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UNESCO says radio stations have a bigger role in development activities

Kondowe

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) says community radio stations in the country have a bigger role to play in development activities as such need to empowered with requisite knowledge to be self- sustained.

Acting Executive Secretary for UNESCO, Emmanuel Kondowe said community radio stations should equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to take an active role in promoting social, cultural and education gains for community members in the country.

He was speaking after opening a capacity building workshop for community radio stations on sustainability mechanisms.

“Community radio stations have a crucial role to play in development activities of the country because they create space and act as outlets for cultural, voices and opinions excluded elsewhere mainly due to congestion of programmes for radios with a wider coverage,”  Kondowe said.

He said community radios should provide space for the audience to engage with what they broadcast and production processes leading to those broadcasts.

Kondowe urged community radio station managers to empower their catchment communities to understand their rights and responsibilities in ensuring development of sustainability plans.

“Community radios could be more sustainable when there is a sense of ownership within the community where governance structures are represented and processes are democratic,” he added.

Kondowe encouraged community radio stations to uphold principles of transparency and accountability to generate trust from community they serve which would in turn attract support from their audiences and other partners.

The Executive Secretary emphasized on the importance of ensuring that community radios were self- sustained.

Programme Manager for Nkhotakota Community Radio Station, Edward Kwacha thanked UNESCO for organizing the training workshop, saying it would empower the radio stations to share experiences and challenges and also equip them with knowledge on to sustain themselves.

He pointed out that the major setback to community radio stations was the issue of funding which has an effect on the daily operations of the institutions.

Kwacha expressed optimism that through the training they would acquire skills on how to write successful proposals.

The community radio stations which took part in the training which covered other gender related topics in radio programme were Nkhotakota, Dzimwe from Mangochi and Nyanthepa from Nsanje.

The training is part of UNESCO’s media development project which identified four areas requiring intervention on the challenges and obstacles to minimize vulnerability and to ensure sustainable functioning of community radio stations in the country which include a strong community ownership, effective training, capacity and technical sustainability systems.

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PAC challenges media to report accurately on proceedings of public accounts hearings

Menyani

Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee has challenged the media to report accurately the proceedings of the public accounts hearing conducted at Parliament.

The Chairperson for the Committee, Lekeni Menyani made the call on during an interface meeting with editors from various media houses in Lilongwe.

He said the media has a critical role to play in ensuring that observations made by the committee from Auditors’ General reports are accurately reported.

The Chairperson explained that the Committee regards the media as partners in development and it is viewed as the fourth arm of government provides checks and balances.

Menyani, however, asked the media to refrain from quoting individual members of the committee but should instead attribute the committee’s resolutions to the chairperson.

He said his committee received complaints from members that the media was directly quoting them contrary to standing orders of Parliament which requires that attribution of the committee proceedings should be made to the chairperson.

“My committee has received two complaints from some members who were directly quoted during proceedings and the outcome is not conducive; it is having political connotations. We are in the committee to save the nation and not to tow any political line,” the Chairperson explained.

Assistant Clerk of Parliament responsible for Protocol and Public Relations, Leonard Mengezi said parliament valued the relationship that exists with the media.

He said Parliament would ensure that the media in the country is well conversant with the conduct and proceedings of parliament.

“As secretariat, we are developing a training concept for the media houses in the country aimed at orienting them on how best they could provide better coverage of the parliamentary and committee proceedings without compromising their work,” Mengezi said.

Recently, there were reports that the media was barred from covering the ongoing hearing on the Auditor General’s reports during which the committee is scrutinizing public accounts from 2013 to 2015 financial years.

However, the committee chairperson disclosed that the ban has been lifted and the media will start covering the proceedings from Monday, October 9, 2017.

“The issues of audits are of national importance and the public need to know what really happened to the government coffers. If there are issues of corruption or maladministration let the media inform the nation without fear or favour,” Menyani added.

Media houses that attended the interface meeting include Malawi New Agency (MANA), Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), Nations Publications, Times Group, Zodiak Broadcasting Services (ZBS), Capital Radio and MIJ radio.

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IMF gets ASSESS level of Economic Dividends for Gender Equality Certification

IMF Managing Director Lagarde smiles as she answers a questions during a news conference at the IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings in Tokyo

International Monetary Fund (IMF) has received the ASSESS level of Economic Dividends for Gender Equality (EDGE) Certification in recognition for its commitment and progress in monitoring, benchmarking, and achieving workplace gender equality.

According to a press release issued on Tuesday, receiving the ASSESS certification means the fund has achieved landmark progress in ensuring that diversity and equality are an integral part of its work and values.

