The Student Christian Organisation of Malawi is an indigenous interdenominational organisation committed to the evangelisation, discipleship and training of students so that they would love and serve the Lord effectively in the Church and in the world.
Formed in 1961 by the Malawi Council of Churches, SCOM has grown from 20 branches in 1961 to over 500 currently, with a student membership of 30,000 in post-primary educational institutions.
SCOM is a non-profit making organisation registered under Malawi's Trustees Act.
The current General Secretary is Patrick Reuben Kaudzu.
SCOM is strongly organised and has influenced many that have gone through it. Since its formation almost 50 years ago, SCOM has been student-oriented, Bible based and seeking to fulfil five aims:
Over the years, SCOM has significantly contributed to the spiritual development of the nation. Most of those in leadership in the Church and para-church groups trace their spiritual growth and development to their involvement with SCOM. Malawi is said to be a God-fearing nation and SCOM has played an important role in instilling the fear of the Lord in the hearts of its youth.
In SCOM there is a deeply held conviction that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the best solution to the problems of immorality, alcohol and drug abuse and other vices affecting young people in Malawi today. The word of God has the potential of transforming people’s lives, influencing behavioural change and informing decision-making. Over the years, SCOM's leaders have seen young people who have been morally transformed through their involvement with the organisation. Their desire is to see the youth putting their strength into developing both themselves and the nation. They believe that the most effective way of destroying the nation of Malawi is to ignore the needs of the youth.
In Malawi today it is the young people that are the group hardest hit by the AIDS epidemic. It was estimated in 1998 that 46% of all new infections occurred in those aged 15-25 years. SCOM serves this vulnerable age bracket. As a Christian organisation, SCOM's focus is on sexual abstinence and has embarked on a programme that integrates AIDS issues into already existing activities. SCOM helps students choose sound values and healthy attitudes for themselves leading to lasting and effective behavioural change. SCOM's motto is, “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of abstinence”. Through the fear of the Lord, a man avoids evil (Proverbs 16:6b).
SCOM is committed to developing the whole person. It helps its members appreciate their role in the society. On a regular basis, students go to clean hospital premises, assist those who are in need, and so on. Since 2000, SCOM has run a reforestation programme, planting new trees in various places in Zomba and Blantyre Districts. Eventually, it is hoped to extend this programme to cover the whole country. SCOM want students to know that they are stewards of the environment; this is a God-given responsibility, to all of us.
SCOM has not been without challenges over the past four decades of its existence. Some of its current challenges are:
Membership of SCOM has increased rapidly and keeps rising but the staff team has remained small. The result has been failure to effectively implement programmes in the schools. Efforts to increase the staff team are often frustrated by shortage of funds. SCOM relies on support from well-wishers, students’ subscription and donations from churches in sympathy with its aims and mission. SCOM's longing is to be able to to increase its income to enable it to recruit more staff and serve the students effectively.
The HIV/AIDS Crisis
The youth are the group hardest hit by the AIDS epidemic. They are the most sexually active group and still a long way from changing their sexual behaviour. Thus SCOM has a difficult task to persuade them to change their behaviour. A related concern is the phasing out of boarding facilities in Community Day Secondary Schools. The situation in most of these centres is that students do self-boarding, where there is no control. Sadly, some of these boarding facilities are known as “gender hostels”, where immorality is bred.
The plight of needy students.
The number of students who cannot afford school fees is increasing. SCOM is approached by many students seeking assistance but regretfully, owing to lack of finances, it's not possible to help. Some girls have been forced to engage in relationships with sugar daddies to raise school fees. This predisposes them to exposure to and contraction of HIV/AIDS besides frustrating SCOM's efforts to promote good moral values.
For more on SCOM, follow these links:
SCOM Regional Office (South)
SCOM Regional Office (North)
|PO Box 30840
|PO Box 976
|T: +265 (0)8 379019||T: +265 (0)1 333204 / 333202|
|F: +265 (0)1 333204|