Community Television Broadcasting

Through the Television Screen

YOUTH ACTION GROUP ENGAGED IN CLEAN UP INITIATIVE

By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka
25 August 2021

The members of Mchengautuba Youth Action Group (YAG) East ward in the early hours of Saturday engaged themselves in a clean-up exercise at a community market called Mpostoli which is one of the busiest markets in the area.

The exercise was aimed at keeping the market place clean and also it was aimed to encourage the local Youth to be responsible and active community members in various volunteering works.

Below are some of the pictures (all the pictures were captured in selfie mode) that one of the participants captured during the exercise:

The YAG members sweeping at the Market place

Courtesy of National Youth Council of Malawi official Facebook page

By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka

15 August 2021

For the first time in the 21st century in Malawi ,Youth Wave Malawi collaborated with Trocaire to host the first-ever #Space4Youth event that aims at pushing for flexible and match funding opportunities for youth-led NGOs in Malawi.

The event was under the theme: Investing in Youth Leadership:
Impact of funding youth-led NGO’s – Brave Accountability.

Ministry of Youth and Sports and National Youth Council of Malawi recommended that young people should venture into social enterprise as a way of resource mobilization and creation of jobs.


One of the speakers at the function

Some of the youth at the event

The rising football female star

By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka

5th August 2021

She’s the most upcoming talented goal defender (Position 5) for CY sister’s football team in the Northern Region of Malawi – Mzuzu city.

Angela Phiri aged 26, who is a single mum started playing football in 2017 and since then she has become amongst the most reliable football player for her football club and she has also played quite a good number of female national leagues within Malawi.


Angela maintaining her position in line of her team’s defence

Angela in Jersey 15 trying to divert the ball from MK football team striker

Angela creates tight competition for the ball

Angela in action with the ball as she tries to pass another football player for MK football team at Luwinga Primary School ground

Despite not going further with her education due to lack of financial support after delivering her baby, Angela wishes to play for the Malawi National Women’s football team and also to play for an international team in future and this is what she wants to achieve in her life. She continued by advising her fellow girls to work hard in school and that they should also take football as a career too despite the challenges they will face.

A Young mechanic turns in to potato selling business

By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka

30 July 2021

At a certain community Market (Mulungu Samana) in the Northern Region of Malawi – Mzuzu City, Mchengautuba area people start doing different businesses during the evening hours of each and every day and the little market is full of people trying to make money for them to survive during this COVID – 19 pandemic period.

Macdominic Luhanga a young man aged 27, is also among the community members who are doing business at the Market in the area. A well trained Motor Vehicle Mechanic who graduated from Mzuzu Technical College in the year 2017 he has been searching for a job since then but he did not manage to get employed as he had always been hoping for.

Macdominic tried to access the government loans through the National Economic Empowerment Fund (Fund) and he is yet to receive his loan from the Malawi government institution.

Instead he has started a small – scale business of selling both sweet and Irish potatoes and he travels every weekend to collect the commodities from Jenda were the potatoes are heavily cultivated and placed on orders at a very cheap price.

Macdominic at the market waiting for customers to buy his commodities
At the market women selling vegetables

After collecting the commodities from the farmer’s fields he sells at a very cheap price and according to him since he started the business a few weeks ago,he has made some huge profits.

He further encouraged the youth to start looking for opportunities that will help them to make money for themselves instead of indulging into dirty businesses or easiest ways of getting money which will cause a lot of problems into their lives. 


The Mudzi Wathu Launch

(Courtesy of TNM Facebook page)

On 2 July 2021, Malawi’s pioneer mobile network service provider Telekom Networks Malawi launched (TNM) Mudzi Wathu.  This being an initiative aiming to accelerate mobile phone penetration, financial inclusion and to support community infrastructure development using proceeds from TNM’s network technology platform.  The Vice President Right Honourable Dr. Saulos Klaus Chilima, launched the initiative at Dowa Community Ground in the Central Region of Malawi.

The Vice President of The Republic of Malawi Dr. Saulos .K. Chilima making his speech

 Telekom Networks Malawi’s Chief Executive Officer Arnold Mbwana making his speech at the event

Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Honourable Halima Daudi making her speech

Honourable. Richard Chimwendo Banda, Dowa Central Member of Parliament who is Minister of Homeland Security delivering his speech

TNM CEO and the Vice President unveil the Mudzi Wathu initiative

 

 

 

Skeffa Chimoto performing during the event

TNM’s Board Member Dean Lungu conferring with The Vice President

Dramatic performance by Jacobo and Winiko at the launch

Cross-section of traditional and community leaders who graced the launch

Telekom networks Malawi (TNM) partners National Youth Council of Malawi (NYCOM) to promote Youth Development

(Story and Picture Courtesy of TNM Official Facebook Page)

 By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka

30 July 2021

TNM and NYCoM Officials at the signing ceremony

TNM has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with

National Youth Council of Malawi to promote the social and economic status of the youth in the country (Malawi).