“We are honoured to be credited for our commitment to diversity and inclusion at the IMF
“The diversity of our staff is inherent to who we are, and building inclusion is integral to what we do. We are proud of the progress we have made and we are determined to do more.

“We will continue to raise the bar on our performance, accountability and transparency in these important areas,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde.

The Fund said it promotes full participation of women in the workforce globally as one way of empowering women, and making sure that women were fully represented in the institution’s own staffing.

“Benchmarks for women representation have been in place since 2003, and significant progress has been made with women now accounting for 44 percent of the IMF’s total staff and 28 percent of senior management,” said Lagarde.

Co-Founder for EDGE Certified Foundation, Aniela Unguresan commended IMF on its commitment to gender equality and its important leadership.

“The IMF, by becoming EDGE Certified, is sending a powerful message to not only its 189 member countries but also to the rest of the world, that gender equality is a global imperative for economic growth,” he noted.

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Government condemns stories blood sucking, calls them a myth

Dausi and Mussa

Government Spokesperson who is also Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Nicholas Harry Dausi, and his Industry, Trade and Tourism Counterpart, Henry Mussa, have described reports that there are people who are sucking people’s blood as a myth that should be stopped.

Speaking at a press briefing in Lilongwe on Wednesday, the two Cabinet Ministers said innocent people are being victimized for no apparent reason, denting the image of Malawi.

“Stories of blood sucking in Malawi are mere rumours which have been making rounds from sometime back and should not be believed. From what I know, It takes a lot of technical expertise and skills to extract blood from a human being, including using suitable equipment and locating the blood nerves in the body, something that cannot be done just in a flash”.

“The prevailing vampire paranoia situation in Mulanje and surrounding areas has the potential to derail our efforts in promoting our country as a tourism destination but also as preferred destination for foreign and direct investment. No tourist or investor would like to come to a country whose citizens are attacking others due to such misguided beliefs. I would like therefore to ask and warn all those involved to stop this malpractice immediately since this practice is tarnishing the image of our beautiful country”.

The two said that despite there being no tangible evidence that anybody has had their blood sucked, people continue to be suspected of the vice and being victimized.

Dausi apologized to the Belgian couple, who were attacked at Madzeka near Lujeri Tea Estate in the early hours of 15th September, 2017, after being mistaken as the so called “blood suckers”.

The Belgian couple were Self-Drive tourists who had been attracted to hike on our Mulanje Mountain and had been travelling from South Africa to Cairo in their 4×4 vehicle. The couple was badly injured in the brutal attack and their vehicle was also smashed.

The ministers however, assured the public, tourists and development partners that government will get to the bottom of the issue and see to it that perpetrators are caught and face the law.

The Government Spokesperson also disclosed that President Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika had extended condolences to victims of the attacks and assured that Police who are deployed 24-hours every day in the affected districts, will make sure everybody is safe.

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EducationLatest News

TEVETA to start administering standardized exams

Technical tools

The Technical Entrepreneurial, Vocational Education and Training Authority (Teveta) says starting from January next year, all technical education students will start writing standardized examinations to ensure uniformity and avoid duplication.

Teveta’s Acting Executive Director, Wilson Makulumiza Nkhoma said the current situation of administering differing examinations is not good considering that students who learn similar things sit for different examinations.

He was speaking Friday in Mzuzu when Teveta was introducing a new program called Solar Photovoltaic Education Training (SPVET) in three technical schools in the northern region.

“We have finally resolved that from January next year all technical institutions will now be expected to offer exams based on a standard curriculum unlike the current scenario where we have different examination boards,” Nkhoma said.

He said with the introduction of the new standard tests, there would be equality and fairness since all students would now be assessed using a unified examination system.

“It was a long process which involved brainstorming of various aspects to come up with a general curriculum that will cater for all learners so that they sit for the same examinations.

“We believe this will be very crucial as learners will now be fairly assessed,” Nkhoma said.

Currently, there are three examination systems that are used to assess local technical students which are Malawi Craft under Malawi National Examinations Board (Maneb), Malawi Teveta Examinations and the National Trade Test.

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FISD Cup for for security

Jana receives the cup from Nyirenda

Malawi Government has described FISD Football Challenge Cup as a sign of good citizenship and patriotism by the company saying more local enterprises should come forward to assist in different sporting activities.

Representing Ministry of Labour, Sports, Youth and Manpower Development, Executive Secretary for Malawi National Council of Sports, George Jana said this during FISD Football Challenge Cup Launch at Chitowe Stadium in Nkhotakota.

Jana commended FISD Limited Company for increasing the sponsorship from MK45m last year to MK50m this year.

