NOMSA NKANA, Lusaka
MOVED by the plight of youths who were calling in on a programme he was presenting on Radio Christian Voice, Pastor Panji Chipeta realised if no interventions were put in place to rescue the young people, then there would be no sustainable future for them.
In particular he was touched by some young callers who said they were sexually abused, some said they were products of broken homes, while others were despondent about unemployment.
Pastor Chipeta saw how lack of social amenities in communities, drunkenness, pre-marital sex and other such vices were devastating the lives of these budding youths.
From this background, Generation Impact Foundation Trust (GIFT) was born, a youth-oriented organisation with the objective to encourage moral uprightness and sexual purity among youths, provide a platform for building confidence among youths, and promote talent and career building among others.
In 2007, with his vision before him, Pastor Chipeta set out to work on a solution.
He began to rally the youths and sold the vision to them, after which he held a programme for them at the Lusaka Show grounds under the umbrella of Christian Voice where he earlier worked.
â€œWe began reaching out to them. We were also organising what we call, single-mingle gospel bashes which gave birth to the Singles Ministry where we address issues of sex, marriage, and relationships among others. We also train young people how to discover their God-given purpose,â€ Pastor Chipeta said.
Pastor Chipeta who is also GIFT chief executive officer also runs a robust counselling regimen where he offers spiritual counsel to abused girls sometimes referred to him from Young Women Christian Association (YWCA).
GIFT has in the past partnered with Zambia Police Service (ZPS) to campaign against pornography which Pastor Chipeta says has contributed to the moral decay of many youths in the country today.
â€œOne day when we were marching from town to Cathedral of the Holy Cross, advocating against pornography, some youths were coming to us selling X-rated DVDs asking us, mufuna yabakulu (do you want to buy X-rated movies).
And in an apparent revolution to salvage youths from such assaults on their morality, Pastor Chipeta and his team bought off all the copies for the purpose of destroying them.
GIFT is not only working with youths but also has a programme called virtuous woman award, which honours deserving women for their contribution to the development of the country.
Pastor Chipeta has observed that some women have underestimated themselves and their potential with some limiting themselves to menial roles.
However, he says, other women have risen above the stereo-type that â€œthe weaker sexâ€ cannot assume certain lofty positions that men hold.
He agrees with author William Golding who said, â€œI think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men. They are far superior and always have been.â€
To this, Pastor Chipeta says a woman who knows her God doesnâ€™t need to compete with men because she knows her potential and is confident that she can equally do and become what any man can be.
â€œMen who are humble are not threatened by women who are rising but rather encourage them [women] to soar,â€ he said.
He says, therefore, that the virtuous woman awards are for the purpose of distinguishing women who have done exceptionally well in their contributions to the development of Zambia and women empowerment.
â€œBased on Proverbs 31, we are saying this award depicts deserving women as people of noble character as opposed to beauty pageants which portray them as sex symbols,â€ he said.
The awards are also meant to create role models in women who receive them.
Pastor Chipeta says women should rise above gossip and petty jealousies to levels where they can contribute to the development of Zambia.
He says a virtuous woman is an ordinary person but who has done extra-ordinary things, adding that she is picked from the crowd because of her accomplishments.
Pastor Chipeta believes people must be honoured while they are alive as opposed to posthumously, adding that when they are alive, they are able to see how people appreciate them and their efforts.
It is his hope that the awards can inspire many women to also realise their dreams.
This year GIFT will be honouring Vice-President Inonge Wina who is the third recipient of the award after Mrs Betty Kaunda, who was the first to be honoured in 2013, and Mrs Chibesa Kankasa, the current holder.
Born in Lusaka and seventh in a family of 12, Pastor Chipeta studied journalism at Evelyn Hone College in Lusaka and is currently presenting a programme called Precious Testimonies on HoT FM and on Muvi Television.
These are programmes that feature people, some of whom are former satanists and expose the deeds of darkness.
According to Pastor Chipeta, the programme on television has received overwhelming response with viewers calling for prayers.
â€œSometimes people have gone to their offices and found juju resulting in them asking for prayers. We have gone there and prayed.
Please when you find charms in your offices, donâ€™t ask the cleaners to just sweep them away. First pray over them and cancel whatever was meant against you. If you canâ€™t pray, ask a pastor to come and pray,â€ he says with a passion.
GIFT matron is chief executive officer of Barclays Africa regional management Mizinga Melu and the patron is Bishop Billy Mfula of Jesus Anointed Ministries in Lusaka.
Pastor Chipeta has been pastoring a church called Kingdom Business Ministries (KBM) for three years which meets at Lusakaâ€™s Taj Pamodzi Hotel.
A visionary preacher of this generation, Pastor Chipeta has partnered with an institution in the United States of America called Kingdom Life to train staff that will run a Bible school which he plans to open.
Among the several programmes under KBM, Pastor Chipeta has plans to open an institution that will run courses on governance, leadership management, diplomacy and international relations.
His hobbies are writing, playing badminton and lawn tennis.
He is married to Faides Longwe and they have three children together.
NOMSA NKANA, Lusaka