Coming under the Mudzi Wathu project, this pact seeks to transform the youth’s mind-set and perception of local development to allow young people to see mobile penetration and usage as a facilitator of youth entrepreneurship.

“TNM understands the role of the youth in spurring on the country’s development hence implementing projects that empower them economically.  Through this integration, TNM would like to increase access to affordable and youth friendly financial and digital services,” said Arnold Mbwana, TNM’s Chief Executive Officer.

Mbwana also highlighted that this new development compliments the government  job’s creation agenda.  Mobile money is a growth area for financial services in Malawi and young people will find opportunities within the Mpamba business ecosystem.

The partnership will facilitate creation of TNM Mpamba branches by youth organizations and youth clubs under the National Youth Council of Malawi with establishment of TNM Mpamba branches and kiosks across the country to enhance financial inclusion.

Under the integration, TNM will support National Youth Council of Malawi in the running of youth economic empowerment programs across the country through the Youth Innovation Fund with TNM providing financial and technical support to youth clubs and organizations in rolling out and running Mpamba branches.

Thereafter, TNM will provide special training sessions on digital inclusion in general and the management of the mobile money business in particular.  On his part,  Dingiswayo Jere National Youth Council of Malawi Executive Director hailed TNM for becoming a key partner in the economic empowerment of young people.

“We are excited to see TNM becoming a stakeholder to foster job creation through the application of mobile technology which is a great equalizer that can reduce unemployment among the young people of Malawi,” said Jere.

This Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will run for a period of Five years and it is subject to review every two years.  During the period,  outstanding young people in various communities will be recognized for their contribution in local development.

Mudzi Wathu is an innovative project allowing all Malawians to contribute to the development of their communities, with TNM giving back 1% of all usage (Mpamba, Data, Voice and SMS) for investment in community projects.

2021 Blantyre Marathon Competition – Sports

By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka

21 June 2021

Malawi National Council of sports (MNCS),under the Ministry of Youth and Sports organised a competition today called The 2021 Blantyre Marathon at Kamuzu stadium in Blantyre – Southern Region of Malawi which was 42.195 kilometres.  The Minister of Youth and Sports, Honorable Ulemu Msungama was the guest of honour at the function.

And 2021 Blantyre Marathon Top 3 Winners (42.195 Kilometres) in both categories were as follows:

Female Category:

  1. Nalise Chirwa – 3 hours 04 minutes 47 seconds
  2. Doris Fischer – 3 hours 13 minutes 13 seconds
  3. Carolyn Brady – 3 hours 16 minutes 50 seconds

Male Category:

  1. Mphatso Nadolo – 2 hours 22 minutes 58 seconds
  2. Kefasi Kasteni – 2 hours 24 minutes 54 seconds
  3. Jaffali Josam 2 hours 27 minutes 44 seconds

Below are pictures (Courtesy of Zodiak online and Times 360 MW – www.times.mw) of events that took place at the function: 

Minister of Sports, Ulemu Msungama and Malawi Olympic Committee President, Jappie Mhango, were part of the aerobics session after completing the 6 Kilometre fun run.

Aerobics in session

Sports minister Ulemu Msungama and Sports Council board Chairperson Sunduzwayo Madise in deep discussion as they monitor proceedings.

The Youth and Sports Minister on the front.

Male category winners receiving their prizes from the Minister.

Female category winners.

Vincent Kasunda is the oldest runner in the Blantyre Marathon at 58.

Senior officials at the function.

Inspection of Construction works at Mbandira Technical College

By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka

21 June 2021

The construction works of Mbandira Technical College in Nkhotakota district in the central region of Malawi under Jobs for Youth (J4Y) project are coming out impressively.

In the morning hours of 11th June 2021, The Minister of Youth and Sports Honourable Ulemu Msungama, MP inspected the project to appreciate its progress and quality of the structure.

The Technical College that is being constructed

The Minister and other officials at the construction site

The Minister inspecting the progress of construction works along the building

The Minister about to leave the construction site after the inspection tour (Photos courtesy of Honourable Ulemu Msungama’s Official Facebook page)

The government of Malawi through the Ministry of Youth and Sports is constructing this modern structure at Mbandira in the area of Traditional Authority (TA) Malengachanzi in Nkhotakota district with the intentions to increase youth intake.  When completed, the project will provide a lot of youth with opportunities to access vocational training for self-reliance and job creation.  This is towards the implementation of the Tonse alliance government’s vision led by President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera of creating more job opportunities and support the youth to be part of the national development agenda.

