It was founded in 1988 with the aim of stimulating Muslims to actively participate in the socio-Economic and political development of a country whilst emphasizing on the promotion of Islamic activities.
Before, it was established just to provide basic Islamic knowledge to the underprivileged individuals of Malawi through madrasahs. Now it has operations to provide thematic areas such as Education (both secular and Islamic education) to the underprivileged, it is also participating in Relief services, Economic empowerment, Provision of social services and so on.
Therefore ASUM is a distinct organization that has over the year assisted and continues to assist the Government of Malawi in the situation of ending poverty in the Country BUT not by directly giving them cash as we believe in the saying “when someone is hungry do not give him fish but teach him how to fish” .ASUM created employment to people, for example those people who could teach the right Islamic knowledge also academic to those individuals, over the years ASUM has expanded.
So far ASUM has provided a lot of services like EDUCATIONAL SERVICES, which was aimed in the provision of quality educational activities to Malawi individual in order to create people who will be able to differentiate good and bad things that are happening in our daily society without to forget SOCIAL SERVICES which was aimed in the promotion of welfare of others, so we can say it was provided for the benefits of the community. RELIEF and HEALTH SERVICES has also been provided by ASUM, under relief services there is ASUM RELIEF SERVICES (ARS) which was formed in 2006 as a branch of ASUM, it is responsible for insuring that ASUM achieves the provision of quality health ,relief and economic services in Malawi.
Last but not least ASUM has also engaged in provision of social services example SADQA, ASUM takes sadqa orders from the general public and gives it to the needy. It can be in the money form or food. Also it has QURBAN services, this is an annual program of ASUM. General public gives orders to ASUM with a list of names given by individual as it is an Islamic obligation for all Muslims. The meal is then distributed to the poor people who don’t have food.
In terms of challenges ASUM experiences a number of challenges include Funding, this is the biggest challenge in ASUM. We depend on funding for most of its operations such as whenever there’s lack of funding, ASUM experiences difficulties in continuing most of its operations like Madrasahs annual examinations this was aimed at assessing the performance of our madrasahs to see which one needs more attention and resources. We are experiencing financial problems as the exercise require a lot of stationeries like papers and also transport costs as our madrasahs inspectors go round invigilating the examinations to make sure that they’re conducted fairly. ASUM also faces challenges in Masjid building and repairing in rural communities because of lacking of money for construction and also for paying labors who will be working.
Training of Ustaz (Madrasahs teachers), this project involves training Ustaz by our madrasahs inspectors. Our inspectors apart from inspecting our madrasahs, they also provide training Ustaz in the areas. This project has not been a success as designed because in some cases the training is very brief as some madrasahs are very far and we cannot financially manage to keep inspectors there. In some cases there is need of gathering the Ustaz from nearby madrasahs at a single place and orient them, but according to the financial difficulties as the exercise needs provision of transport and food allowances for the Ustaz and inspectors, even accommodation allowances in some cases.
As we know sport is important to human being, our madrasahs and schools has not been successful in terms of sporting activities due to lack of sporting equipment like balls, pitch and other necessary equipment for sport.
Absenteeism in our madrasahs is high, most children go to school in the morning and come to madrasahs in the afternoon. Most of them fail to come due to fatigue and hunger, Madrasah distribution project was introduced in order to attract and motivate children to come to madrasahs. In this project children are given items like soap and food in order to attend madrasahs.
Lack of partnership with other organizations, ASUM lacks partnership with other organizations in locations in which it is operating and with other organizations conducting similar projects as ASUM. This lack of partnership brings conflict of interest between organizations and also aid from government and big organization. ASUM is failing to partner with other organizations because of different reasons like religious differences, most people have a negative perception towards Islam, and as such ASUM being an Islamic organization, most organization which are affiliated with other religion do not want to involve themselves with Islamic organizations.
Lack of awareness is among of the challenges we are facing despite of other organization to fail partnering with us because of religious difference, they’re also lacking of awareness about what ASUM is and what it does. It is difficult for government and other organization to intentional approach ASUM to partner with them because they are not aware of its services. Means that ASUM has the job of approaching other organizations or government for partnership and not the other way around.