In 2016, you have heard it all: rampant corruption; attacks on people with albinism; indifferent public protectors; worsening hunger facing nearly 6.8 million Malawians; and numerous girls marrying too young.
Remember all those unsettling headlines?
You would be convinced Malawi is a failed State and forgiven for thinking her people are probably the worst on earth.
But the depressing news eclipse enviable works of many Malawians who do not hastate to offer a hand when it matters most.
The country may be struggling economically, but it is admirably among 10 kindest nations on earth.
The country ranks sixth in the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) World Giving Index which tracks country’s willingness to help.
The annual rankings offer a break from news that forces you to question your faith in humanity.
They also confirm why the country markets itself as the Warm Heart of Africa.
Minister of Information and Communications Technologies Nicholas Dausi finds it pleasing that the world seems to be aware of the beautiful side of Malawians which often goes unacknowledged in the media.
The government spokesperson says: “Malawians have long been known as humane people-always willing to assist with a smile. Despite our challenges as a country, we have a heart to help and show why we are called the Warm Heart of Africa.”
He urges Malawians to be equally kind to nature and tourist attractions
“If we are kind to people and nature, we will attract more people to come and experience the beauty of our county. No one will be willing to visit the stunning national parks or Lake Malawi if we are unkind to nature,” Dausi warns.
And he has a word for the country’s media and ambassadors: talk more and more about “everything that we are doing right” lest they become forgotten histories.
He explains: “It is sad when we go abroad and people ask: ‘where is Malawi?”
“When I went to the US recently, some intellectuals in Chicago told me: ‘Your country is beautiful and the people are very friendly, but you do not market your country.’ We need to proactively, and positively advertise our country. Let us be aggressive in making our case for Mother Malawi.”
Lately, the country has hogged global notoriety following horrible attacks on people with albinism and the mysterious killing of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) official Issa Njaunju which Dausi termed “so alien that those alarmed were actually saying this cruelty is not part of our culture.”
The Warm Heart of Africa is not Africa’s coolest destination yet.
CAF ranks the country the third kindest in Africa behind the world second, Libya, and fifth-placed Somalia.
Just the mention of Libya and Somalia in one sentence will likely make ardent followers of international news think that the index is somewhat a league of failed states.
But the pleasant surprise is that the report shows the kindest people on earth are actually found in the troubled spots, with the war-torn Iraq topping the list.
“An even more interesting picture emerges when the results are broken down by country: those people living in some of the most dangerous, unstable places in the world are also the most likely to offer help to a stranger,” the World Economic Forum reports.
But maybe the good news is that more people than ever before are carrying out random acts of kindness towards strangers, CAF reports.
Introducing the uplifting annual report that tracks levels of generosity globally, CAF chief executive officer Dr John Low writes: “For the first time, more than half of those surveyed say they helped a stranger—a testament to the innate human desire to help others whenever they are in need.”
It appears that increasingly fragile civil societies and greater need among the population, encourages more people to be responsive out of sheer necessity, the report notes.
Malawi entered the Top 10 for the first time last year in eighth place and its ‘helping a stranger score is 74 percent-up by 20 percentage points from 2011. n