Mzuzu Youths issues 21 days to the Government

By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka

21 June 2021

Youths in Mzuzu have given government 21 days to commence the construction of the long awaited Mzuzu Youth Center.

Minister of Youth and Sports – Honourable Ulemu Msungama, MP at the meeting

The youths have on several occasions demanded an explanation on the delay to have the project that initiated in 2008 constructed.

Mzuzu Youth Association at the meeting (Photos courtesy of Zodiak online)

However since its inception, the project is yet to take shape despite the fact that two former cabinet Ministers Grace Chiumia and Henry Mussa each laying a foundation stone at the construction site to signal the start of the project.

National Youth Council of Malawi (NYCOM) MoU

20 June 2021

By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka

National Youth Council of Malawi (NYCOM) on Friday, 4th June 2021 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with DonorSee and Charity Invest & Consult in a bid to promote youth social enterprise development and community development.

Officials signing the MoU

DonorSee funds economic empowerment projects and initiatives and among other things, we plan to establish the Mulanje Vocational training centre where young people will have access to skills development

.

Officials showing the signed MoU documents

On the other hand,Charity Invest and Consult will help mainstream entrepreneurship programs among our youth organisations and youth clubs.

Officials posing for a group photo after the meeting

The 18+ Music Competition Grand Finale by Plan International Malawi and Timveni Organisation 

20 June 2021

By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka

On Sunday, June 6,The Minister of Youth and Sports – Honourable Ulemu Msungama MP,  joined Plan International Malawi and Timveni during the 18+ Music Competition Grand Finale held at Mkanda Primary School ground in Mulanje district in the Southern Region of Malawi.

The Minister speaking to Journalists

This initiative is among other things aimed at encouraging the youth to stay in school and avoid early marriages. Child marriage, which is a union in which one or both partners are under the age of 18 years, is an “evil act” that has found its roots in many communities across Malawi. It is sad to note that despite numerous interventions to promote education among the youth, girls under the age of 18 years continue to be married off in most communities in the Malawi.

Female winner receiving her prize

The country’s new development agenda, the Malawi Agenda 2063, seeks to create a world in which children and young people realize their dreams and become active citizens in the social, economic and political spaces.  However this dream can be aborted if girls continue to drop out of school due to pregnancy or child marriage.

And at the end of the event three youths,two girls and a boy were awarded for their outstanding skills and talents during the music competition grand finale.  The Minister said that as Tonse Government, under the leadership of President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, the Government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports is committed to support initiatives that ensure bold and holistic efforts towards the elimination of harmful traditional practices including child marriages.  He also thanked Plan International Malawi and Timveni for the initiative and pleaded for the people take a stand against child marriages.

The Launch of the power to You(th) programme in Malawi 

– Courtesy of Honourable Ulemu Msungama,MP – Minister of Youth and sports official Facebook page 

20 June 2021

By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka

On 9th June, The Power To You(Th) Programme was launched in Malawi and this is a global five-year programme (2021-2025) to be implemented in Dedza and Machinga districts collaboratively by a consortium of 6 partners namely: Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), Centre for Youth Empowerment and Civic Education (CYECE), Malawi Human Rights Resource Centre (MHRRC), Malawi Sexual Reproductive Health And Rights Alliance, Youth Wave Malawi and Amref Health Africa.

The Minister of Youth and Sports delivering his speech at the function

The vision of the Power to You(th) Programme is in line with the Tonse government’s aspirations, under the leadership of President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera, of ensuring that adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) from underserved communities are able to make informed choices, understand their sexuality, are free from harmful cultural practices and are able to realize their full potential.

Youth at the function

When implemented successfully, the power to You(th) programme will empower Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) to increase their agency, claim their rights, enhance inclusion, address gender inequalities, challenge gender stereotypes and advocate for meaningful involvement of Adolescent Girls and Young Women (AGYW) in decision-making.  The program will also address harmful cultural practices that are fuelling child marriages, sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and unintended pregnancies which are some of the evils facing our Malawian girls and women.

Youth who attended the function

The event was graced by Ulemu Msungama who is the Minister of Youth and Sports and then he posted on his Official Facebook page that Government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports will continue to create an enabling environment and provide support to partners and stakeholders in the promotion of Youth development in Malawi.

Posing for a Group photo after the meeting outside the Bingu International Convention Centre (BICC)

Minister of Youth and Sports

PICTURES – Courtesy of Honourable Ulemu Msungama’s (MP – Minister of Youth and Sports) official Facebook page

20 June 2021

By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka

Ulemu Msungama,MP – Minister of Youth and Sports yesterday continued with the inspection of construction works for expansion of infrastructure under Jobs for Youth (J4Y) project in his Ministry, he toured Neno Integrated Youth Centre in Neno district (Southern Region of Malawi).