“We are impressed because FISD is wholly owned by Malawians, operating in Malawi and their contribution back to the community is important. Government has a lot of responsibilities to carry out and obviously it may not be possible to do everything, so when we have partners like these coming in, it may help us develop” he said.

The Secretary said it is the government’s desire to see the cup running through without violence as was the case with last year’s matches.

He highlighted the cup would help the country identify new talent from all corners of Malawi as it targets rural teams from 29 districts, the regions and super league.

Football Association of Malawi (FAM) Executive Committee Member, Daudi Mtanthiko narrated the sponsorship means Malawi football is growing, and that with the coming of FISD increases the number of sponsorships on the plate.

Mtanthiko appealed to players to abide by the rules and regulations of football matches, “FAM is pleading with supporters, administrators and teams that they should at all times observe good conduct required in any activity including football matches.

“We do not want to force ourselves to take action against participants at all levels because they have failed to follow regulations. But if all is done and we feel there is need for us to penalise someone, those rules will guide us,” he said.

The FAM representative promised to work hand in hand with the sponsors. He promised that they would protect the cup against any violence as they did last year.

Executive Director of FISD, Moses Nyirenda said the sponsorship strives to help in eradicating food insecurity in Malawi through the promotion of irrigation farming.

He explained that the company expects good competition this year hence increasing the amount of money into the tournament.

Nyirenda said it is with pity to note that Malawians are failing to feed themselves despite being independent for many years.

“Football is world’s number one sport and is a cloud puller, many people like football.  We want to use it as a platform for disseminating information about irrigation and water projects. We are trying to promote some technology as a country to overcome food insecurity in the country through solar powered irrigation.

“We are working hard to preach the message about importance of irrigation to develop our nation throughout the country so that the whole population emulates the system regardless of where they are.

During the launch, Fikiza FC from Salima played against Nkhotakota All Stars FC where the former won 7 (2):6 (2) through post match penalties.

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MCCCI commends inflation downturn

Chimwemwe-Muhanga

Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) has commended the downturn of inflation by 9.3 percent as a significant step in boosting the country’s economy.

MCCCI’s Chief Operations Officer, Chimwemwe Luhanga said this is a positive development as there are business opportunities the country would benefit from.

He said such kind of environment is paramount in attracting foreign investments whereby it is important for the government to enhance businesses activities by engaging the private sector.

Luhanga added that there is need for persistent coordinated efforts by the government and the private sector in providing an environment where businesses can flourish in the country to reduce the inflation even further.

However, Luhanga bemoaned that the downturn of the inflation rate has, so far, not translated into the buying power where consumers can greatly profit from it.

He said, for instance, maize has been selling as low as K50 per kilogram, a condition which has denied the consumers or farmers access to income.

“It is true that inflation has gone down largely because Malawi had a bumper harvest in the year which has translated into lowering inflation but that has not contributed into the buying power of the consumers simply because the majority of farmers have not been able to sell their farm produce at competitive prices,” he said.

Therefore, Luhanga said MCCCI is lobbying for producers, especially in the agriculture sector, to be allowed to explore markets everywhere as one way of enhancing economic activities which can ease the challenge of the buying power.

While welcoming governments’ efforts of ensuring that it reserves maize in its silos, Luhanga said if Malawians were allowed to export maize, they could earn more.

“For example, maize is fetching very good prices in Tanzania, Kenya and East Africa.

“If Malawians were allowed to export to such destinations they could have earned more thereby improving the buying power apart from lowering the inflation,” he said.

According to reports, inflation rate in Malawi was recorded at 9.30 percent in August 2017 and its average percent was 15.22 from 2001.

It reached an all-time high of 37.90 in February 2013 and recorded the lowest percent of 6.30 in December 2010.

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TNM donates MK3 million towards ICT Association of Malawi Lakeshore conference

TNM C.O – E.S with Wisely Phiri ICTAM President

TNM plc has donated MK3 million towards the ICT Association of Malawi (ICTAM) Lakeshore conference to be held from 6 to 7 October in Mangochi.

The conference is a platform for local innovators to showcase their latest innovations and will be attended by Malawi’s Vice President, Right Hon. Dr. Saulos Chilima as guest of honour.

TNM Chief Officer – Enterprise Services, Vishwajeet Deshmukh speaking during the cheque handover ceremony said that TNM as a company is working to play a role in the ICT transformation within Malawi. This has been necessitated by the diffusion of innovations and the current shift in technology; from analogue to digital.

He said ICTAM is also playing a similar role hence TNM’s decision to team up with the association in the innovation awards. “ICTAM is encouraging local innovators to do something significant and contribute to the country’s economic growth.” Deshmukh said.

