AFSC Board Clerk joins dignitaries at festive event in Manica town.

On 18 September 2010 Arlene Kelly, AFSC Board clerk officially handed over the AFSC’s Mozambique Integrated Rural Development Program (MIRDP) to OCODEMA (Manica Community Development Organisation) in a public function held in Manica town. The handover was attended by Dereje Wordofa, AFSC Africa Regional Director, community members, government officials, NGOs and local media. The event marked the culmination of a weeklong series of celebrations that took place in AFSC’s partnering communities. These ceremonies end a two year phase out of AFSC’s work in Mozambique after over 30 years of presence in the country.  

There was a mood of celebration and hope coupled with messages of peace and love between the communities, AFSC and OCODEMA. Communities explained how the partnerships with AFSC and government provided peace and hope while also creating new resources for the communities. Arlene Kelly shared the words, “The communities have been the best teachers for AFSC. We have learned from the partnership and your work here in Mozambique has contributed to creating a just world. AFSC is leaving but our spirit will remain behind.”  Community leaders’ speeches acknowledged that the knowledge and skills they have gained from partnership with AFSC will continue live and grow in each community.

During the community celebrations which preceded the handover ceremony, each community had its own way of sharing its message:

In Chitunga, the community read a speech which acknowledged that AFSC projects contributed a great deal in combating poverty.

Dororo community members put their message in song and dance. One of the songs said, “AFSC is going but leaves us with knowledge and skills…”

Households caring for orphaned children in Dororo received seedlings from a Cassava farming group in honor of the AFSC work.  This group celebrated its achievements from partnering with AFSC and marked the event by distributing over 2 tons of cassava and cassava seedlings in total. 

In Dengalenga, the community organized for Arlene and Dereje to plant trees to symbolize a new beginning and message of hope which resonated with the theme of the handover “OCODEMA-O Novo Comeco” (OCODEMA- A New Beginning). Although AFSC was leaving, the spirit of the organization will remain and OCODEMA will carry it forward. 

To reinforce this message one of the community leaders said,

Yes AFSC is going, but even when they are gone we will still see them. If I look right I see a clinic built by AFSC, if I look left I see a school built by AFSC and even if I look across the hills a see a borehole sunk by AFSC not to mention the knowledge we have gained during our partnerships.