Malawi’s Vulnerable Youth Receiving Entrepreneurial Skills in Catholic Bishops’ Initiative

Logo of the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF). Credit: SCIAF

Members of the Episcopal Conference of Malawi (ECM) are empowering young people in the Southern African nation with entrepreneurial skills and vocational education.  

Collaborating with the relief and development agency of the Catholic Church in Scotland, Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF), the Catholic Bishops, through the Catholic Development Commission in Malawi (CADECOM), are empowering the young people through the Hope for Youth project.

“The Hope for Youth Project, which started in 2017 aims at empowering women and vulnerable groups through vocational education and entrepreneurship skills,” CADECOM’s National Coordinator, Chimwemwe Sakunda, has been quoted as saying in a Wednesday, October 6 report. 

The youth enrolled in the project, Mr. Sakunda adds, are "given vocational skills in trades like electrical installation, fabrication and welding, construction and brick-layering as well as carpentry and joinery." 

The project, which is operational in Zambia’s Mangochi and Zomba Catholic Dioceses "has also helped promote self-reliance among the youth and increased access to vocational skills’ training by vulnerable youths especially girls," he further says. 


“The project, therefore, is promoting equitable and non-gender-biased access and retention in the targeted vocational colleges,” says the official of the entity previously known as Caritas Malawi

In the October 6 report, Christopher, a beneficiary of the Catholic Bishops’ initiative, says he is able to support his family thanks to the training and support he received. 

"I am very happy with the skills and tools I received from the project because my life has really changed," says Christopher who underwent a bricklaying course and was later provided with tools to start a business. 

He continues, “After receiving the tools from Hope for Youth, I went to Wisdom Construction Company for practicals. I worked there for one year and after gaining enough experience, I went back home and I am now constructing my own house."

"Now, I have my own house and am able to support my family in all needs, which wasn’t the case before,” Christopher says.

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On his part, Mark Dodoma who was trained in electrical installation, says he is “so grateful for the program." 

"I am happy to say I am now able to install people’s fridges, geezers, solar panels, televisions among others,” says Dodoma.

For 23-year-old Maxwell London, his life "has greatly changed" thanks to the Hope for Youth project. 

London studied electrical installation and electronics in one of Hope for Youth centres. He advertised his skills through posters and upon completing his studies, has won different contracts. 

“Right now, I am able to support myself and my family easily because of the skills and start-up tools I got from the project and really my life has greatly changed," says London. 


He adds that he has been able to purchase additional tools, a home theatre system, and has opened a barber shop where he has employed a youth.

London also expresses his gratitude to ECM members and other donors "for this good project."

Felister John, a 25 years old divorced mother of two children, was also employed after studying bricklaying and receiving startup tools from Hope for Youth project. 

In May this year, SCIAF said that 2,205 young women and men have benefitted from the project that has previously received funding from the European Union (EU).

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.