevelopment Revolution, Reimagining Projects

By Angela Serrano and Myson Jambo

CII Malawi Update November 2023

In a mere few months, the Community Independence Initiative (CII) in Zomba, Malawi, has yielded tangible benefits, capturing the attention of neighboring leaders eager to replicate this transformative program in their villages. Launched by Root Change in June, CII has brought together 50 families in a peer-driven change model, emphasizing their talents, strengths, and resourcefulness. The objective is to empower families to define their goals, build robust social networks, and uncover strategies for self-elevation and community development.

Outcomes in the First Three Months

Chikumbu CII Group

The Chikumbu Family Group, consisting of 13 families, is actively participating in CII within the Ulumba community, Zomba District Council. Starting in June, these families began receiving a monthly allowance of $25 (25,000 MK). With the first allowance, they established a savings group where each family contributes $4 (4,000 MK) monthly. This initiative not only encouraged savings but also provided funds for various household projects.

The Chikumbu Family Group’s active involvement in CII has demonstrated the potential for positive change, fostering financial literacy and community support. While their discussions have covered a range of topics, their central focus has consistently revolved around enhancing their families’ well-being.

Paying it Forward

In July, a heartwarming story emerged within the group, involving a 13-year-old girl from the community. Her exceptional performance in the 2023 Primary School Leaving Examinations earned her a place at Ulumba Community Day Secondary School. However, she had limited financial means to cover her school fees since, as an orphan, she resides with her aunt who is a single parent struggling to provide for her own four children.

When one Chikumbu CII Family shared this story during a group meeting, it resonated deeply with all members and they collectively decided to take action. Each family decided to contribute $1 (1,000 MK), and they unanimously agreed to withdraw $5 (5,000 MK) from their savings group. Their contribution not only covered the girl’s school fees but also provided essential school supplies, such as textbooks, preparing her for her educational journey ahead.

This generous act from the family group overwhelmed the girl’s family, who eagerly shared the story with their village chief. Delighted with the news, the chief commended the CII Group’s charitable efforts, and encouraged them to persist. News of this quickly reached other village chiefs, who convened a meeting and together composed a letter addressed to the Root Change CII Family Liaison, Myson Jambo, expressing their desire for the Initiative to expand its reach within the community. 

In just a few months CII has demonstrated its community-level impact, leaving local leaders eager to witness more stories of peer-driven transformation. Root Change is currently seeking new partners to support the expansion of CII in Zomba and other areas in Malawi.

For more information please reach out to mjambo@rootchange.org