At this site, the Ministry of Youth and Sports is electing new infrastructure that will house Neno Integrated Youth Centre which will help the youth of Neno and surrounding districts with vocational training and support.

According to his official Facebook page post, the Minister commended by saying that just like at Naminjiwa vocational training College in Phalombe district,the progress of construction works in Neno is impressive.

He continued by saying that his ministry, under the Tonse government led by President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera continues to intensify its efforts in dealing with the problem of high unemployment affecting the Youth, who form the largest segment of the Malawi population.

When completed, the infrastructure in these training institutions will help to increase intake, which will result in a lot of young people having access to training opportunities for self-reliance and creation of employment.

Youth engage in sexual health reproduction

3 June 2021

By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka

Population Services International (PSI) Malawi is affiliated to Population Services International, a Washington DC based non – governmental and non-profit making organisation. PSI Malawi mission is to support low income and at – risk Malawians to lead healthier lives through the provision of and promotion of quality products and services in line with the government of Malawi goals.

Below are some pictures showing the day’s activities right from the start:

On 3rd June 2021, Population Services International (PSI) Malawi and its working partners namely: The German Cooperation, USAID – Malawi,Nzatonse, KFW and Ministry of Health – Malawi conducted a youth sensitization initiative at Friends of Mzuzu Community commonly known as Fomco.

This initiative involved youths from various communities across the Mzuzu city aged between 16 – 24 and it was aimed at providing the youths with various information and sexual health services that they are unable to easily access.

Some of the services that were offered at the function were: testing of various sexually transmitted diseases, Peer to Peer counselling and distribution of various contraceptive methods just to mention a few.

Female empowerment through football

07 June 2021

By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka

It is no longer a new thing in Malawi to see young girls making history through football which has been a largely dominated sporting activity by men for quite a good number of years.

In the Northern Region of Malawi, particularly Mzuzu City,a young man known as Aaron Kamanga (by real name) aged 26, is making a difference by empowering young girls to most actively take part in football in addition to their studies. In 2009, he formed a football team comprising of girls only called The CY Sisters which has played a good number of both regional and national football leagues such as The Donnas, Farm League, Farm Cup under 20’s and also the Presidential Initiative on Sports just to mention a few.

Aaron Kamanga, Founder and coach of CY Sisters

CY Sisters posing for a photo before playing a match

According to Aaron, he formed the football team in order to empower and motivate the young girls to take part in various sports activities and to refrain the young girls from bad influences that could damage their bright future but also early marriages and he continued by saying that he also encourages the girls to be focused and work hard with their studies.

So far, five players from CY Sisters have played in the Malawi’s national women’s football team and this is according to Aaron.

Youth drilled in loan application skills 

15th May 2021

By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka

During the 2020 fresh presidential elections campaign in Malawi, the Tonse Alliance which is made up of nine political parties promised the youths that once voted into power it will launch a program that will disburse various types of loans across the country through a government institution called ‘National Economic Empowerment Fund – NEEF’ to the youths which will be aimed at helping those willing to start a business in form of a loan but also empowering the youth from lower to upper levels and months down the line elected into power the campaign promise is yet to start bearing fruits.

In the early hours of Saturday 15th May 2021, community members in Mchengautuba suburb gathered at Mchengautuba Primary School where volunteers from the Youth Action Group (YAG) of Mchengautuba East City Youth Caucus chapter drilled various youths who have various ambitions but also are willing to start small scale businesses on the loan application process but also on various kinds businesses that they could start once they have been granted the government loans.

One of the Youth Action Group (YAG) volunteers outlining the required details to community members who gathered.

Community members attending the loan application process lessons.

The Malawian government tends to provide various types of loans such as Business loans (general), Agriculture loans, Youth and Women Enterprise loans but also Civil Servants loans in order for them to start small scale businesses so that they should be able to earn money and support themselves but also create job opportunities for others who do not have the requirements to obtain the loans.

These loans will be provided either on individuals basis or by forming a group of ten members and the loan will be repaid with a small interest rate after a duration of several months based on the terms and conditions.

Malawi – East Africa

Water systems

By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka

11 May 2021

  1. Piped Water
  • It is supplied by the Northern Region Water Board and recently the board introduced pre – paid water units for the service.

Water coming out from a tap

Community Piped water. Community members buy a 20 Litre bucket full of water at a very reasonable fee and the money is used for maintenance of the tap and payment of water bills per month and in addition to that a special committee is elected to be monitoring the day to day activities.       

