SACHI is a membership organization representing a network of Faith Based Organizations from all over Southern Africa with a keen interest in advocating for socio-economic development, democracy and governance, social and economic justice, peace and justice, religious tolerance and interfaith dialogue. The organization was established in 2007 and registered in 2012 as An Incorporated Regional (SADC) NGO Not for Gain Under Section 21, Reg No: 21/2012/1049 in bringing churches, communities and CSOs together on national and regional issues by creating a direct dialogue between Churches / Religion and Governments / States.
Southern African Christian Initiative is an NGO that aims to assist Christians and non- Christian communities realize Christian values, such as non-violence, unconditional love and mutual respect, and forgiveness, irrespectively of their creed, race, ethnic origin, social and political affiliation and nationality through their leaders.
However, SACHI believes that social justice and religious tolerance, unity and reconciliation, peace and economic progress cannot work successfully and all alone without God’s blessing through the involvement of His people for a peaceful and a vibrant democratic society.
Vision: Advocacy for social transformation, good governance and prosperity
Mission: Empower Christians and Non-Christians to participate in the public arena for social, economic, and political advancement.
Core role: SACHI advocates social and political development, democracy and governance, social and economic justice, peace and justice, religious tolerance and interfaith dialogue, unity and reconciliation and other social issues that affect the entire Southern African region.
Structure: Despite financial challenges, SACHI has grown as a SADC NGO and reinvigorating itself and formally re-establishing itself. As part of this process, the organization has adopted the operational model of a regional NGO (7 Board Members); Advisory Council (15 members from each SADC Country). These two bodies are complimented by a Group of Experts (3 members) in order to use all its structure as an operational framework to pursue its vision.
Operations: The organization has 3 fulltime Staff members – Executive Director, Treasure/Finance/Deputy Executive Director, Secretary, and 2 Volunteers. SACHI has 14 Focal Points/Country Representatives in all SADC countries with the exception of Namibia. All staff members are professionals with well establish background in theology, which the area we intersect with our constituency, faith-based organizations in the SADC region.
Activities: Most of SACHI’s programs have been grounded due to lack of sufficient funding. In past one (1) year our last significant funding partner was the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, which supported our democracy and human rights program, they the organization has since scaled down their operations in the SADC region.
Despite challenges in securing resources, SACHI has over the years worked, mostly through volunteers to provide forums and platforms for its members to interact and learn from their national experiences, and to strengthen the Faith Based Organizations’ network in the Southern African region. We have also sought to provide support at a regional and international level for those members whose countries were experiencing devastation on a social, economic or political level, by engaging in concerted outreach campaigns to highlight their plight.
This has been the case of Zambia and Malawi on deteriorating human rights abuses on Sexual Minority and LGBTI groups (Anti LBTI laws). SACHI through its Country Focal Point/Representative and network in Zambia the Jesuits Centre for Theological Reflection JCTR has been engaged in 2012 cases of LGBTI activists arrests and harassments. This was done through Fr. Leonard Chiti (Society of Jesus – Jesuit) Director of JCTR to support Friends of RAINKA Project FOR Executive Director Ms. Juliette Mphande by bringing together the Zambian faith and community leaders to support and voice their concerns on the matters of human rights and we facilitated in establishing a partnership with the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC); Ms Anneke Meerkotter from the SALC participated in all court sessions together with local Attorneys that represented the accused.
SACHI over the past 5 years has been active in media outreach advocacy on Democracy and Governance with Religious Institutions and Society in SADC region by engaging our vast network of Faith and Community leaders in strengthening democracy and good governance. By giving voice to the voiceless on various human rights and governance issues, SACHI has partnered with Aljazeera TV to present a profile of “Champions of Rights” across the SADC region, the program is keyed towards showcasing the selfless efforts of activists who are part of the SACHI network.
SACHI has also been working on a program on Road Safety, collaborating with the National Road Safety Council of Namibia on an extensive outreach program on road safety education and advocacy. We hope to work with the Association of Southern African Road Agencies (ASANRA) to expand this work to other countries in the region, and to use the recently developed Faith Based Organizations’ strategic plan for Road Safety as a template.
We continue to look for strategic partners to comprehensively address the issues of economic integrity and social rights, in light of the increasing social and economic inequality, and corruption in Southern Africa. The main tenets of the SACHI strategy to fight corruption are to: • Achieve a reduction in the incidences of corruption by increasing awareness about the effects of corrupt practices, and participating in civic activism initiative to expose and fight corruption; • Contribute to the fight against corruption by establishing Civic Activism Forums to promote the evolution of a corrupt free Southern African
The region has witness four national elections in recent years, particularly in Lesotho, Angola, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Madagascar. These elections received the seal of approval from the SADC Parliamentary Forum, one of the few regional organizations to observe all elections in the regions. Unfortunately resources did not permit an election monitoring and observation mission to most of the elections by participants from Faith Based Organizations, with the exception of Madagascar’s recent elections, for which SACHI lead the Faith-Based Cluster of the SADC-CNGO’s Mission.
The assessment we have received from our networks in the countries that have held elections recently is that even though the elections were more open than in the past, there are still major structural issues in the manner in which elections are conducted, and there is still rampant abuse of the power of incumbency. SACHI is keen to continue building its network of faith-based organizations, and to use the resources and moral authority of faith leaders to advocate for human dignity in all spheres of life.