TNM being a local company would also want to see Malawi produce more innovations. ICTAM president Wisely Phiri, said TNM is a major player in the ICT sector, and that ICTAM are confident that this partnership will encourage local innovators. The best innovation winner of this year’s ICT Innovation awards will attend the Commonwealth ICT Application Forum in Rwanda in 2018.

ICTAM’s ambition is to put Malawi on the world map, by doing something different and this resonates well with TNM’s strategic vision within the #TNMthinkDigital campaign. Some of the ICTAM innovation categories are agriculture, education and training, gender, youth and vulnerable groups, health care delivery, water and sanitation and the environment, among others.

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MRCS introduces new project to enhance collaboration among various partners in response to natural disasters

Chiwaula making presentation

The Malawi Red Cross Society (MRCS) has introduced a new project in three districts of Chikwawa, Nsanje and Zomba whose objective is to enhance collaboration among various partners in responding to natural disasters.

MRCS’s Disaster Risk Reduction Officer for Chikwawa, Darius Chiwaula presented the project during a District Executive Committee (DEC) meeting in Chikwawa on Friday.

The 18 months project called: ‘Enhancing resilience in Malawi,’ aims at strengthening the capacity of various structures involved with disaster response and humanitarian aid such as district, area and civil protection committees among others.

Chiwaula emphasized that it was important for different partners in disaster risk management to be empowered to effectively respond to natural hazards immediately when they strike.

“The project attempts to ensure that people living in disaster prone areas in the area of T/As Makhuwira in Chikwawa, Ndamera in Nsanje and Mwambo in Zomba have increased capacities with regards to community based disaster preparedness, response and early recovery mechanisms to reduce the impact of natural disasters,” he said.

Chiwaula pointed out that the project, financed by the European Union Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) will benefit over 240,000 beneficiaries in all the three districts.

“As you may be aware, the project interventions would in the long run contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1, 6, 11 and 13 directly where issues of poverty eradication, provision of clean water and sanitation, sustainable cities and communities as well as issues of climate change are addressed,” he added.

Chikwawa is one of the districts which experience natural hazards nearly every year with the most devastating floods occurring in 2015 followed by dry spells in 2016. The project will be implemented with technical support from the Belgian Red Cross.

However, the Netherlands Red Cross is leading an innovative drone based hazard and risk mapping exercise which seeks to identify areas most prone to flooding, droughts and later inform the target areas of the project with the aim of improving the accuracy and effectiveness of responses.

“The project blends cutting edge mapping and monitoring technology with simple and reliable community based monitoring tools to identify and track hazards,” Chiwaula added.

“Interventions which are appropriate to the local setting, easily replicated and implemented in remote rural areas have been adopted to support disaster preparedness and capacity building exercises,” he said.

It is envisaged that at the end of the 18 months of the project, communities would have the capacity to collaborate to prepare the most disaster prone villages to become resilient, prepared and capable of withstanding the unpredictable impacts of natural hazards.

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EducationLatest News

Girls empowerment crucial-CHRR

school children

Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), says there is need for girls to be empowered to remain focused in pursuit of various aspirations in life.

CHRR’s Yes I Do Project Officer for Machinga, Stain Katuli made the remarks on Saturday at Liwonde Primary School during a motivation talk for girls drawn from schools around the area of Traditional Authority Liwonde in the district.

Katuli said girls need to be engaged on a regular basis to help them build self – esteem and remain focused to achieve their dreams in life by creating opportunities to interact with female role models.

“Although this may not bear results immediately, it has long term effects where it leaves a mark on the girls and will continue to mediate and decide to work hard in class,” Katuli said.

Katuli, therefore, encouraged girls to remain in school despite facing a lot of pressure from friends and community, arguing that education was the only key to opening the doors of opportunities in life.

During the motivation talk, CHRR paraded a third year Chancellor College student, Zione James and a nurse from Machinga District Hospital, Tina Sankhulani as role models to encourage girls to remain in school.

On her part, James encouraged girls to be focused on education and set up goals and follow them through, saying doing so would help them achieve their dreams in life.

“Poverty should not be an excuse for failing to advance with education,” James challenged, noting that girls just like their male counterparts have potential to realise their dreams.

James also advised the girls to make the right choice of friends, observing that most girls have been misled due to bad influence.

Tina Sankhulani, Machinga District Hospital Nursing Officer advised the girls to have self control and that they should report to relevant authorities forced marriage or any form of sexual abuse.

Sankhulani added that teen pregnancy was life threatening and that girls should refrain from casual sex and instead work hard in class. “Dropping out of school will just add poverty to your life,” she advised, saying education was the key to success in life.

School dropout is common in Machinga despite interventions ranging from rights advocacy to provision of bursary to needy girls by various organisations.

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