2. Wells
In this situation there are two kinds of wells (open and closed).  In some areas community members do not have access to piped water and as a result they do dig wells.
(a) Closed wells

This is one of the wells in Mchengautuba and it is the cleanest. It is built with concrete in order to avoid unwanted materials from entering inside and as you can see from the picture the water is very clean.

This is how it looks when covered with its rid and the small bucket on top of the rid is used to correct water from the well.  It is thrown inside the well and then pulled using a rope which is tied to the small bucket permanently.

(b) Open wells

An open well is mostly filled with dirty water and the water is not safe during the rainy season since it is always open.

A young girl collecting water from an open well.

(c) Boreholes

These are also widely used by the communities in the Northern Region of Malawi

Young girls cleaning their legs at a borehole

Geisha Full Primary School

Geisha Malawi

By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka

11 May 2021

This is one of the primary schools in the Northern of Malawi called Geisha Full Primary School and it is situated in a suburb area called Geisha just about 2 Kilometers from Mzuzu city.  The school has eight classroom blocks (Standard 1 – 8) and despite the fact that  a certain local non – governmental organisation called Urban Research and Advocacy Centre (URAC), Malawi implemented the project and constructed a classroom block with funding from Schools And Health Foundation, Ireland.   At the school, classes are still not enough and one of the classrooms is constructed using tree planks and most of it is not strong as it has over stayed. The pictures below show some of the classroom blocks at the school which are used by learners:

A classroom block and on the same building is the headteachers office while the other building is a kitchen which was constructed by Mary’s Meal International. The kitchen is used for cooking porridge for the students.

Another classroom block at Geisha

Part of classroom blocks constructed using tree planks at Geisha and behind this block lies a newly constructed block

The last part of the classroom block and it still stands today

This is how the classroom block looks when captured from the back

The new classroom block that was constructed

The Popcorn Seller

Kavibale community

By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka

11 May 2021

In Kavibale Community,a suburb residential area that lies about 1 Kilometre from Mzuzu city, Northern Region of Malawi, a young man known as Kelvin Nlhane (real name), aged 26 and who is the second born in a family of 4, is trying to make a living through selling popcorn using a simple popcorn machine.

Kelvin is amongst the young men that had have been facing a lot of financial problems but now he shares a different story by motivating fellow youths in his community not to look down upon themselves and he has become a role model but also an inspiration to many youths that with the little money you have one can do something important in order to be supporting him or herself.

Kelvin serving customers who are buying the popcorn

He stated that ‘whenever you see different young people engaged in all sorts of clean activities to make money, please do not laugh or despise them but rather encourage them. Life is hard if you choose the clean route.  He further more continued that he had friends who made it simple by engaging themselves in illegal activities and as much as he has always wanted to make it using this fast route, he chose a different route of selling popcorn and it is not easy’.

Kelvin concluded by issuing an advice to all the youths that ‘he knows that there are many young people who want to take the clean route to success but face a lot of struggles which forces them into taking short routes to success, please let us keep moving and motivating each other so that we cannot fall into dirty route.  Our journey is a journey of pain, full of struggles and sleepless nights, but if we motivate each other, one day we shall make it and what we face today shall be part of the stories in our testimony’.

Premier Bet: A day to day activity for the youth to make easy money

By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka

11 May 2021

Malawi is one of the countries in Africa with a large percentage of the total population which is dominated by the youths and also they are highly unemployed making it very difficult for them to earn money and start small scale businesses in order to meet their day to day life basic needs.

Despite all that, some of the youths in Malawi especially the soccer fans are now able to earn easy money through premier bet by either buying tickets for various International football matches with a very little amount of money and then make predictions on the team they think it will win the football match with the estimated number of goals to be scored or either by choosing lucky numbers and if the numbers are correct they win money although in most of the times the results of the predictions are not accurate.

A premier bet agent processing a ticket for a customer

Some of the youths have ventured into small businesses with the money they had won on the premier bet by opening barbershops  and it has also created room for employment for youths to work as premier bet agents just to mention a few.

The most common means of transport in the Norther Region of Malawi

Mzuzu City

By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka

16 April 2021

There are a lot of means of transportation in The Northern Region of Malawi when traveling within the city and below are photos of the most used means of transport:

Bicycle Taxi popularly known as Kabaza or Sacramento or Wadampa (In Chichewa Language) is a useful and economic means of transport within Mzuzu city and surrounding communities. Bicycles have fixed prices and can be hired upon reaching an agreement with the bicycle operator. Despite having fixed prices sometimes the price may be doubled according to the distance the customer wants to visit. This business is mostly operated by men. In most cases the operators carry one customer but some Kabaza operators can carry two at once in order to make more money.

A Kabaza operator carrying a female customer. Female customers tend to face the other side of the road and some female customers ride as men by facing the back of the cyclist.

This is how it goes. A bicycle operator carrying a male customer and male customers always face the back of the cyclist

Bicycle Taxis waiting for customers at their usual rank.

The City Youth Caucus

‘Catalysis of transformation’

By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka

16 April 2021

For a long-time youth have been used as weapons of violence to stage demonstrations during the campaign period by politicians, citizens or opposition parties against some policies or the ruling system. The Malawi government is embarking on several projects so youth can be actively involved in clean politics as local and non – governmental organizations provide civic awareness education campaigns.

In order to engage with duty bearers on issues affecting the youth, on the 23rd October, 2020, Youth and Society (YAS) a local non – governmental organization based in the northern region of Malawi launched a program. Democracy in Young Hands – DiYH’ is an advocacy platform known as The City Youth Caucus. Starting at the ward level with a Youth Action Group (YAG) with up to thirty (30) members of 10 to 35 years; caucus membership is open to two (2) youth representatives (male and female) from each of the wards, the district, or through the city youth network chairperson.

Members of Mchengautuba East City Youth Caucus ward posing for a group photo after conducting a meeting aimed at ending a child marriage

The youth city caucus volunteers engaged in a discussion with parents of a young man who impregnate a 15-year-old girl

According to the secretary for the young volunteers, Mr. Moses Mhone, this platform is aimed at tackling critical questions that affect the youth and their communities. Aiming to address solutions, ending child marriages where necessary, advocating for emerging youth into various leadership positions, tracking budgets for various development projects in their respective communities, provided a forum (dialogue) for youth and actively engaging with the duty bearers. Incubators for district and national level activists encourage youth to challenge all forms of injustices but also monitor public services, accountability of public resources and democratic governance processes – just to mention a few.

Female City Caucus Volunteers motivating a young girl who got pregnant to return to her parent’s home and continue her education after giving birth

ROLE MODEL: A SOLDIER AT A VERY YOUNG AGE

By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka

28 March 2021

The Malawian government has support from local and international governments, non-governmental organizations and human rights activists in the quest for equal opportunities. The most notable is the 50:50 Malawi Campaign aimed at various public offices and leadership positions in Malawi for both men and women.

Being a soldier is one of the toughest jobs in the world as it requires dedication and service to one’s country. Maggie Chadza (22) is one of the youngest role model examples and shares a different story. Maggie is the second born (twins) in a family of four (4) children. She lost her father in 2015 and together with her siblings have been raised by her mother. Despite the fact that she lost her father while very young, Maggie did not lose interest with school. She did her secondary education at Chayamba Secondary School in the Central region of Malawi (Kasungu district) from 2012 and sat the Malawi school Certificate of Education (MSCE) National Examinations in 2016.

After completing her secondary school education, Maggie tried to search for work but had no success. After the Government of Malawi through the Ministry of Defense released a vacancy calling for interested individuals to apply to the Malawi Defense Forces (MDF) she was shortlisted for training on 20th November, 2019 at The Malawi Armed Forces College (Mafco) then graduated as a soldier on the 4th of June, 2020.

Maggie Chadza (22) is one
of the youngest role model
examples

Maggie is currently carrying out her duties at Moyale Barracks in the Northern Region of Malawi. Despite the hardships she encountered during the training she did not give up early. Facing the obstacles during her entire military training made her to be stronger in order to be what she is today. Maggie enjoys her job and encourages other girls to follow her hard working spirit and to believe in themselves and stay focused in order to have a brighter future.

Maggie with her work colleagues


MOBILE MONEY BUSINESS: THE EASIEST WAY OF TRANSFERRING AND KEEPING MONEY IN MALAWI BUT IT HAS ALSO BECOME A SOURCE OF JOB CREATION AMONGST THE YOUTH

By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka

Statistics show that Malawi is one of the least developed and poor countries in the world and for that being the case, has not resulted into it to fail to advance in mobile technology and internet services despite the fact of higher internet bundle prices.

Malawi has a good number of banks that operate at both national and international levels which has made it easy for customers who have an account with any bank to receive money from anywhere across the world. And due to the modern technology advancement in this 21st century in the banking sector, Malawian Banks are trying their level best to reach out to more people in the very rural areas where banks have never operated before just to lobby the villagers to open banks accounts so that they should have more customers.

Despite local banks doing all their best, the Malawi’s only Two (2) mobile network providers namely: Telekom Networks Malawi (TNM) plc and Airtel Malawi Limited years back introduced a service of transferring and keeping money using mobile phones dubbed as TNM MPAMBA and AIRTEL MONEY respectively and over the years it has become one of the most efficient, trusted, affordable, used but also safest way of doing mobile transactions but also a well-established mobile money business in the country.

The service which allows customers to deposit money to their Subscriber Identification Module popularly known as SIM card or personal number through an agent of that particular mobile network free of charge and it also allows customers to receive money from another customer whether on the same mobile network or different mobile networks at a fixed price by just sending amount they want to the other customers number and a transaction ID message is received by both the sender and the receiver. Customers withdraw money from their mobile money wallets by entering and also sending the amount they want to transact to a special code which is provided by the network provider and each customer has a 4 digit Personal Identification Number(PIN).

This services has become one of the most used and trusted means of sending, receiving and keeping money especially in the very remotest areas where Commercial banks are not available to provide banking services. In addition to that customers pay bills, buy prepaid electricity, buy airtime, pay for goods and services, manage beneficiaries and even some receive their payments through the mobile money services. A well notable and recommendable situation has recently been done by the Malawian Government under the Ministry of Gender where it has helped to bail out the most economically affected families due to Covid – 19 pandemic by sending them money amounting to Seventy Two Thousand and Four Hundred Malawi Kwacha (MK72,400.00 which is equivalent to USD 92) this has been done using the mobile money transaction service.

With that being the case, it has become a source of employment for the youth at large across the country and recently the network providers have been recruiting brand ambassadors who are selling Sim Cards but also registering citizens on the mobile money service in order to expand the service to be benefited by all citizens in Malawi.





YOUTH ENGAGED IN CHARITY WORK AIMED AT HELPING THE NEEDY

01 March 2021

By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka

Malawi’s population is largely dominated by youth and due to high levels of unemployment in the landlocked country the youth find it hard to engage themselves with the little they have to help the most needy people in their respective communities.

Mr. Joseph Sindani, aged twenty – seven (27), a young man from a highly densely populated area known as Soweto in Mzuzu city, Malawi, gained his Diploma in Rural and Community Development from Mzuzu Technical College and is now making a story with a difference. Joseph has assembled a youth led team and founded the not-for-profit Better Life Organization.

The organization started in January 2019 with just ten (10) members and aims to empower girls to have easier access to education. Through the provision of basic necessities including school fees the Better Life Organization provides ways of creating job opportunities for women and the youth through small scale business trainings. It also links youth to various financial loan lending institutions for business start – ups.

Recently, Better Life Organization donated an assortment of items to the residents of Luwinga especially in the more remote areas of Lupaso and also went as far as Ekwendeni which is almost 20 kilometers from the main city of Mzuzu.

Sindani donating soap to one of the beneficiaries

Project director Innocent Munthali states that the future aims of the organisation are to reach people at a national level with particular emphasis on grassroots and marginalized communities. Munthali appeals to people’s goodwill to help the organisation fulfill its main goals and objectives.

The organization is currently based in Kaning’ina and temporarily operating out of a members room as its main office.


LACK OF PUBLIC HYGIENE, POOR WASTE DISPOSAL AND LACK OF STRICT PENALTIES IN MZUZU CITY.

01 March 2021
By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka

Mzuzu is one of the three major cities in Malawi and it is the third largest city. It is located in the Northern Region of Malawi.

Poor waste disposal and poor public hygiene in various locations in the northern region of Malawi is an ongoing issue amongst city residents. Concerns include a lack of stiffer laws, penalties and civic education on the benefits of proper waste disposal and management.

A heap of waste outside one of the oldest shops in Mzuzu along the Mzuzu Highway

A few years ago the council constructed a dumping site largely funded by the European Union in Dunduzu (along the M1 road) on the outskirts of the city. However, due to a lot of complaints by community residents and high cases of diseases the site was permanently closed and it took months to address the problems. Now a new dumping site had been opened in Lusangazi area which is also in the outskirts of the city. Although this is the case there is more delay in removing and transporting the waste disposals to the dumping site.

Public hygiene is another major concern and it has also been a topic of discussion amongst the residents of the city. Despite the Mzuzu city council constructing public paying toilets which are cheap and affordable, some citizens continue to flout the law, abandon the toilets and opt to continue urinating in prohibited public places.

One of the public places where people urinate in the city

The habit has resulted in yielding a lot of bad smells in the areas where this practice is being conducted more especially during the rainy season.


A TEENAGED GIRL MAKING A LIVING THROUGH SELLING TOMATOES AMID THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC

By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka

21 Feb 2021

According to the United Nations Children Education Fund (UNICEF) Covid-19 report of August 2020, a rapid assessment in Malawi had shown that there were over 13,000 cases of Child marriages and 40,000 cases of teenager pregnancies had been registered since the onset of Covid-19.

The report further indicates that, adolescent girls who became pregnant and the child brides are trapped in intergenerational poverty, gender based violence, lack of access to education and employment opportunities. This has resulted in a devastating impacts on an individual more especially the girl child.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic affecting the economy across the world, day to day life has become totally unbearable more especially for the girl child. The girl child has ended up being the victims in parts of Malawi and they have been exposed to various acts of behaviour as a result of the temporary closure of schools.

Tirious Msuku advises that girls need to be focused and strong

In Mzuzu, the Northern City of Malawi, and Mchengautuba location in particular, some girls have adapted and learnt to survive in this challenging time. One such case is that of Tirious Msuku, a young girl aged 19, and a former student of Katoto Secondary School.

She shares a different story that many girls are encouraged emulate. She is trying harder to make a living by earning money through a small scale business of selling tomatoes and charcoal along the Chithira Road in her neighbourhood. This has helped her to meet most of her daily basic needs from the proceeds of her small business.

Tirious is able to support herself with the little money she earns and she is able to buy food and clothes for herself and has also managed to use part of her earnings to apply for a place at a local college where she intends to study Community Development.

Sharing on how she is managing while other girls struggle, Tirious advises that girls need to be focused and strong. She adds that the future has a lot more better things than what the world is offering today. She therefore encourages girls to follow her example and abstain from risky behaviours and find something that will help them support themselves like what she is doing.


DRUG AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE BY YOUTH IN MCHENGAUTUBA COMMUNITY

By Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka

21 Feb 2021

In Mchengautuba there is a place called Chithira where mostly young people do associate not to share or exchange ideas but to smoke Indian hemp also known as marijuana or cannabis and drink beer. Youth aged between 16-25 years do meet and mostly are involved in the use of drug and substance abuse.

In Malawi, beer is either brewed locally (in rural communities using traditional distillation methods) or manufactured (bottled spirits) in factories but with high alcohol percentages ranging from 43% – 70%.

200 mls bottles of premier spirit with 43% of alcohol content

The most common beer amongst the youth is Premier Spirits called Shooter or Ice London or Midoli. This bottled beer which is almost 200 mls has an alcohol content of 43-45% and it is very cheap (less than USD 1 which is equivalent to MK500 local currency).

In addition to that, the youth also drink locally distilled ethanol popularly known as “Wankhuni or Kachasu” which is mostly made from maize bran and this type of beer has very high alcohol percentage which exceeds over 60% and it is distilled and processed using local methods. It kills young people often.

In Mchengautuba, the youth smoke cannabis openly and it has become a day to day habit. The excessive use of drugs, alcohol and substances has brought a lot of negative impacts on the youth at large. A lot of young people have dropped out of school while many are involved in various acts of crimes and violence. It has further contributed to an increase in mental health cases amongst the youth.

This problem can be attributed to a number of factors which include, lack of parental care and guidance, wrong role models and lack of access to proper and correct information on the dangers of drug and substance abuse. The media, social media included seems not to contain adequate information on the same.

The inability of government through its regulatory bodies as well as law enforcing agencies to enforce regulations relating to age limits on beer consumption has partly contributed to the problem. For instance beer is being sold to young people against the recommended age limit of 18, whereas nothing seems to be done in stopping the open trading and consumption of drugs like cannabis.


HOW POLITICAL PARTIES USED THE YOUTH DURING PREVIOUS CAMPAIGN PERIOD AND WHEN THE PARTY IS RUNNING THE GOVERNMENT

Journalist: Aubrey Alphonse Ligomeka-Mzuzu, Malawi.

21 Feb 2021

Malawi has a large population of young people with a total percentage of over 60 and out of that percentage, only a few are employed. Politicians have taken advantages of these youth and use them for their own political advantage.

During the past six (6) years, the youth have been used in various forms by the politicians and more especially the ruling party as a weapon of violence in order to deal and silence government critics. A recent example in Malawi is that of then governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). The party had a youth wing called “Cadets” and these cadets were above the law. They were given the mandate to harass and intimidate anyone who was against the leadership style of the government.

When citizens planned to demonstrate, the cadets travelled around the streets in party branded vehicles carrying panga knives or machetes just to tell and show that they would deal with anyone who will attempt to join in the demonstrations on the planned dates. These cadets also played the role of close protection officers or bodyguards to low ranking party officials.

During the campaign period or a mere political rally for the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), or either welcoming a senior party official or cabinet minister, the youth painted themselves in party colours and danced for the leaders and at the function, they were paid an allowance of less than USD3 (which is equivalent to K2,000.00)

A Cadet painted in party colours dancing at a party function

In some cases, the youth were given beer to drink and then cause violence or even stone the Vice-President’s motorcade. Women were stripped naked for wearing opposition party clothes by these cadets.

Does the change of government bring the much expected bright future to the youth of Malawi?


https://www.aljazeera.com/live

Malawi – East Africa